UFC 290 Recap: Alexander Volkanovski dominates and stops Yair Rodriguez

Jul 2, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Alexander Volkanovski (red gloves) reacts before a bout against Max Holloway (not pictured) during UFC 276 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

In the main event of UFC 290, we saw a unification bout for the featherweight championship. The champion Alexander Volkanovski (25-2) is back at 145 as he took on the interim champion Yair Rodriguez (15-3).

The champion returns to his weight class where he is a perfect 12-0 inside the octagon. His last performance at 145 was an all timer against former champion Max Holloway. Volkanovski brutalized Holloway over the course of five rounds to move to 3-0 against the former champion.

Back in February, Yair Rodriguez finished Josh Emmett to become the interim featherweight champion. Rodriguez has won two in a row, granted, one was an injury TKO against Brian Ortega. Counting that, he’s 3-1 in his last four with the lone loss coming against Max Holloway. He was looking to pull off the big upset at UFC 290.

UFC 290 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 290 main event kicks off with a touch of the gloves. Volkanovski immediately starts moving forward looking to close the distance. Lots of feints from both men in the first 30 seconds. Front kick to the leg from Rodriguez starts his striking for the night.

Low kick response from Volkanovski. Head kick just misses from Rodriguez. Low kick from Volkanovski and he’s really trying to pressure here. Body kick now from Rodriguez. Another kick gets caught by Volkanovski and he gets a big takedown. Volkanovski works Rodriguez over the fence and he’s starting the ground and pound.

Nice shots from the champion here. Big shots to the body from Volkanovski. Rodriguez tries to get his feet on Volkanovski’s hips but the champion lands a couple of really nice shots. Volkanovski slips and Rodriguez explodes to get back to his feet. Volkanovski drags him right back down and lands a big right.

Rodriguez tries to scramble but Volkanovski is on top and lands a few huge right hands. One minute left in the round and it’s all Volkanovski in the opening round. Volkanovski was deep on an arm triangle but couldn’t get his leg through so he let it go. The first ends and it’s a clear round for the UFC champ.

Round 2

Entering the second round at UFC 290 and Rodriguez has to keep this fight standing. The round starts and Rodriguez opens with three kicks. Jump kick attempt from Rodriguez just misses. Volkanovski avoiding all the big shots from the interim champ thus far. Two more big kick attempts from Rodriguez that are blocked.

Leg kick lands flush for Rodriguez and Volkanovski is upping the pressure. Big shots land for the champion as he closes the distance. Huge shot from Rodriguez as Volkanovski enters but Volkanovski gets him down. Rodriguez gets back to his feet but a beautiful trip from Volkanovski.

Big elbows from Volkanovski and now Rodriguez is busted open. Rodriguez gets back to his feet but once again Volkanovski drags him back down. Full mount now from Volkanovski and he’s beating Rodriguez up right now. Big elbows from the champion.

Rodriguez is able to get things back to half guard, but he cannot get the champion off him. Two nice right hands land for Volkanovski. Huge ground and pound for Volkanovski is just busting Rodriguez open even more. Yair Rodriguez is getting beaten up here in the second. The round comes to a close and it’s another dominant round for the champ at UFC 290.

Round 3

Entering the third at UFC 290 and if Rodriguez can’t keep this standing, the fight is going to end. The third begins and Rodriguez opens with two big kicks. Both men trade low kicks in the center. Running combination for Rodriguez but nothing big lands. Nice right hand from the champ lands.

Front kick to the thigh for Rodriguez lands. Rodriguez whiffs on a right hand and Volkanovski lands a jab. Front kick from Rodriguez and he lands a head kick. 1-2 from Rodriguez and now the interim champ is landing here. Two more big low kicks from Rodriguez.

Volkanovski is trying to cut off the cage but he eats another long combination from Rodriguez. Two more leg kicks from Rodriguez and a front kick up the middle. Right hook now from Volkanovski lands. Jab and a left hand from Volkanovski. An accidental clash of heads and the action pauses for a minute.

90 seconds left in the round and Rodriguez is definitely winning this round. Jump kick attempt from Rodriguez and then he lands a long combination. Another combination from Rodriguez and Volkanovski might be hurt. Out of no where Volkanovski lands a huge counter right hand and Rodriguez is hurt badly.

Volkanovski is all over him here. Huge combination against the fence and Volkanovski dumps him with a double leg takedown. Rodriguez has nothing and Volkanovski is raining down bombs. This one is done and Alexander Volkanovski is still the UFC featherweight champion.

Alexander Volkanovski def. Yair Rodriguez by TKO – Round 3

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