The UFC is close to signing a featherweight showdown between former champion Max Holloway and Mexico’s Yair Rodriguez to headline an event on Nov. 13, multiple sources told ESPN.
No contracts have been signed, but the fight is expected to become official shortly. It will serve as the main event of UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas.
Originally, the 145-pound fight was supposed to take place on July 17 in Las Vegas; however, Holloway was forced to retire due to injury. Rather than contract Rodriguez against another opponent, the UFC decided to keep the matchup intact until Holloway recovered. According to sources, Holloway accepted the date this week.
Holloway (22-6) is already seen as the number one contender in the division. The former champion lost his title to reigning champion Alexander Volkanovski by unanimous decision in December 2019. The fight was very close, and the two fought again in July 2020. Volkanovski won again, by split decision in a fight that many observers felt that Holloway won.
The 29-year-old Hawaiian fought Calvin Kattar in January and had arguably one of the best performances in UFC history. He defeated Kattar by unanimous decision and landed 445 total hits in the process.
Rodriguez (13-2) has not fought since defeating Jeremy Stephens by decision in October 2019. He was booked to fight Zabit Magomedsharipov in August 2020, but was forced to withdraw due to injury. The Mexican featherweight has only fought three times in the past three years, but is still the No. 3 featherweight in the UFC rankings.
The winner of the November fight is practically guaranteed a title shot. Volkanovski (22-1) is scheduled to defend his title against Brian Ortega (15-1) at UFC 266 this weekend in Las Vegas.