On the main card of UFC 279, we saw a banger in the welterweight division. Top contenders battled it out as Li Jingliang (19-7) took on Daniel Rodriguez (16-2). For Rodriguez, this was his first fight in over a year.
Now, originally, both of these two men had different opponents when the day started yesterday. Rodriguez was set to take on Kevin Holland while Li was set to take on Tony Ferguson in the co-main event of the evening.
However, with Khamzat Chimaev’s massive weight miss, the entire card shifted around. Li weighed in at 170.5 pounds but still agreed to fight Rodriguez who was scheduled to face Kevin Holland at a catchweight of 180 pounds. Both of these men deserved a ton of credit for taking this fight at UFC 279.
UFC 279 Recap
The UFC 279 catchweight bout kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Rodriguez holds the center as we get underway. Big jab from Rodriguez starts the striking. Low kick from Li and Rodriguez comes back with a combination. Nice left hand lands for Rodriguez and Li counters with a body kick.
Body kick from Rodriguez and Li lands one of his own. Nice long jab from Rodriguez finds the mark. Li just misses with a big right hand. Low kick from Li and a jab from D-Rod. Another really solid body kick lands for Li and he follows it with a low kick.
Li catches a kick and lands one that takes Rodriguez off his feet. Lots of pressure here from Li who lands a nice combination. Rodriguez throws back with a combination of his own. The round comes to a close and it was a very competitive first round at UFC 279.
Entering the second at UFC 279 and the first could have gone either way. The fighters touch gloves and here we go. Low kick from Rodriguez lands to start the striking. Li drops his hands and taunts a little as he throws his own combination. Nice jab from Rodriguez.
Body kick from “The Leech” finds the mark. Stiff jab from Rodriguez lands and then he throws a low kick. Another stiff jab from Rodriguez. Right hand from Li lands. Another big right hand from Li who starts pressuring forward.
Right to the body for Li and a couple of jabs from Rodriguez. Body kick from Li lands. Inside leg kick and a jab lands for Rodriguez. Li counters with a left hand. Both men exchange jabs in the center. Rodriguez upping his attack of leg kicks here.
Left hand for Li lands and Rodriguez lands a crisp jab. Both men step forward and throw but nothing big lands. Rodriguez lands a body kick and Li counters with a big leg kick. Nice jab and a left hand lands for Rodriguez. Li lands a big right hand that might’ve hurt Rodriguez.
Li really upping the pressure here. Now Rodriguez is coming forward regaining the center. Big jab from Rodriguez snaps Li’s head back. Round comes to a close and Li had big moments, but Rodriguez was more consistent throughout. Could be tied at UFC 279.
Entering the final round at UFC 279 and whoever wins this round might win the fight. Rodriguez opens the final round with forward pressure working behind his jab. Low kick from Li and Rodriguez throws a combination back. Another nice low kick lands for Li.
Jab from Rodriguez and Li pushes forward with a combination. Li really upping the pressure here trying to up the pace. Rodriguez lands a body kick and Li lands a low kick. Rodriguez pushes forward but eats a left hand counter from Li.
Both men exchange in the center. Big jab from Rodriguez snaps the head back of Li. Another beautiful jab from Rodriguez. Rodriguez is doing an excellent job of working his jab in the final round. Right hand from Li backs up Rodriguez.
Li now showing some really good head movement and he lands a low kick. Low kick now from Rodriguez lands. Jab to the body for Rodriguez and Li throws a right hand back. Li charges but eats a couple of counters from Rodriguez.
Rodriguez landing the jab at will here. Lots of pressure from Rodriguez with little activity from Li here in the final minute. Another jab from Rodriguez lands and the fight comes to a close. Should be a really close decision at UFC 279.
Daniel Rodriguez def. Li Jingliang by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)