Yair Rodriguez
El Pantera


Injury Ankle
Est. Return 9/1/2020
No longer facing Zabit
August 4, 2020
Rodriguez will no longer be taking on Zabit Magomedsharipov on August 29, Mike Heck of MMAFighting.com reports.
This unfortunate news was rumored earlier in the day and officially confirmed by UFC President Dana White in an interview following Tuesday's Contender Series event. What was set to be an excellent matchup and major test for Rodriguez will end up lasting less than a week, and it appears a high-ankle sprain and a fracture is to blame (per Nolan King of MMAJunkie.com). It's also unknown if the UFC will move forward with a new opponent for Magomedsharipov, or simply attempt to schedule this matchup for a later date. Zabit would have represented possibly the most difficult challenge of the young career of Rodriguez, so it makes sense for the 27-year-old to stay sidelined until he's 100 percent.
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Draws Zabit in late-August
July 31, 2020
Rodriguez will take on Zabit Magomedsharipov in a featherweight matchup set for August 29 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Marcel Dorff of MMADNA reports.
Rodriguez sports a 8-1-0 (1 NC) record under the UFC banner and will now get a shot at the undefeated Magomedsharipov in a fight with major title implications. It will be an uphill battle for Rodriguez, however, as nearly every striking and grappling stat lies in the favor of Magomedsharipov. Of particular concern is the fact that Rodriguez sports just a 63 percent takedown defense, while wrestling is the foundation of Magomedsharipov's game, as he averages 5.22 takedowns per 15 mintues of fight time. Zabit, a generally large featherweight, will also hold two-inch height and reach advantages. All this will presumably lead to Rodriguez entering as a sizable betting underdog, and he'll need to keep this one on the feet to give himself a chance to land that one big shot. Should he come through, Rodriguez would immediately be in the title conversation among the likes of Brian Ortega and Chan Sung Jung, with all fighters looking for a shot at champion Alexander Volkanovski's belt.
Digs deep to defeat Jeremy Stephens
October 18, 2019
Rodriguez defeated Jeremy Stephens via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Boston.
Rodriguez got the victory he was seeking in the rematch between the two enemies, but it didn't come easy. Yair got off to a quick start. He picked up the pace in the early going knowing this was a three-round fight. His punches looked crisp and he peppered Stephens to both the body, head, and legs. The biggest strike of the fight was a Round 2 body kick from Rodriguez which crumbled his opponent. Yair jumped on Stephens and aggressively sought the finish for quite a while before Jeremy was finally able to recover. Rodriguez looked tired and was far less effective in Round 3, but he had already done enough to secure the victory. On top of the win, he'll take home a $50,000 bonus after this bout was awarded Fight of the Night honors. Rodriguez is now 8-1 (1NC) in his first 10 UFC bouts and has victories on his resume over Stephens, Dan Hooker and The Korean Zombie. His only loss came against Frankie Edgar. Rodriguez turn just 27 years of age earlier this month. The future is bright.
Machup with Stephens rebooked
September 25, 2019
Rodriguez will re-face Jeremy Stephens at UFC Fight Night in Boston on Oct. 18, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
It's fantastic news considering last Saturday's fight was ruled a no contest due to an accidental eye poke by Rodriguez. The intriguing rematch is slated to be the main event at UFC Fight Night in Boston. Since the last matchup was in Mexico City, Rodriguez was the slight betting favorite. With the fight now moved back to the U.S., it will now likely be closer to a pick'em. Prior to last Saturday's contest, Rodriguez most recently defeated Chan Sung Jung via KO (punches) at UFC Fight Night in November 2018.
Main event ruled no contest
September 21, 2019
Rodriguez and Jeremy Stephens fought to a no contest (accidental eye poke) at 0:15 of Round 1 at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Mexico City.
The result is disappointing, but these things happen in this sport. It was clearly an accidental poke by Rodriguez and it was also quite clear that Stephens wouldn't be able to recover. Rodriguez was fighting in his native Mexico for the first time since UFC 180 way back on November 15, 2014.
Booked for Mexico City
July 26, 2019
Rodriguez will square off against Jeremy Stephens as UFC Mexico City, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
Rodriguez got back on track at UFC Denver last November after taking his first UFC loss at the hands of Frankie Edgar in the previous bout and he'll aim to carry that momentum into a fight on his home turf in Mexico City. He owns a three-inch height advantage over Stephens, but the two possess an equal reach length. Rodriguez lands just under a full significant strike more per minute than Stephens, but he also absorbs a few more over the course of a bout.