Yair Rodriguez

El Pantera


Sights set on Brian Ortega
February 16, 2022
Rodriguez is being targeted for a featherweight matchup with Brian Ortega "in the future" according to MMA reporter Ariel Helwani.
No official date is set just yet, but this is one of the few possible matchups of top contenders in the featherweight division. Both fighters have fallen to Max Holloway (and eaten 230 or more significant strikes in the process), but Rodriguez has yet to take his shot at champion Alexander Volkanovski, and a convincing effort here would surely help his case. First, he'll have to get through Ortega, against whom he owns height and reach advantages, in addition to superior offensive and defensive striking marks. One would think Ortega might try to get this fight to the ground to counter that, as Rodriguez sports a slightly-vulnerable 60 percent takedown defense. Still, it's worth noting Rodriguez has never been submitted in his MMA career.
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Shows well in war with Max Holloway
November 13, 2021
Rodriguez lost to Max Holloway via unanimous decision (46-49, 47-48, 47-48) at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Las Vegas.
Rodriguez was more than game and put forth an effort that would have defeated virtually all the featherweight's on the UFC roster today, but he was going up against an all-time legend still firmly in his prime, and it takes a monumental effort to defeat Holloway these days. Yair started well, as he made a concerted effort to damage Holloway with leg kicks, something Max has had an issue with in the past. The strategy worked, but Holloway is simply a freak of nature and continues to fight and push the pace despite whatever damage he absorbs. Rodriguez had some rough moments in the middle frames, particularly Round 3, but somehow dug deep to pick up some steam late. His fifth round was excellent despite the fact Max managed to match him blow-for-blow. This was the rare instance in which a fighter saw his stock skyrocket despite a defeat. Holloway and current UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski are clearly the two best featherweights in the world today, but Yair showed on Saturday that he can hang at that level. Rodriguez turned just 29 years of age last month, so he isn't going anywhere. It's little consolation, but he'll also take home a $50,000 bonus after this bout was rightfully awarded Fight of the Night honors.
Holloway fight rebooked
August 3, 2021
The UFC is looking to rebook Rodriguez vs Max Holloway as the main event for the UFC event Nov. 13, Aaron Bronsteter of TSN.ca reports.
Rodriguez was supposed to fight Holloway back on July 17, but the later had to withdraw due to an undisclosed injury. The new rebooked date in November will mean it will have been over two years since Rodriguez has been in the Octagon when he defeated Jeremy Stephens by unanimous decision in October of 2019.
Return pushed back
June 17, 2021
Rodriguez will no longer be taking on Max Holloway on July 17 after Holloway was forced to pull out with an undisclosed injury, CC Legaspi of ESPN reports.
Rodriguez hasn't stepped foot in the Octagon since taking a unanimous decision from Jeremy Stephens all the way back in October of 2019, but this was his chance to get right back in the featherweight title picture. With the division's champion and top contender currently wrapped up in the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter, it appears Rodriguez will simply have to wait for the UFC to schedule this fight at a later date when Holloway is healthy.
Finds new opponent
May 26, 2021
Rodriguez will fight Max Holloway as the main event of UFC Fight Night 191 on July 17, Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com reports.
July 17's fight will mark the first time Rodriguez will step back into the Octagon after completing a six-month suspension handed down by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Rodriguez last fought in 2019, where he defeated Jeremy Stephens via unanimous decision. The 29-year-old has compiled a 13-2-0 professional record, and has averaged 4.33 significant strikes per minute in his career. Holloway is coming off a win over Calvin Kattar in January, so it should be an intriguing main event in July.
Ready to return to Octagon
April 28, 2021
Rodriguez said Tuesday in an interview with Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com that he's ready to compete after completing the six-month suspension he received from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in December due to a whereabouts violation.
Though Rodriguez was handed the suspension Dec. 3 after he was cited for three "whereabouts failures" in a 12-month period, the ban was retroactive to Sept. 8, according to Farah Hannoun of USA Today reports. While he served the suspension, Rodriguez was also able to complete his recovery from an ankle injury that previously forced him to withdraw from a matchup with Zabit Magomedsharipov at UFC Fight Night 175 last August. Rodriguez, who said that he's currently training in Mexico with Donald Cerrone, is looking to schedule a fight with Magomedsharipov or another highly-ranked opponent at some point this summer.