UFC on ABC 3 Fight Breakdown: Brian Ortega vs. Yair Rodriguez


MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of UFC on ABC 3, a five-round featherweight bout between Brian Ortega and Yair Rodriguez. The event takes place on Saturday, July 16 at UBS Arena in Elmont, New York.

Brian Ortega (-165)

Ortega (15-2, 1 NC) is the No. 2 ranked featherweight in the UFC. The 31-year-old American joined the UFC in 2014 and he has gone 7-2, 1 NC so far inside the Octagon with notable wins over The Korean Zombie, Frankie Edgar, and Renato Moicano. Ortega has proven he is one of the top submission threats in the division with three wins by tapout, plus he also has three knockout wins, showing he is a well-rounded and dangerous fighter. In Ortega’s last fight he went five rounds with the champion Alexander Volkanovski and lost a decision. While he nearly submitted the champ, otherwise he was outpointed over the course of five rounds. He is a great fighter, but he tends to take a lot of damage in his fights, and that could ultimately prove to be a problem against Rodriguez.

Yair Rodriguez (+140)

Rodriguez (14-3, 1 NC) is the No. 3 ranked featherweight in the UFC. The 29-year-old Mexican joined the UFC in 2014 and is 8-2, 1 NC since then with notable wins over Jeremy Stephens, BJ Penn, and The Korean Zombie. Rodriguez is one of the top strikers in the featherweight division. He is able to keep the majority of his fights standing and on the feet, he has some of the best kicks in the business. He is coming off of a loss to Max Holloway, but he fought much better than the betting odds indicated, and it showed that he still has something left in the tank after having a long layoff. He is a great striker, and if he can keep any fight standing, then he will always have a chance to win.

Fight Breakdown: This should be an awesome featherweight fight between two of the top-five fighters in the division. Ortega is one of the top submission grapplers in the weight class and he also has improved striking, while Rodriguez has some of the best striking skills in the division. I view this as a very competitive bout between two elite featherweights looking to get back into the title conversation. If I knew Ortega would shoot for takedowns and impose a wrestling-heavy gameplan, then I would pick him to win this fight as I know Rodriguez doesn’t have the best takedown defense. However, Ortega doesn’t really shoot for takedowns and instead looks for opportunities to get submissions in transition.

Of course, it’s possible Ortega could take Rodriguez’s neck at some point, but if he can’t get him to the floor, this could be a tough fight for Ortega. Both guys are solid strikers but I think Rodriguez is a little sharper on the feet and has the more varied striking. Rodriguez has never been subbed before, and while Ortega might be the guy who submits him, I don’t think that is a given by any means. I’m going with the upset here and taking Rodriguez to get his hand raised. I believe he’s the cleaner striker on the feet and if he keeps this fight standing, I see him doing more damage to Ortega and getting his hand raised by decision at the end of five hard-fought rounds.

Prediction: Yair Rodriguez

Written by Adam Martin.


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