UFC Fight Night Preview: Holloway vs. Rodriguez

Holloway vs Rodriguez

On Saturday, November 13th, the UFC returns with another edition of Fight Night from the Apex Center in Las Vegas. The Main Event of the evening features a featherweight showdown between Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez. Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Holloway vs. Rodriguez

Max Holloway is most famous for attempting to simultaneously hold two titles in two different weight classes. However, when he faced Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight championship in April of 2019, he suffered a loss by unanimous decision. Already the reigning featherweight champion, a victory would’ve put him in rarified air, previously only occupied by Conor McGregor. However, Poirier’s victory meant that the distinction of holding two belts at the same time would have to remain with “The Notorious One.” Holloway is no longer the featherweight champion and his lone appearance in the octagon this year was in January. An eleven-month layoff might be problematic for most fighters but a gladiator with Holloway’s resume should be just fine.

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Yair Rodriguez is less than a year younger than Max Holloway but doesn’t have nearly the same level of accomplishment in the sport. However, he is a Black belt in Taekwondo and must not be taken lightly. An ankle injury, and a suspension by the drug commissioner for failing to make himself available for testing, has cost Rodriguez the ability to compete in the last two years. It’s hard to imagine a fighter taking two whole calendars off and then returning to beat a fighter like Max Holloway but that’s what Rodriguez will attempt to do on Saturday. It doesn’t seem very likely, but stranger things have happened…

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Rothwell vs. Rogério de Lima

Ben Rothwell competed in his first professional fight more than twenty years ago, in January of 2001. Other than Tom Brady, there aren’t very many people who can say they were a professional athlete twenty years ago, and they still are today. The fact that Rothwell is still competing at a high level at the age of 40 is remarkable and a testament to his longevity and resilience. He turned in an impressive performance in May of this year, winning by a chokehold submission in the second round. If he’s able to get a win on Saturday it will cap off a nice year inside the octagon for him.

Marcos Rogério de Lima was a legend in Brazil before being invited to compete on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil in 2014. After fighting through the thick competition, he was able to earn a contract with the UFC later that year. He initially fluctuated between heavyweight and light heavyweight before deciding to stay in the heavyweight division on a permanent basis. Initially considered one of the top prospects in the division, he’s been somewhat mediocre during his UFC tenure. A win against a respected veteran like Ben Rothwell could restore the organization’s confidence in Rogério de Lima for the future.

Spencer vs. Letson

Felicia Spencer is widely recognized as one of the best featherweight fighters in all of Mixed Martial Arts. Prior to joining the UFC, she’d already experienced the thrill of being crowned a champion. However, her shot at the UFC belt in June of last year against Amanda Nunes did not go as planned; Spencer lost via a unanimous decision. In May of this year, she lost a split decision against another one of the top performers in the organization, Norma Dumont. She’s fought admirably against the top talent in the division; on Saturday she’s looking to change the outcome and get back to her winning ways.

Leah Letson hasn’t had a professional fight since November of 2018. Coincidentally, that fight was her UFC debut. After an incredibly long layoff, Letson will make her return to the octagon against one of the best pound-for-pound performers in all of MMA. This should be interesting…

Baeza vs. Williams

Miguel Baeza suffered the first loss of his career when he lost a unanimous decision to Santiago Ponzinibbio in June of this year. At just 29 years old, he is widely considered one of the best prospects in the welterweight division. A win on Saturday would put him back in the right direction towards his goal of securing a title shot. Kalinn Williams, on the other hand, has had a not-so-glamorous road to the UFC. He graduated high school while incarcerated; he’d been convicted of selling cocaine but participated in an internet course designed to help felons complete a diploma. After dominating regional circuits in the mid-western United States, he was finally noticed by the UFC. Like Baeza, he is still young, only 27 years old. It will be interesting to see which of these two prime athletes comes out on top during Saturday’s bout.

Yadong vs. Arce

Song Yadong was sent to Martial Arts school in China at the age of nine. He had his first professional mixed martial arts fight before he turned 16 years old. To say he’s been a lifelong fighter would be an understatement. Julio Arce won the United States Golden Gloves boxing Gold medal as an amateur in 2011. In 2012, he made the curious decision to go into mixed martial arts instead of the sweet science. Although unexpected, it has proven not to be a bad decision; he has amassed a 17-4 record in mixed martial arts since turning pro. It will be interesting to see which of these men who dedicated their lives to combat sports will triumph on November 13th.

How to watch

UFC Fight Night can be viewed in the United Kingdom on BT Sport and in the United States on ESPN Plus. As always, we’ll have all the latest updates about the outcomes as well as in-depth analysis available right here at World In Sport!

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