Report: Alexander Volkanovski vs Yair Rodriguez for undisputed featherweight title scheduled for UFC 290
After coming up short in a razor-close fight against lightweight champion Islam Makhachev at UFC 284 this past February, featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski is returning to the division he’s reigned over for the past four years. According to MMA reporter Ariel Helwani, Volkanovski will drop back down to featherweight and face interim champion Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290 which is scheduled to take place on July 8, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Despite calls for a rematch against Makhachev after their incredibly close fight, all signs pointed to the champion dropping back down and unifying the title against Rodriguez, who won the interim title on the same night at UFC 284. While Alexander Volkanovski was looking to become another two-weight champion in UFC history, Yair Rodriguez put on a career-best performance against Josh Emmett to claim the interim title.
It’ll be quite the matchup for the champion who has yet to suffer defeat at 145 pounds in the UFC, as Rodriguez has shown an improvement and growth in his skillset and will enter the fight having victories over Emmett and former title challenger, Brian Ortega (injury). In his win over Emmett, Rodriguez used an arsenal of kicks and unique striking to get ahead and was able to secure the victory with a triangle choke in the second-round.
With the win, he became the second champion from Mexico, joining Brandon Moreno, and they would later be joined by Alexa Grasso, who dethroned flyweight champion Valentina Schevchenko this year as well.
Throughout his tenure as champion, Alexander Volkanovski has defeated the likes of Chad Mendes, Chan Sung Jung, Max Holloway (three times), Jose Aldo, and Brian Ortega. A victory over Rodriguez would give him another name crossed off a very deep and talented division. Later this month, Holloway will face rising prospect Arnold Allen in what could become a title eliminator no matter who wins between Volkanovski and Rodriguez in July.
UFC 290 will also serve as the return of superstar prospect Bo Nickal, who will face Tresean Gore in his second UFC appearance.
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