Today the UFC announced that they are heading to Long Island in July and they are bringing a banger of a main event from the featherweight division. Former two-time title challenger Brian “T-City” Ortega (15-2, 1 NC) will be taking on top contender Yair Rodriguez (13-3, 1 NC).
The fight will headline the UFC’s July 16th card. For Rodriguez, this will give him a chance to get right back in there with one of the very best guys in the featherweight division.
Back in 2019, Rodriguez defeated Jeremy Stephens by decision. This win came on the heels of a knockout win over Chan Sung Jung. It looked like Rodriguez was right in the title picture. However, injuries and outside issues kept him out of the UFC for over two years.
He returned back in November when he took on former UFC champion Max Holloway. I was expecting Holloway to runaway with the fight. However, Rodriguez put on one of the best performances of his career.
Yes, Rodriguez ultimately came up short, but he came up short against one of the best of all time. Getting him right back in there against Ortega will keep him active amongst the best at 145.
UFC bounce back opportunity
This potential matchup isn’t just a bounce back opportunity for Rodriguez, but it’s also one for T-City. The last time we saw Ortega was back at UFC 266 in September when he took on Alexander Volkanovski for the featherweight title.
It was Ortega’s second crack at the featherweight strap. Ortega had his moments including almost locking up Volkanovski in two fight ending submissions in the third round. However, Volkanovski powered through and walked to a lopsided decision victory.
Ortega has had two title fights against the two best featherweights in the UFC. Both times, he’s been on the losing side of a lopsided fight. He’s proven how good he is, but he’s struggled against the very best.
This fight against Rodriguez will once again give Ortega the opportunity to prove he’s third in the world. If he can win, he’s perhaps only one more win away from his third crack at the featherweight championship.