The UFC have announced that Max Holloway will return to action in the octagon against Yair Rodriguez in the main event of the July 17th Fight Night card.
It will be the first time Holloway has fought since his stunning performance in January where he beat Calvin Kattar in a five-round clinic at UFC Fight Island 7, with many thinking that would be enough to get him back in the title picture.
Rodriguez hasn’t fought since October 2019 when he beat Jeremy Stephens via unanimous decision, missing out the entirety of 2020 after withdrawing from an August bout against Zabit Magomedsharipov due to injury.
The fight will see the number one ranked 145lbs fighter in the world take on the number three ranked, with the winner likely to get the next title shot.
Holloway has already claimed his right to the shot, after losing back-to-back decisions to the champion Alexander Volkanovski before bouncing back with one of the best performances in UFC history.
With Volkanovski scheduled to take on Brian Ortega back in March, a title fight seemed inevitable for ‘Blessed’ but when the fight was cancelled as the champion tested positive for COVID-19 the division got held up.
The UFC then paired Volkanovski and Ortega together as coaches for the newest series of The Ultimate Fighter, meaning they won’t fight now until later in the summer. That meant that Holloway would have had to wait until the end of the year for another fight, which is clearly something he isn’t keen on.
Holloway has always claimed to be willing to fight anyone and everyone, so taking an extra fight and putting his number one ranking on the line isn’t something that would have fazed him in the slightest.
For ‘Pantera’, it’s a chance to finally earn himself a UFC title shot too. Since joining the UFC in 2014 Rodriguez has gone 8-1 (1 NC) beating the likes of Charles Rosa, Dan Hooker, Andre Fili, Alex Caceres, BJ Penn and the Korean Zombie. His only defeat came to former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. He got a win over Jeremy Stephens following a no contest the first time around after an accidental eye poke just 15 seconds in.
It should be a fantastic striking battle and will headline an excellent card, which is also scheduled to have Islam Makhachev take on Thiago Moises in the co-main event.