Tag Archives: Yair Rodriguez

UFC Long Island: Ortega vs Rodriguez – Main card predictions

The UFC heads to Long Island for a fight night event with a live crowd, as two featherweight contenders go head-to-head in the main event when Brian Ortega takes on Yair Rodriguez.

A very solid card will see plenty of excellent fights, with the 145-pound eliminator bout right at the top of the card. We’ll also see the likes of Li Jingliang, Michelle Waterson, Jack Shore, Shane Burgos and Miesha Tate.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 58 we went 7/11 with two perfect picks, moving us to 656/1020 (64.31%) with 281 perfect picks (42.84%). You can check out our full picks history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims and then picking the rest of the prelims here, we move on to the main card now.


Lauren Murphy (15-5) vs Miesha Tate (19-8) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

An interesting flyweight bout that was rescheduled after a late cancellation off UFC 276. Murphy saw a five-fight win streak snapped when she challenged Valentina Shevchenko for the title in her last bout, getting dominated at UFC 266 for a KO defeat. Tate won on her UFC return against Marion Reneau, but was beaten last time out by Ketlen Vieira via decision.

Murphy is a great striker, no two ways about it. She’s a rangy fighter who looks to use her size to kick and hit strikes from distance, claiming eight wins via knockout in her career. She has just one KO win since 2016 though. Tate on the other hand is a bit of an all-rounder, but it’s her wrestling that separates her from other fighters and got her a world championship once upon a time. If she’s going to win this bout, then she’s got to work that wrestling to the best of her ability.

Tate is a dog, in the sense that she never gives in and is always persevering. Murphy is undoubtedly going to look to box and use her jab, but Tate will walk forwards until she gets her hands on her and as the naturally bigger fighter she shouldn’t struggle to get the fight down. Once it’s there, she’s in her own world and she should be able to dominate the fight. I don’t think she’ll be able to get the finish, but that advantage should be able to claim her the victory at the very least.
PICK – Miesha Tate via Decision

Shane Burgos (14-3) vs Charles Jourdain (13-4-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

An absolutely insane fight at featherweight between two of the division’s most exciting athletes. Burgos snapped a two-fight losing streak when he earned a decision over Billy Quarantillo at UFC 268, while Jourdain is on a two-fight win streak with a decision against Andre Ewell before submitting Lando Vannata last time out.

Burgos is a terrific boxer with superb hand speed and power as well as counter striking. He does however also get hit an awful lot and relies heavily upon his durability to get into all-out wars with his opponents. Jourdain is also someone who looks to get into wars to try and catch his opponents with his speed and power. This is going to be a war, no doubt about it.

Stylistically they’re very similar, but I do feel that Burgos is the more powerful and more technical striker. Jourdain has never been KO’d before in his career, but Burgos is the best fighter he’s ever come up against. With a big reach advantage to work with, I expect Burgos will use his jab effectively and be able to land first in the wild exchanges to be able to claim a FOTN bonus and a win on the judge’s scorecards.
PICK – Shane Burgos via Decision

Matt Schnell (15-6) vs Sudumaerji (16-4) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A fun flyweight scrap between two top guys in the division up next. Schnell has picked up just one win in his last four, suffering a submission defeat to Brandon Royval in the first round back at UFC 274. Sudumaerji on the other hand has won three in a row, with a decision win over Zarrukh Adashev in his most recent bout back at UFC Fight Island 8 in January 2020.

Schnell is an excellent submission artist, with eight victories by way of tap out in his career. He’s a very good wrestler and has got solid striking too, but he struggles to mix things together which often leaves him in limbo. Sudumaerji on the other hand is a powerful striker with great footwork, but he struggles against takedowns and his grappling isn’t the best. These two are essentially polar opposites when it comes to fight styles.

I expect Sudumaerji will stay on the outside and use his striking skills while trying to maintain distance, while Schnell will look to close him down against the cage to get the fight into his submission world. The fact it’s orthodox vs southpaw means Sudumaerji’s striking will be even more at an advantage because his power strikes will have more space to land. With that, I think he should be able to push on past Schnell and higher up the rankings to claim an impressive win.
PICK – Sudumaerji via Knockout, Round 2



Li Jingliang (18-7) vs Muslim Salikhov (18-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A very fun welterweight scrap up next. Li is seen as a top prospect in the weight class despite being 34, but got dominated by Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 267 before being choked out last time out. Salikhov is on a five-fight win streak, with his last three all coming via decisions.

