LAS VEGAS -- Yair Rodriguez has long looked like a solid prospect, a youngster with the potential to break through the clutter in the crowded featherweight division.
Saturday, the pride of Chihuahua, Mexico left no doubt. The former TUF Latin America winner scored his biggest career win with a Knockout of the Year contender of a finish.
"I train hard, I work every single day, my coaches help me out, my people, thank you for everything," said Rodriguez (7-1).
The bout was exciting right up until the spectacular finish. A frantic first round saw Fili competitive, but Rodriguez ultimately got the better of the action in both the standup and on the ground.
Fili was backpedaling away from Rodriguez and checking his left eye with his left hand when Rodriguez pounced.
"I saw him close his eyes and I just go for it," said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez won his fifth straight fight, while Fili (15-4), of Team Alpha Male, is 3-3 in his past six, with all three losses via finish.