Yair Rodriguez

El Pantera

Mexico

Fades following fast start
FeatherweightUFC
February 24, 2024
Rodriguez lost to Brian Ortega via submission (arm-triangle choke) at 0:58 of Round 3 at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Mexico City.
ANALYSIS
What a disaster. Entering as a -150 favorite, Rodriguez started out on fire. For about four minutes. He battered Ortega in the early going and nearly earned the stoppage before everything fell apart. Yair closed Round 1 with Ortega on top of him and spent most of Round 2 in the same position. Rodriguez gave up a hysterically easy takedown in the early seconds of Round 3 and was tapping out moments later. To say this was a concerning performance would be a massive understatement. You could see the tide turning, and not only did Yair have no answers, but he played right into the strengths of his opponent -- an opponent, by the way, who hadn't fought since the first time the two met in July 2022. Rodriguez's chances of impacting the title picture at 145 pounds moving forward are on life support.
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Gets bout with Ortega
FeatherweightUFC
December 22, 2023
Rodriguez is scheduled to face Brian Ortega in a featherweight co-main event fight at the UFC's Feb. 24 event in Mexico City, Aaron Bronsteter of TSN.ca reports.
ANALYSIS
Rodriguez will get a long-awaited rematch against Ortega after he defeated the latter via TKO (injury) back in July 2022. Ortega suffered a shoulder injury during a grappling exchange when the two first met and eventually underwent surgery to repair the issue and has not fought since. Meanwhile, Rodriguez will compete for the first time since suffering a title loss at the hands of Alexander Volkanovski via TKO (punches) at UFC 290 in Las Vegas back in July. The two will be involved in a five-round co-main event, as Rodriguez could be in line for another title shot with a win over Ortega in a few months' time.
Comes up short in quest for title
FeatherweightUFC
July 8, 2023
Rodriguez came up short in his quest for the UFC Featherweight Championship on Saturday, falling to Alexander Volkanovski via TKO (punches) at 4:19 of Round 3 at UFC 290 in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
Plenty of things need to go right in order to upset an all-world fighter like Volkanovski. If even one thing goes wrong -- like how poorly Rodriguez's takedown defense was here -- it's all over. Yair gave up a whopping seven takedowns on a dozen tries. That turned into 7:13 worth of control time for the champ, essentially ended his shot at pulling the upset. Yair's last four wins have come against The Korean Zombie, Jeremy Stephens, Brian Ortega and Josh Emmett. All four are excellent opponents, but none are on the same level of Volkanovski and Max Holloway, Yair's two most recent defeats. In short, Rodriguez needs to figure out a way to defeat the very best the division has to offer if he truly hopes to impact the title picture moving forward.
Looking to erase interim tag
FeatherweightUFC
April 26, 2023
Rodriguez has verbally agreed to face Alexander Volkanovski in a unification bout for the UFC Featherweight Championship at UFC 290 on July 8 in Las Vegas, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Rodriguez has been cruising of late, going 4-1 in his last five fights with the company. Opportunity knocked for the Mexico native back in February, as then-featherweight champion Volkanovski moved up to lightweight in attempt to become a two-division champion. Volkanovski fell short in a valiant effort against top pound-for-pound fighter Islam Makhachev, but his time away opened the door for Rodriguez to claim the 145-pound belt in an interim capacity with a submission victory over Josh Emmett. Now, once the papers are officially signed, the belt will become unified, and Rodriguez projects as a significant betting underdog once this proposed main-event matchup takes place. Rodriguez also technically needs a physician's clearance to fight after being handed a 180-day medical suspension from the February fight with Emmett. Should everything line up as planned, both men profile as high-volume strikers, but Volkanovski's wrestling game could set him apart here and allow him to negate Rodriguez's five-inch height advantage. Staying on the feet will be key for Yair, who sports just a 63 percent takedown defense in the UFC.
Given 180-day medical suspension
FeatherweightUFC
February 20, 2023
Rodriguez has been given a 180-day medical suspension, MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Rodriguez became the new Interim UFC Featherweight Champion on Feb. 11 when he submitted Josh Emmett. Rodriguez will need to gain medical clearance if he hopes to fight again before mid-August.
New Interim UFC Featherweight Champ
FeatherweightUFC
February 11, 2023
Rodriguez became the new Interim UFC Featherweight Champion on Saturday, defeating Josh Emmett via submission (triangle choke) at 4:19 of Round 2 at UFC 284 in Perth, Australia.
ANALYSIS
There's a real argument to be made this was Rodriguez's best performance to date, and it came in by far the biggest fight of his career. On point from the moment the opening bell rang, Yair varied his attacks, as usual, to keep Emmett off-balance. Simply put, Rodriguez is impossible to train for, because there's no other guy that can mimic his style in camp. Yair ate a couple of shots from the powerful Emmett and spent some time on the mat, but was effective off of his back offensively when he found himself there. The finish came when Emmett ate a flying knee from Yair in order to get him to the ground. Rodriguez, known for his striking, showed off some excellent mat awareness in clamping on the triangle choke which ended the fight. The victory means Yair will face Alexander Volkanovski in a 145-pound championship unification bout at some point in the not-too-distant future. Rodriguez is going to be an underdog in that fight, but he will have a massive size edge over Volk and certainly has the talent to make it a competitive bout. In the meantime, he'll take home a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus for the quality effort here.