Kicking off the main card tomorrow night at UFC 287 is going to be a battle of young prospects. The youngest fighter to ever compete inside the octagon Raul Rosas Jr (7-0) will be making his second appearance with the promotion as he takes on Christian Rodriguez (8-1).
This is a really solid step up in competition for Rosas Jr. Last September, Rosas Jr appeared on Dana White’s Contender Series. At the time, he was just 17-years-old and needed his parents to sign a waver in order for him to compete. He quickly showed that his skills were of someone much more advanced in age.
After a dominant decision win, the UFC gave him a contract. In his first fight, he submitted Jay Perrin back in December in the first round. A statement win and now the promotion will give him a step up against another highly touted prospect.
Christian Rodriguez appeared on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2021 and picked up a win. However, he missed weight and wasn’t given a contract. After getting a regional win, he was asked to step in on short notice for his UFC debut up a weight class. He took the fight and lost, but the promotion kept him around.
He bounced back strongly with a submission win over Joshua Weems back in October. He’ll look to derail the Rosas Jr hype train tomorrow night.
UFC 287 Prediction
Because of the hype, Rosas Jr is the betting favorite tomorrow night. However, I think a lot of people are sleeping on the skills of Rodriguez. Rodriguez has very good Jiu Jitsu and he’s more polished on the feet than Rosas Jr which could cause the 18-year-old some problems.
The skills are there for Rodriguez to pull the upset. However, I think he’s going to be at a size and strength disadvantage tomorrow night. Rosas Jr is likely going to be a fighter who will have to move up as his body continues to mature. His frame and natural size are already big for the weight class.
Once he fills out, he’ll have to move up. For now, he’s a very big bantamweight who is sensational at using his size for leverage. Ultimately, I think he gets the fight to the ground almost whenever he wants to tomorrow night at UFC 287.
Rodriguez will force some scrambles with his own grappling skills, but the power on the mat will be too much. I’m feeling a second round rear naked choke for Raul Rosas Jr.
Prediction: Raul Rosas Jr by Submission – Round 2