In the main event of UFC Vegas 42, we saw a showdown between two of the best featherweights in the world. Former featherweight champion Max Holloway (22-6) was making his second appearance of the year when he took on Yair Rodriguez (13-2, 1 NC).
Rodriguez was making the walk for the first time in over two years. Despite the lengthy layoff, Rodriguez still entered UFC Vegas 42 as the third ranked featherweight in the division. His last fight was a victory of Jeremy Stephens back in October of 2019.
During this stretch Rodriguez has dealt with injuries as well as a suspension. He was hoping to pull off a huge victory today which would put him right in line to challenge Alexander Volkanovski for the UFC featherweight title.
However, that was going to be a very tall order considering his opponent. Max Holloway was a massive betting favorite entering today’s contest. He put on one of the greatest performances in UFC history in his last fight against Calvin Kattar.
The only man to have bested Holloway at featherweight over the last few years is Alexander Volkanovski. Outside of the champion, Holloway has looked unstoppable and he was looking to make another statement at UFC Vegas 42.
UFC Vegas 42 Recap
The UFC Vegas 42 featherweight contest kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Holloway takes the center and started with the pressure. Rodriguez lands the first strike with an inside leg kick. Holloway lands a nice right hand to start his striking.
Check left hook lands for Rodriguez. Step in right hand lands for Holloway. Inside leg kick for Rodriguez. Holloway steps in and gets caught with a combination from Rodriguez. Holloway lands a nice right hand that snaps the head back of Rodriguez.
Body shot for Holloway and he follows with a nice jab. These two are just trading in the pocket right now. Big combination lands for Rodriguez who is showing no fear. Right hook from Holloway but he gets his head snapped back from Rodriguez.
Both men exchange big body kicks. Calf kick from Rodriguez. Holloway’s front leg is getting eaten up by calf kicks from Rodriguez. Another one slams home. Then a sharp 1-2 from Rodriguez rocks Holloway. However, Holloway rocks Rodriguez with a 1-2 of his own.
Right hook from Rodriguez and Holloway counters with a sharp shot of his own. Holloway looks to spin but Rodriguez grabs a body lock. This is where the round ends and a very good one for Rodriguez who takes the first at UFC Vegas 42.
These two couldn’t wait to get the second started at UFC Vegas 42. They touch gloves and they’re back at it. Another big calf kick lands for Rodriguez and he doubles it up. Pressure here from Yair Rodriguez. Another good kick from Rodriguez.
Straight left hand lands for Rodriguez. Holloway steps in but he’s eating shots from Rodriguez. Check right hook lands on the chin from Rodriguez. 1-2 lands for the former champion. Lead left hook lands for Rodriguez. Body shot from Holloway but Rodriguez lands a big body kick counter.
Big straight right hand lands for Max Holloway. However, he eats three straight calf kicks from Rodriguez. Holloway stepping up the pressure here. Combinations from Holloway who appears to be pressing on the gas. Rodriguez lands a 1-2 to get some space.
Another calf kick from Rodriguez. Holloway presses Rodriguez against the fence but it’s Rodriguez who is landing the better shots along the fence. Jab to the body from Holloway. Another calf kick from Rodriguez.
Nice combination lands from Holloway. Holloway lands a big flying knee to the body and that might’ve hurt Rodriguez. Holloway trying to pour it on in the final seconds here. The second comes to a close and I still think it goes to Yair Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 42.
Entering the third at UFC Vegas 42 and the momentum might be shifting here. Holloway goes right back on the pressure to start the third round. Both men trade jabs to start the striking. Holloway pushes Rodriguez against the fence and lands another flying knee.
Another knee to the body from Rodriguez. Calf kick lands from Rodriguez on the break. Holloway lands a straight shot but eats a combination from Rodriguez. Double jab from Holloway. Rodriguez goes for a kick but eats a shot that takes him off his feet.
Holloway jumps right on him and ends up in the mount. Rodriguez bucks but gives Holloway his back. Holloway staying patient in this dominant position. Big shots land from Holloway. Holloway is picking his shots here trying to maintain the position.
More big shots from Holloway but Rodriguez slips out. Back to their feet and immediately Rodriguez starts landing bombs on Holloway. Rodriguez lands a takedown but Holloway pops right back up. Huge 1-2 lands for Max Holloway.
Body kick from Holloway. More pressure from Holloway. The two trade jabs and Holloway shoots for another takedown and gets it. The round ends with Holloway on top and the former champion takes his first round at UFC Vegas 42.
Entering the main event rounds at UFC Vegas 42 and while Holloway won the last round, Rodriguez still looks game. They touch gloves and here we go in the fourth. Holloway goes right back on the pressure and lands a lead left.
Right hand from Rodriguez. They both step forward and trade massive shots in the pocket. Another big exchange by both men and they end up in a clinch. Rodriguez pushes Holloway off but Holloway goes right back on the pressure.
Holloway gets Rodriguez against the fence and he lands some good shots. Standing guillotine attempt from Holloway and it’s deep. Rodriguez goes to his back to defend but now Holloway is on top. Rodriguez slips out of the choke.
Huge elbow lands for Holloway. A little separation and Rodriguez tries to attack a leg lock. However, Holloway slips right out and goes right back into the top position. Holloway slips right into the mount and he starts going to work.
However, Rodriguez gives up his back but is able to scramble to get back up. Knee to the body from Holloway and they’re back to striking. Holloway goes for a flying knee but it misses and he eats a counter. 1-2 from Holloway and then Rodriguez throws a flying knee.
Head kick from Rodriguez who is throwing heat in the final minute of the round. Good combination from Rodriguez. Spinning back kick from Holloway. More big shots from Rodriguez to end the round. I have this one 2-2 entering the final round at UFC Vegas 42.
Entering the final round at UFC Vegas 42 and I think it’s anyone’s fight. They hug before the final round and here we go. Nice 1-2 from Rodriguez who knows he has to go in the final round. Body kick from Rodriguez.
Another good body kick from Rodriguez who is throwing major heat here in the final round. Pressure from Holloway now as he lands a 1-2. Nice knee from Holloway and he lands a nice shot. Lead elbow from Rodriguez and he follows it with a spinning back fist.
Holloway pushes Rodriguez against the fence and starts going to work. Rodriguez looks weathered but he circles along the outside to get things at range. Nice 1-2 lands for Holloway. Rodriguez is looking tired and tries to land a wild kick.
He landed a nice shot but ended up on the ground with Holloway on top. Worst case scenario for Yair Rodriguez. However, Rodriguez reverses and he ends up on top. Holloway tries for an armbar to scramble and it works as Holloway gets to his feet.
Spinning elbow from Rodriguez but flush knee counter from Holloway lands. Body kick from Rodriguez. Another good combination from Rodriguez. Rodriguez pushing forward in the final minute but eats a good shot.
Calf kick from Rodriguez and then he follows with a head kick. Holloway gets a body lock but Rodriguez uses an elbow to separate. More good shots from Rodriguez. Spinning back to the body lands for Rodriguez.
Final ten seconds at UFC Vegas 42 and they end in a clinch. Incredible fight. I would give the final round to Rodriguez and give the fight to him, however, I was really torn on that second round. Could’ve easily gone to Holloway and I think that’s how the judges would vote.
Max Holloway def. Yair Rodriguez by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47)