A big-time UFC featherweight contest that was originally scheduled two years ago, looks like it’s finally going to come together on the UFC‘s planned August 29th card. The contest would pair two top five featherweights against each other in Zabit Magomedsharipov (18-1) and Yair Rodriguez (13-2-1).
Zabit’s UFC Dominance
Since joining the UFC back in 2017, Magomedsharipov has been nothing short of dominant. The lengthy 6’1 featherweight holds a UFC record of 6-0. These days, the world of Russian MMA is on fire. You have the most dominant champion in the sport in Khabib Nurmagomedov, then you have Petr Yan who is getting ready to challenge for the bantamweight title, then there’s Zabit. Zabit is such a unique talent with a unique skillset especially for the 145 pound division. His last two fights were big step-ups in competition, and he passed those with flying colors. In his last fight, he defeated Calvin Kattar (21-4) back at UFC Fight Night 163. Kattar gave Zabit his toughest test yet, but the Russian was able to pull of the unanimous decision victory. This fight with Rodriguez was supposed to happen two years ago before an injury pulled Yair out of the fight. It will be very hard to deny Zabit of a title shot if he wins in August. We might have three Russian UFC champions by the end of this calendar year.
Rodriguez living up to his potential
Back in 2017, there might not have been a more exciting prospect in the UFC than Yair Rodriguez. “El Pantera” had highlight reel finishes over Andre Fili and UFC Hall of Famer, BJ Penn. He got his first real test against former lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar. Rodriguez showed that he wasn’t quite ready for that step-up as Edgar completely dismantled Rodriguez. Doctors had to stop the fight after the second round. Injuries kept Rodriguez out of the UFC for over a year after that fight. Upon his return, he had an incredible come from behind knockout victory over Chan Sung Jung. Following that fight, he had a pair of fights with Jeremy Stephens. The first fight ended in fifteen seconds after Stephens was accidentally poked in the eye and couldn’t continue. In the second fight, Rodriguez showed just how dynamic he could be, beating Stephens by unanimous decision. For Rodriguez, this fight is his chance to really prove he’s finally arrived at the top of the sport. It would be hard to deny Rodriguez the title shot if he’s able to defeat Magomedsharipov. Jung is the other likely contender for a title shot if he’s able to defeat Brian Ortega, but with Rodriguez holding a knockout win over Jung, Rodriguez might be next in line.
UFC’s Featherweight Division
The UFC‘s featherweight division is heating up much like the bantamweight division. The UFC‘s lower weight classes (excluding flyweight) are so deep it’s crazy. Back at UFC 250, the bantamweights put on a show. We all know how insane the UFC’s lightweight division is, and now the featherweights are showing their strength. Next month on Fight Island, you have the title fight and rematch between Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway. Later this year we should see the “Korean Zombie” and Brian Ortega fight, and now it looks like were getting the Magomedsharipov-Rodriguez fight in August. It’s going to be an insane rest of the year for the UFC’s featherweight division.