Li is a powerful striker who has got explosive traits and also got solid grappling skills too, as proven in his five submission wins during his career. Salikhov on the other hand is one of the most skilled strikers in MMA history, although his volume and technique outweighs his power these days. This fight depends on which approach Li takes in all honesty, because he’s capable of going both ways.

Salikhov will strike no matter what. Li prefers to strike when he has the opportunity, but he will know that is a dangerous game against someone as skilled as “King of Kung Fu”. That means he could look to mix it up and use his grappling here and he will have a big advantage in that field. If he just chooses to strike he’ll probably lose, but I don’t expect that to be his game plan and he should be able to grapple enough to earn the win.
PICK – Li Jingliang via Decision

Michelle Waterson (18-9) vs Amanda Lemos (11-2-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

Considering the calibre of fight on show on this card, this co-main event is a little underwhelming. Waterson has lost three of her last four fights, with Marina Rodriguez claiming a decision against her last time out. Lemos on the other hand saw a five-fight win streak snapped last time out when she was submitted by Jessica Andrade in the first round.

Waterson’s nickname “The Karate Hottie” explains her style off the bat. She has a stand-up stance that keeps her distance and she likes to use kicks and manage distance well, but she’s also a pretty good grappler with decent wrestling skills in her back pocket. Lemos is a powerhouse striker on the feet, with seven wins in her career via KO who comes forward and knows she can end fights in an instant. This seems like quite a lopsided fight.

Lemos has a huge power advantage and will come forward with pressure plenty. Waterson will use her sidekick to try to maintain distance, but once Lemos gets past that she’s in danger. While I don’t think Waterson will be KO’d as she is pretty durable, Lemos is powerful enough to cause plenty of damage and keep the fight standing for the most part to claim a win.
PICK – Amanda Lemos via Decision

Brian Ortega (15-2) vs Yair Rodriguez (14-3) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Fight of the night and one of the most exciting match ups of the year. Ortega has fought for the title in two of his last three fights and been dominated, with Alexander Volkanovski smashing him at UFC 266 in his last outing. He dominated the Korean Zombie in between those fights though at UFC Fight Island 6. Rodriguez saw a three fight unbeaten run snapped by Max Holloway last time out, in one of the best fights of 2021 at UFC Vegas 42.

Ortega is a lethal jiu-jitsu practitioner with some of the best submissions in the UFC, but his striking has improved massively in recent years and he’s now a confident boxer too. Rodriguez on the other hand is an incredible striker with some of the best kicks in the UFC, with incredible speed and power on the end of them. His grappling defence isn’t the greatest though, as Holloway showed by taking him down and controlling him in the last fight. Stylistically, this is undoubtedly an incredible close fight.

Both guys will be happy to stand and strike, and if that’s the case then Ortega will be in trouble. He has been out-struck a lot in his career but his boxing is decent and any kicks will give him the chance to catch them and take the fight to the ground. If the fight is to end via knockout then it’s more likely to be a Rodriguez win, but with Ortega’s sensational grappling skills he seems to have more paths to victory and that leans me towards him getting the fight down to the mat and finding “El Pantera”‘s neck eventually to claim an impressive win.
PICK – Brian Ortega via Submission, Round 3

Fights to make in 2022 – Brian Ortega vs Yair Rodriguez

After the absolutely incredible fight year that was 2021, 2022 is promising to be bigger, better and badder than ever before in the UFC.

There will be title fights, shocking upsets, incredible wars and new rivalries created throughout the year, but there are some that already spilling over from this year.

With that, we’re going to name you ten fights that the UFC should make in 2022 at some point to give the fans the ultimate fight experience.



The featherweight division is in a weird, yet fun place right now and it’s in part down to these two fighters.

The title picture looks pretty set, with Alexander Volkanovski set to take on Max Holloway in their trilogy bout at some point in 2022 for their next bout.

Beyond those two at the top is Brian Ortega and Yair Rodriguez who, respectfully, are a safe distance clear of the rest of the division at this current moment in time.

So it makes complete sense to pit them against each other at some point in 2022 to make up for the fact their fight in Mexico City back in 2019 fell out.

Ortega is a submission specialist who has shown greatly improved striking in each of his last two fights against The Korean Zombie at UFC Fight Island 6 and then in his title fight defeat to Volkanovski at UFC 266, despite the defeat.

