MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the co-main event of UFC 284, a five-round interim UFC featherweight title bout between Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett. The event takes place on Saturday, February 11 at RAC Arena in Perth, Australia.
Yair Rodriguez (-155)
Rodriguez (15-3, 1 NC) is the No. 2 ranked featherweight in the UFC. The 30-year-old Mexican has been in the UFC since 2014 and he has achieved a 9-2, 1 NC record in the Octagon during that time with notable wins over Brian Ortega, BJ Penn, and Chan Sung Jung. He won The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America and he has parlayed it into a great career in the UFC. He is one of the best strikers in the featherweight division and he has also shown improved grappling skills. He has all of the tools to become a world champion in the UFC and we will soon find out if he can achieve that lofty goal.
Josh Emmett (+135)
Emmett (18-2) is the No. 5 ranked featherweight in the UFC. The 37-year-old American joined the UFC in 2016 and he has a 9-2 record in the Octagon so far with notable wins over Calvin Kattar, Dan Ige, and Shane Burgos. Emmett has one of the most powerful right hands in his division and he has one of the highest knockdown rates because of it. Anytime he stands and trades, he has the chance to finish his opponent. However, he is quite hittable and it could come back to cost him.
Fight Breakdown: This should be an awesome fight between two fantastic featherweight fighters for the interim 145lbs belt. Both Rodriguez and Emmett are great strikers and this should be a very exciting fight to watch play out, especially if it takes place on the feet. Rodriguez is one of the most creative strikers in the weight class while Emmett is one of the hardest hitters. Therefore, this fight may very well come down to volume vs. power. While Emmett has the capability of knocking out anyone in the division, Rodriguez has never shown any issues with his durability. Emmett is also significantly older and he could finally show his age in this fight. While I wouldn’t completely count out Emmett from winning, I’m leaning toward Rodriguez. I believe he will be the more varied striker in this contest and mix in kicks and punches as he lands more volume and takes the decision.
Prediction: Yair Rodriguez wins via decision