UFC 290: Volkanovski vs. Rodríguez is an upcoming mixed martial arts event produced by the Ultimate Fighting Championship that will take place on July 8, 2023, at the T-Mobile Arena facility in Paradise, Nevada, part of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Area, United States.
The event will be headlined by a UFC Featherweight Championship unification bout between current champion Alexander Volkanovski and interim champion Yair Rodríguez. Volkanovski is the No. 2 ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and is undefeated as a featherweight in the UFC. Rodríguez is a former title challenger who is known for his striking and athleticism.
The co-main event will feature a UFC Flyweight Championship bout between current two-time champion Brandon Moreno and Alexandre Pantoja. Moreno is the No. 1 ranked flyweight in the world, and is looking to defend his title for the third time. Pantoja is a former title challenger who is known for his wrestling and grappling.
Background of UFC 290:
It is anticipated that the main event will consist of a unification match for the UFC featherweight championship between the current champion Alexander Volkanovski and the interim champion Yair Rodriguez, who was also the winner of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America featherweight tournament.
At the event, it is anticipated that Brandon Moreno, the current two-time champion of the UFC Flyweight Championship, would face off against Alexandre Pantoja for the opportunity to defend his title. Pantoja won their first fight against each other in an exhibition match on The Ultimate Fighter: Tournament of Champions in 2016, and he did it by submitting his opponent in the second round. Pantoja won by unanimous decision the other fight between the two of them, which took place in 2018 at UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Usman. It is anticipated that Brandon Royval will act as the backup fighter and possible substitute for this battle.
At this event, a fight for the vacant UFC Middleweight title will take place between former champion Robert Whittaker and former KSW Welterweight Champion Dricus du Plessis. Whittaker won the welterweight division of The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes. du Plessis is a past champion in that division.
Robbie Lawler, a former champion at welterweight in the UFC, will compete against Niko Price in a welterweight contest at the event. It is anticipated that this will be Lawler’s final fight in the UFC.
It is anticipated that Jalin Turner will square off against Dan Hooker in a fight at the lightweight division during the event. They were supposed to fight against each other at UFC 285, however Hooker had to pull out because of an injury.
At the event, it was anticipated that a fight in the flyweight division would take place between Manel Kape, a former Rizin Bantamweight Champion, and Deiveson Figueiredo, a two-time previous champion in the flyweight division. However, Figueiredo withdrew from the competition in late April because he was unable to receive a medical clearance to take part. After it was revealed that Figueiredo will be going up to the bantamweight category on May 13, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made the decision to officially cancel the fight. At this time, it is not clear whether the promotion will look for a substitute opponent or not.
UFC 290: Volkanovski vs. Rodríguez Prediction
|Notable wins: Max Holloway (3x), José Aldo, Brian Ortega
|Notable wins: Brian Ortega, Jeremy Stephens, Chan Sung Jung
I believe that Alexander Volkanovski will retain his UFC Featherweight Championship against Yair Rodríguez. Volkanovski is the more complete fighter, and he has shown that he can beat a variety of different styles. Rodríguez is a dangerous striker, but Volkanovski has shown that he can defend against strikes. I think Volkanovski will use his wrestling and grappling to control the fight, and he will eventually get the finish.
Here is a more detailed breakdown of the fight:
Stylistic matchup: Volkanovski is a well-rounded fighter who is good at both striking and grappling. Rodríguez is a dangerous striker with a lot of power, but he is not as good at grappling. I think Volkanovski will be able to control the fight on the ground, and he will use his wrestling to wear Rodríguez down.
Recent form: Volkanovski is coming off a dominant victory over Max Holloway in their trilogy fight. Rodríguez is coming off a win over Brian Ortega, but he has not fought since October 2021. I think Volkanovski is the more active and in-form fighter, and I think that will be a factor in the fight.
Mentality: Volkanovski is a very confident fighter who believes in himself. Rodríguez is a very talented fighter, but he has been known to make mistakes. I think Volkanovski will be able to stay focused and avoid making mistakes, and I think that will be a key factor in the fight.
Overall, I think Alexander Volkanovski will retain his UFC Featherweight Championship against Yair Rodríguez. I think Volkanovski is the more complete fighter, and he has shown that he can beat a variety of different styles. Rodríguez is a dangerous striker, but Volkanovski has shown that he can defend against strikes. I think Volkanovski will use his wrestling and grappling to control the fight, and he will eventually get the finish.
Here are some possible outcomes for the fight:
- Volkanovski wins by decision.
- Volkanovski wins by TKO in the later rounds.
- Volkanovski wins by submission in the later rounds.
I think it is unlikely that Rodríguez will be able to pull off an upset, but it is not impossible. If Rodríguez can land a big shot early in the fight, he could knock Volkanovski out. However, I think Volkanovski is too smart and too experienced to let that happen. I think Volkanovski will use his wrestling and grappling to control the fight, and he will eventually get the finish.