Tomorrow night in the co-main event of UFC 284, the interim featherweight title is on the line. Top contenders Yair Rodriguez (14-3) and Josh Emmett (18-2) will battle it out for interim gold and the opportunity to face off against the featherweight champion.
The reason for the interim title fight is obvious. Both Emmett and Rodriguez had an argument for a title shot and Alexander Volkanovski moved up to lightweight for tomorrow night’s main event to try and achieve champ-champ status.
Thus, an interim title fight between these two. For Josh Emmett, he’s riding a five-fight winning streak heading into UFC 284. In his last fight, he had to dig down deep and won a very close split decision over Calvin Kattar.
Yair Rodriguez has only fought twice since 2019. After an extended layoff due to injuries and a number of other things, Rodriguez returned in 2021 and had a very competitive fight with Max Holloway. He lost that fight but looked sensational.
He then picked up a win over Brian Ortega. Now, the fight with Ortega ended after Ortega hurt his shoulder, but it’s worth noting that Rodriguez’s striking and speed was really giving Ortega trouble.
UFC 284 Prediction
Josh Emmett is compact and has ungodly power. If he finds the chin of just about anyone, he’s likely going to put them to sleep. He’s incredibly explosive and he’s going to look to time Rodriguez and catch him with a clean power shot that would put him away.
Yair Rodriguez is the much longer fighter. He’s probably got the pure speed advantage as well and he’s much better with his kicks. His boxing looked much improved over his last two UFC appearances, but he shines when he’s kicking.
When it comes to this fight, I think Yair Rodriguez is going to give Josh Emmett fits. I think Emmett will struggle to close the distance on Rodriguez and I just see him getting picked apart from the outside. Eventually, Rodriguez puts the finishing touches on this one in the third round and becomes interim UFC champion.
Prediction: Yair Rodriguez by TKO – Round 3