This past Saturday night in the co-main event of UFC 284, the interim featherweight title was on the line. Josh Emmett (18-3) was looking to pick up his sixth straight win along with interim gold as he took on Yair Rodriguez (15-3).
With Yair Rodriguez, there’s never been a question about his talent. It was just about whether or not he could put everything together in order to win UFC gold. He finally got his chance this past Saturday but he had one of the biggest power punches in the division standing across the cage from him.
In the first round, Rodriguez was doing an excellent job of controlling distance and hurting Emmett with kicks. However, Emmett blasted him with a counter late in the round that hurt him and Emmett ended the round on top.
The second round was completely one-sided with Rodriguez dominating from range. He threw a flying knee that caught Emmett flush. Emmett landed in top position but was ultimately submitted via triangle choke awarding the UFC title to Yair Rodriguez.
UFC Interim Champ
Now, Rodriguez has his first taste of gold. Whether it’s interim or not, he has that distinction. Now, he will take on arguably the best P4P fighter in the world in Alexander Volkanovski. Volkanovski fought Islam Makhachev in the main event and nearly became a two-division champion.
The question becomes, can Yair Rodriguez defeat Alexander Volkanovski? I’ll say this, with his distance control, creative kicks, and submissions, it’s possible. However, he’s going to be a massive betting underdog when these two do fight.
Josh Emmett could’ve really taken advantage of some weak spots in Rodriguez’s defense on Saturday. However, Emmett was a little wild with his shots. The champion won’t be. If Yair Rodriguez wants to become undisputed champion, he’s going to need to be better than he was at UFC 284.