Rodriguez on the other hand is a striking expert, who came incredibly close to defeating Holloway in their fight at UFC Vegas 42 in November that would have seen him claim the next title fight.

It was his wrestling that let him down in that one, but the power in his striking certainly caused ‘Blessed’ problems which means it would almost definitely do the same to Ortega.

With that said, if ‘T-City’ gets the fight to the ground and can implement his jiu-jitsu skills then it could be over quickly for ‘Pantera’.

It’s a fight that pits two different styles together in a finely balanced bout that would potentially produce the next title challenger too.

Fans win, the division continues to move forward and that’s the most important thing. Make it happen Uncle Dana!

Tap Ins & Tap Outs Awards 2021 – Fight of the Year

An amazing year of fights has come to an end and that means it’s time to hand out the annual awards for the fight game.

After 509 fights in 2021 after the global pandemic was worked around, the UFC produced some amazing fights with incredible moments throughout the year. But which were the best? Who was the best?

For our second annual end of year awards, we’ll be handing out the honours for each of the following categories:



FIGHT OF THE YEAR

3. Petr Yan vs Cory Sandhagen (UFC 267, October 2021)

A fight that was thrown together at short notice for the interim bantamweight championship back in October served up a thriller in Abu Dhabi.

Yan and Sandhagen went head-to-head in a bout that saw each man have their moments, but ultimately it was the Russian fighter who saw gold wrapped around his waist at the end of a 25-minute war of pure technical striking ability.

There was a mix of wrestling in there too as both contenders showed every facet of mixed martial arts is important. It was a really excellent fight and while it probably lacked moments where the fight looked like it was going to end, it was a great example of a world class MMA fight.


2. Max Holloway vs Yair Rodriguez (UFC Vegas 42, November 2021)

A main event bout that lived up to it’s billing between two of the very best featherweights in the world today.

Max Holloway took this fight after his title shot got delayed, and Rodriguez was making his first appearance in almost two years but it was one of the most exciting fights of the year.

Both fighters consistently threw fire at each other, with both taking plenty of damage and producing moments that would have ended the fight against a lesser opponent. On this occasion Holloway was forced to use his superior wrestling in the latter rounds to secure a victory, before both men took a trip to the hospital together.

A fight that had you on the edge of your seat for the full 25-minutes, it won’t be forgotten any time soon.


1. Justin Gaethje vs Michael Chandler (UFC 268, November 2021)

A lightweight banger that somehow exceeded expectations of the fans despite many calling it the fight of the year before it even happened.

Both men knew that a win would likely see them granted the next title shot at 155lbs and both men promised fireworks – and boy did they deliver.

It was a fight that saw both guys swinging for the fences from the opening minute and connecting, but their chin and willpower held out for a full 15-minutes for Gaethje to go the distance. It was a fight that you can watch any time for entertainment, even knowing the result.

The fight of the year by quite a distance, but arguably one of the best fights of all-time too.

UFC Vegas 42 Fallout: The best is still ‘Blessed’

A very good card turned in one of the fights of the year in the main event after nine knockouts from the first ten fights at UFC Vegas 42.

The card itself had plenty of decent names to call from, but none bigger than ‘Blessed’ Max Holloway who was squaring off against the world number three Yair Rodriguez in a featherweight banger to headline.

The main event delivered a back and forth battle between two of the very best strikers in the UFC, with the former champion coming out on top after a war.



Rodriguez won the first round on many people’s scorecards, using leg kicks that worked so well for Alexander Volkanovski in his first fight with Holloway and landing some big punch combinations too.

Holloway struggled to get into boxing range to use his jab because of the kicks, so started going to the body and trying to push through with kicks of his own to close distance.

It worked, but worked better for him was when he started using his wrestling skills.

A career-high three successful takedowns in the fight were a big help towards what ended up being a unanimous decision win for Holloway, earning a 49-46 from one judge and 48-47 from the other two judges.

It showed that despite being arguably the best boxer in the UFC, Holloway is still one of the most well-rounded fighters in the organisation and he isn’t afraid to go to the well when he feels that he needs to.

A third fight with the champion Volkanovski now seems inevitable, with ‘Blessed’ becoming the clear number one contender with yet another win over one of the division’s elite fighters.

