UFC 290: Volkanovski vs. Rodriguez took place July 8 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski (26-2) faced interim champ Yair Rodriguez (15-4, 1 NC) in a title unification bout in the night’s main event. The fight aired live on ESPN+ pay-per-view.
Catch the video highlights below.
For more on Volkanovski vs. Rodriguez, check out the live blog by MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew.
Round 1: Volk out in orthodox, Rodriguez also. Rodriguez moving around to start, Volk taking the center. Both men switching stances early, looking to create angles.
Volk cautious about this range of Rodriguez and Rodriguez is flashing knees and the lead hand when Volk steps in. Feeling out for the first minute. Rodriguez misses a head kick, barely.
Volk getting good pressure, has Rodriguez near the fence.Rodriguez testing the water with some low kicks. Body kick from Yair lands. And another but Volk catches this and Rodriguez immediately jumps into guard, knowing he was lost there.
Rodriguez scoots to the fence, Volk heavy on top in guard. Tries to posture and lands some short shots inside. halfway mark.
Rodriguez is not able to create any space here and Volk is going old school, smash against the fence. Small shots from the champ, nothing major. Julianna Peña can be heard yelling to Yair from the crowd. And Volk lands some good shots here but Rodriguez is able to create space and stand.
Volk staying on a single leg but Rodriguez fends it off. Volk holding him here though and trips Rodriguez down. Rodriguez up again but eats a shot. Volk drags him back down and Rodriguez tries a gramby. Volk stays with him and now in top half, landing some good punches. 1-minute left.
And now Volk steps over into an arm triangle! Rodriguez sees it and defends though. Champ looking extremely good here. Some good shots from on top. One way traffic on the floor. Rodriguez recomposes guard, but the round ends.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Volkanovski.
Round 2: That’s about as bad of a round as Rodriguez could have had. Gave up and easy takedown and now Volk knows for sure that Rodriguez cannot win from there. Expect more of that.
Volk did get cut under his left eye from an elbow. But otherwise he looks perfect. And this round starts with some kicks from both men. And Yair throws a kicking combo that barely misses.
Volk pressuring. Rodriguez showing the kicks from all angles. Lands a good low kick. Needs more of that. Volk very patient. Volk lands a big shot that backs Rodriguez up but Rodriguez lands a big shot of his own! Volk shoots and gets a takedown, spins to the back. Rodriguez stands up but Volk hanging on, trying to return him. Rodriguez fighting hands against the fence, and Volk trips him down. Rodriguez is cooked.
Volk in top half and starts working good elbows. Rodriguez is bleeding now but he stands up. Volk grabs the waist and he’s staying sticky. Mat return, trying to move to the back. The wrestling is not there for Rodriguez. He spins down and Volk putting the work in now, elbows from top half.
Volk landing good ground and pound. Rodriguez trying to create scrambles, does get his guard back. Rodriguez trying to get the legs up. That is useless. Volk putting it on him now. Rodriguez throwing elbows from the bottom. Blood everywhere. I think both men are bleeding now. Big right hand from the champ. Rodriguez rolls but Volk stays on him. Rodriguez has no answer at this moment.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-8 Volkanovski, 20-17 Volkanovski overall.
Round 3: I mean, this fight is functionally over. Rodriguez has no quit in him, but he doesn’t have the wrestling and Volk is too defensively sound on the feet, and has too good of a chin. Just no way out for Rodriguez. 15 minutes or less of this.
Before the round starts, Herb Dean gives Rodriguez a hard warning for grabbing the fence and sticking fingers in the glove. Not sure he was warned during the fight, but whatever.
Rodriguez looking more tentative now. That’s probably not going to help him land a big KO shot. He throws some kicks though. Volk defends well. Volk sees the combo coming from Rodriguez and defends all 3 pieces. Schooled.
Rodriguez moving forward here, and it’s allowing him to get some offense off. Volk stops that though. Feints both ways. Volk just waiting for his window.
Slower pace this round. Not much happening at the moment. Just footwork battle. Rodriguez going with front kicks. Lands a big right hand! Volk eats it well though. Body kick Rodriguez. Volk gonna shoot any second. He’s backing Rodriguez up now, waiting to get him to the fence. Rodriguez circling. And lands a combo that backs. Volk off. 1-2 shot combo that Rodriguez defends. And a low kick.
Another. Rodriguez battling back. Right hand. Volk lands a stepping right hook. And a low kick. Pressure. Rodriguez on his bike. Good 1-2 from the champ. accidental clash of heads as Volk steps in. Mean one, right to the jaw. That was a big shot. Dang. Rodriguez so tough though. Rewatching this and lesser men would have been KOed by that. But we’re back at it.
High kick from Rodriguez misses. Jumping switch kick misses. Great left hook and a combo from Rodriguez. And a head kick. He’s starting flow. Volkk lands a big right hand as Rodriguez swings and Rodriguez is hurt! Back to the fence and covering up!
Takedown! Rodriguez covering up as Volk pours it on and that’s it!!!!! Out of nowhere!!!!! Volkanovski finishes Yair Rodriguez.
Alexander Volkanovski def. Yair Rodriguez by TKO (punches) at 4:19 of Round 3.