UFC: Ortega and Rodríguez fight for a chance to take the belt to Mexico | combat

The UFC returns to Long Island, one of New York’s big five neighborhoods, this Saturday after five years apart. This time, the main event pits two fighters who proudly fly the Mexican flag in a showdown that could define the next number one contender at featherweight. Born in Mexico and “bred” from Parral, Chihuahua, Yair Rodríguez faces Brian Ortega, born in the US but the son of Mexican immigrants.

And it’s earlier: the live and exclusive broadcast of Combat starts at 11:45 am (Brasilia time). O combat.com transmits the “Combat Warming” and the first two fights from 12 pm, as well as the SportTV 3 it’s the Combat YouTube. The website follows the event in real time.

Brian Ortega (left) faces off against Yair Rodríguez (right) at the event’s ceremonial weigh-in on Friday — Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Ortega is second in the featherweight rankings and Rodríguez is third. However, believe me, it is the Mexican roots who are closest to fighting for the belt with a victory. This is because the American of Mexican descent faced the current champion, Alexander Volkanovski, not long ago, in September 2021. It was a fight dominated by the Australian, who already has four belt defenses and is already talking about moving up in category. However, Ortega had a moment when he was very close to stealing the title – closer than any other challenger to Volkanovski, by the way: a guillotine in the third round which the champion narrowly escaped.

– I’ve seen the video a thousand times. I think, “How the hell did this guy get out of this chokehold??” I was over celebrating. Honestly, when I lassoed the guillotine, I thought, “I’m going to be world champion!” I was just waiting for the pats, but they never came. He escaped and I thought, “F*** this motherfucker is tough!” – admitted Ortega during the week.

Alexander Volkanovski (bottom) fights his way out of Brian Ortega’s guillotine (top) at UFC 266 — Photo: Getty Images

It was “T-City”‘s second title fight in the UFC; the first was against the previous champion, Max Holloway, which he lost via TKO in 2018. In the next fight, Ortega appeared rejuvenated and dominated Chan Sung Jung to earn his second chance. He believes he can do it again with a win over Rodríguez and explains why.

– We’ve already seen Holloway against Volkanovski three times. So let’s see if we can see Brian and Volkanovski now. And if I have a dominant win and end up with Yair, chances are I’m right. No one put Volkanovski in more danger than I did. I’ve been there with the guy now and I know how he hits and how he moves. I had other tricks up my sleeve that I couldn’t use – said the ranking runner-up to Combat.

Yair Rodriguez displays the Mexican flag in his corner before his last fight, against Max Holloway — Photo: Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Yair Rodríguez is also coming off a spectacular loss against Max Holloway in November last year. Despite this, he has gone toe-to-toe with the former champion and has come off spectacular wins over Jeremy Stephens and Chan Sung Jung before that. He told the “MMA Hour” podcast that he was told that a triumph this Saturday would place him as the number 1 challenger – a statement, however, from which he backed down in an interview with Combat.

Anyway, the Mexican prefers not to think about it. He knows that before thinking about Volkanovski, he needs to get past Ortega, a task that only champions have been able to accomplish.

– I’ll take care of it when I have to. I’m focused on Brian Ortega. I think Brian is very good on the ground, but I don’t think he’s going to try to take me down so early in the fight, he’s going to wait for the right moment. He is very good at getting submissions on his feet, with flying triangles, flying armbars, etc. I have to be very careful with this, keep it simple. Don’t make mistakes like slipping or getting into too many emboli with him. I have to keep my distance – he analyzed.

Brazilians in search of recovery

This Saturday’s card also highlights two Brazilians who are trying to come back after defeats. One of them is Amanda Lemos. The Paraense, 11th in the strawweight ranking, faces American Michelle Waterson-Gomez, 10th, in the co-main event of the event. The former Jungle Fight champion was on a devastating streak, with five straight wins, before being submitted by Jessica Bate-Estaca in April. His opponent is famous and ex-champion of Invicta FC, but is going through a bad phase, with three defeats in the last four fights.

Herbert Burns poses at the UFC weigh-ins on Friday: back after knee surgery – Photo: Getty Images

On the preliminary card, Herbert Burns returns after two years out and faces Bill Algeo, who accepted the fight about a week in advance after Khusein Askhabov pulled out at the last minute. Like Lemos, the featherweight from Niteroi was coming off five straight wins, two of them in the UFC, before suffering a TKO against Daniel Pineda in 2020. After dealing with serious knee injuries and undergoing surgery, Gilbert Durinho’s younger brother he is finally back in the octagon, ready to resume his climb.

Among the many highlights of the main card, which will be broadcast on open TV in the US (hence the earlier time), is the opening match: former bantamweight champion (61.2kg) Miesha Tate makes her debut at fly (56.7kg) and faces Lauren Murphy, former number 1 challenger in the division. The result could define the future of the champion of the category, Valentina Shevchenko, in a scenario similar to that of the men’s featherweight: Tate’s victory should catapult her straight into the title fight; Murphy’s triumph could prompt Valentina to consider moving up to bantamweight for a superfight against current champion Julianna Peña or former rival Amanda Nunes.

UFC Ortega vs Rodriguez
July 16, 2022 in Long Island (USA)
MAIN CARD (3 pm, Brasília time):
Featherweight: Brian Ortega vs Yair Rodriguez
Strawweight: Michelle Waterson-Gomez vs Amanda Lemos
Welterweight: Li Jingliang vs Muslim Salikhov
Flyweight: Matt Schnell vs Su Mudaerji
Featherweight: Shane Burgos vs Charles Jourdain
Flyweight: Lauren Murphy vs Miesha Tate
PRELIMINARY CARD (12:00, Brasília time):
Middleweight: Puna Soriano vs Dalcha Lungiambula
Bantamweight: Ricky Simon vs Jack Shore
Featherweight: Herbert Burns v Bill Algeo
Light Heavyweight: Dustin Jacoby vs Da Un Jung
Middleweight: Dwight Grant v Dustin Stoltzfus
Strawweight: Jessica Penne vs Emily Ducote

UFC Ortega vs. Rodriguez: Explosive Featherweight Duel You Can Only Watch Live in Combat!

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