But what this fight proved to anyone who ever doubted him is that Holloway can whether a storm. He can adapt when he isn’t necessarily getting the better of the striking exchanges and he will still try and out-work anyone in front of him.

Another title fight in 2022 beckons for the people’s champion, and it seems inevitable that the belt will be back around his waist sooner rather than later.

UFC Vegas 42: Holloway vs Rodriguez – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to the APEX centre in Las Vegas this week for a banger of a featherweight main event between Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez.

Holloway is considered the people’s champion of the division and wants to show the world why he is rightfully considered as the number one contender for the title, while Rodriguez is desperate to finally fulfil his potential after being considered a future champion for years.

It’s a very fun card also including the likes of Ben Rothwell, Cynthia Calvillo, Marc Diakiese, Thiago Moises and Khaos Williams.

Last week at UFC 268 we had a brilliant night, securing 13/14 correct picks with three perfect picks to move to 471/730 (64.52%) with 197 perfect picks (41.83%).

We’ll look to improve on that this week and after starting with the early prelims here and finishing off the rest of the prelims here, we’ll finish off the with the main card now.


Song Yadong (17-5-1) vs Julio Arce (17-4) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A banger at bantamweight between two guys on the edge of a ranking. Yadong bounced back from defeat to Kyler Phillips at UFC 259 with a split decision win over Casey Kenney at UFC 265. Arce returned from a near two-year absence with a KO win over Andre Ewell at UFC Vegas 32.

Yadong is a brilliant all-round fighter with great wrestling and even better striking, with tremendous speed and power. Arce is a great boxer in his own right with good power and great volume, but he has proven to be hittable on the inside in the past. That is somewhere that Yadong excels and could be a big problem for him in this fight.

Song is so experienced for a 23-year-old and ultimately I think the fact he is so well-rounded can only help him here. He has the power and speed to catch Arce in a stand-up battle and has the wrestling skills to make him think twice and therefore leaving him open to getting caught and getting beaten.
PICK – Song Yadong via Knockout, Round 2

Felicia Spencer (8-3) vs Leah Letson (5-2) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A women’s featherweight bout in this one, but I’m not sure why it’s on the main card. Spencer has lost her last two, losing a title fight to Amande Nunes at UFC 250 before Norma Dumont earned a split decision win at UFC Vegas 27. Letson is on a five-fight win streak but hasn’t fought since the TUF Finale back in 2018.

Spencer is a natural featherweight with decent boxing skills and a real lack of grappling skills in her weaponry. Letson is making a return after a bunch of health issues kept her out, but she is a good wrestler with decent volume on the feet too. Spencer has fought five times since Letson last did and she’s been in there with some of the best ever.

Ultimately these two have been matched up simply because the featherweight division is empty. Letson will make it competitive for the most part, but Spencer is comfortably better than her and will show it over 15 minutes to earn a victory.
PICK – Felicia Spencer via Decision

Miguel Baeza (10-1) vs Khaos Williams (12-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Absolute BANGER at welterweight in this one and my pick for fight of the night. Baeza was undefeated and brilliant before he stepped into the cage against Santiago Ponzinibbio last time out, while Khaos has won nine of his last ten bouts including a decision over Matthew Semelsberger at UFC Vegas 29 last time out.

Both of these guys are absolute powerhouses when it comes to striking. Baeza is a more technical striker on the feet with great power, while Khaos is one of the hardest hitters in the division with great speed. An issue for Baeza is that he has been hittable in the past and that is a big problem against someone like Williams, who will punish you for it.

Baeza has got brilliant leg kicks which can effect the footwork of Williams and when they get into exchanges, that could be the difference maker. Neither guy has been finished before, but I don’t see this one going the distance and I think Baeza’s greater technique serves to earn him a highlight reel KO.
PICK – Miguel Baeza via Knockout, Round 2



Ben Rothwell (39-13) vs Marcos Rogerio de Lima (18-8-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A big heavyweight bout is the official co-main event for this one. Rothwell has won three of his last four, earning a submission win over Chris Barnett last time out. De Lima on the other hand has alternated wins and losses since 2014, going 6-5 in his last 11 fights with a win over Maurice Greene at UFC Vegas 26.

Rothwell is a powerful striker with great boxing and good submission skills too. De Lima on the other hand is also a super exciting striker with crazy knockout power and good Muay-Thai skills, but the elephant is the room is that he is an out-of-shape light heavyweight. That is a big problem, because he’s big by choice and Rothwell isn’t.

Both of these guys love a first-round knockout, with THIRTY-SIX (36!) between them and the likelihood is we’ll see that again. De Lima is aggressive and has good hand speed, but Rothwell has an iron chin and a granite fist too. Rothwell catches him with a hook in the exchange early and earns a KO win.
PICK – Ben Rothwell via Knockout, Round 1

Max Holloway (22-6) vs Yair Rodriguez (14-2) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A title eliminator in the featherweight division is the main event of the night. Holloway bounced back from consecutive defeats to Alexander Volkanovski with a stunning performance at UFC Fight Island 7 in January over Calvin Kattar. Rodriguez hasn’t fought since a win over Jeremy Stephens back in 2019 but is still ranked at number three in the world.

Holloway is a sensational boxer, arguably the best in the entire UFC, with brilliant power, volume and an incredible gas tank that he uses to just annihilate opponents as the fight enters deep waters. Rodriguez is a very kick-heavy striker with good elbows and spinning attacks too, but generally using his legs to keep range and attack. These are the two best strikers in the division going toe-to-toe and it’s set to be a truly brilliant fight.

But when you look at the style of both of these fighters, it’s Holloway who stands out more. His boxing is so good with his head movement, footwork and jab and there is nobody in the UFC who closes the distance better than him. Rodriguez will have his moments, but overall Holloway is just a level above and I think his body work and boxing ultimately melts Rodriguez for a late finish.
PICK – Max Holloway via Knockout, Round 4

Max Holloway can show the world why he’s still the people’s champion at 145lbs

Once the featherweight title bout at UFC 251 came to it’s conclusion, there weren’t many people around who thought that Max Holloway would be leaving without the belt.

After winning the first three rounds in many people’s eyes, Volkanovski rallied in that bout to take the last two and allowed the judges to have a decision to make. Ultimately, they ruled that the Aussie retained.

Holloway was confused and heartbroken, but he didn’t let it stop him or hold him back.



After a short break away from the cage, ‘Blessed’ returned at Fight Island in the first card of 2021 to take on Calvin Kattar in a bout right at the top of the division.

What ensued was a clear sign that Holloway was at the peak of his powers and one of the very best 145-pound fighters that has ever existed in MMA.

It was a masterful display of striking against someone who many considered to be one of the best strikers in the division. He broke record upon record for total strikes and significant strikes in a bout and showed the world that his claim to being the best boxer in the UFC wasn’t just words.

He was set to be the next challenger for the title once again, only for the Volkanovsi vs Brian Ortega fight to get postponed due to Covid-19. Instead of waiting around and staying inactive, Holloway opted to take a fight against the ever-dangerous Yair Rodriguez instead.

Max Holloway punches Calvin Kattar in a featherweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island on January 17, 2021...

Holloway unfortunately got an injury and was forced to withdraw from the original date in July which has put his year out of funk, but he once again agreed to the bout for UFC Vegas 42 despite the title fight now having taken place.

The 29-year-old has maintained the attitude of ‘anyone, any time, any place’ even since losing the title. A ranking is irrelevant to the Hawaiian, because if he is truly the best in the world as he believes he is then he should win anyway.

A truly inspirational mindset and one that has kept him at the forefront of everyone’s mind when discussing the title picture.

Kattar believed a win over Holloway set him up for a title shot immediately because of the weight his name carries. Ortega revealed that if he had beaten Volkanovski then he wanted his first defence to be against Holloway not only for revenge, but because he’s still seen as the best in the world.

Max Holloway celebrates after defeating Frankie Edgar in their UFC featherweight championship bout during the UFC 240 event at Rogers Place on July...

Holloway knows that a victory confirms his place as the number one contender, but he knows a loss could potentially set him back in his quest to earn back the title he still calls his.

But that’s Holloway and that’s why he is so popular. He expects to win every fight he is in and fans love him. Now this weekend he will look to show once again why he is the people’s champion, knowing a win gets him back in the hunt to be the UFC champion.

Yair Rodriguez can finally reach his potential at UFC Vegas 42

The UFC will return to the Apex this weekend in Las Vegas after two weeks away with four world title fights headlining those cards.

But this weekend will see a world title calibre fight headlining UFC Vegas 42 as former world champion Max Holloway takes on the man many have earmarked as a future champion, Yair Rodriguez.

It will be the first time in over two years that Rodriguez has stepped into an octagon, yet he’ll main event the card against arguably the best in the world.



It tells you all you need to know about just how much Rodriguez is rated by the UFC, his peers and the fans around the world.

His career started way back in 2014 with a win in Mexico City at UFC 180. He followed that up with wins over Charles Rosa, Dan Hooker, Andre Fili, Alex Caceres and the legendary BJ Penn to put himself into contention for a title shot.

He came up against Frankie Edgar though and was beaten to a pulp, with the doctor calling an end to the fight at the end of the second round with his eye swollen shut.

There was a period of readjustment for his expectations by some after that bout, but Rodriguez returned over a year later and earned a hail Mary win against the Korean Zombie with a stunning reverse elbow in the final second of the fifth round.

He’s since beaten Jeremy Stephens in a fight of the night performance too, cementing his place among the top of the division.

His lack of fights recently hasn’t been for a want of trying either. He had an issue with UFC management, and has seen a fight with Zabit Magomedsharipov cancelled three different times.

But now against Max Holloway, he has the chance to show what all the fuss is about.

This isn’t a washed up version of ‘Blessed’ either. Yes he lost the world title and the subsequent rematch (however controversially), but he has bounced back with one of the best performances of the year when he smashed Calvin Kattar at UFC Fight Island 7 in January.

Rodriguez will be coming up against one of the best pure strikers in the UFC today, and yet nobody is being bold enough to completely rule him out of winning the fight and there’s a reason for that. He’s incredibly talented and has the heart of a lion.

He is a brilliant striker in his own right, with a kicking-based style but he’s also got great power in his hands and good submission skills if he needs them.

Yair Rodriguez celebrates his victory over BJ Penn during the UFC Fight Night event at the at Talking Stick Resort Arena on January 15, 2017 in...

A win for Rodriguez this weekend would not only elevate him to immediately become the next challenger for Alex Volkanovski, but it would justify years of hype around his name.

He has a chance to fulfil that destiny and become the man that everybody believed he was when he flattened BJ Penn. He won’t get a bigger opportunity to become a household name than this.

It won’t be easy and even defeat isn’t the end of the world, but it’s the manner of the defeat. If he gets dismantled in a striking battle like he did against Edgar when he was outwrestled, then the hype is likely to die out.

But if he can keep the fight interesting throughout, have some moments and just misses out then much like Michael Chandler at UFC 268 his stock will only rise even in spite of the result.

He’s either among the elites or he isn’t and this is his chance to prove where he stands.

Max Holloway to fight Yair Rodriguez in July main event

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.

Yair Rodriguez Out Of Zabit Magomedsharipov Fight; Calvin Kattar Offers To Step In

UFC’s card on August 29th 2020 has lost its main event, after Yair Rodriguez pulled out injured.

The Mexican featherweight was scheduled to take on Zabit Magomedsharipov in a fight that was expected to determine the next challenger for Alexander Volkanovski’s title. However talking to the media after his Contender Series relaunched, Dana White confirmed that Yair was injured and would be unable to compete.

White said that ‘Pantera’ had suffered a “high sprain and fracture of his ankle,” which would now signal the third time the UFC has tried to put this fight together only for it to fall through. The press were quick to ask whether that meant the card would be restructured or whether they would be looking for a replacement, to which White confirmed a replacement was the preferred option.

This led to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani tweeting out that Calvin Kattar’s management had offered to step in on short notice. Kattar is fresh off a five round war with Dan Ige on Fight Island, where he won a unanimous decision after largely out-boxing his opponent. Following the fight Kattar said he was looking towards the Top 5 and this fight presents him with that perfect opportunity.

The UFC is yet to decide on whether or not they’ll take Kattar up on his offer to step in at short-notice.

If the match-up was to be made, it would be a rematch of their fight from November last year where they main evented a Fight Night card on short notice in a three round fight. Zabit was criticised for refusing to go up to five rounds on short notice and Kattar came on strong later in the fight, potentially showing that if the fight had gone into a fourth or fifth round then he could have caused Zabit a lot of problems.

As the featherweight division heats up, it’s once again Yair Rodriguez to miss out through injury and Calvin Kattar stepping in to try and make a name for himself at the top of the rankings at 145lbs.