UFC Vegas 42 had one of the promoter’s best fights in 2021, and probably the most relevant for a Fight Night, making it clear that Max Holloway should be the next challenger within 145 pounds, although the Hawaiian may have other plans and continues. mentioning the name of Conor McGregor.
As for Yair Rodríguez, the Mexican had one of the best fights of his entire career, but it was not enough to finish the former champion and for many the best in featherweight history. It was five incredible rounds to close an evening that had spectacular moments at the Apex.
The card had a lot of standout action. Song Yadong showed his power against dangerous Colombian Julio Arce, Andrea Lee neutralized Cynthia Calvillo and Khaos Williams added a solid knockout against Miguel Baeza.
A separate case was that of Spaniard Joel Álvarez, who could have come out with a performance bonus had it not been for his failure at weight and is now at a crossroads after a brilliant performance at lightweight.
Great afternoon at UFC Apex, which had a select audience, including UFC flyweight champion Brandon Moreno, who was present to support ‘Pantera’ Rodríguez.
Max has the upper hand
Although they put him to the test like very few times, Holloway managed to pull off the fight against Rodríguez with timely takedowns and alluding to his great hitting volume. He’s the top-selling name at £ 145, but he also proposes a great opportunity at £ 155, where he can have rematches with Charles Oliveira, Dustin Poirier or Conor McGregor, the latter being the most attractive for a millionaire pay-per-view.
However, that possibility wouldn’t loom until the summer, and 145-pound champion Alexander Volkanovski doesn’t want to spend a lot of time on the bench without defending his belt.
The most logical thing is that the trilogy between the Hawaiian and the Australian is closed in the first quarter, to leave the door to one to one active year in 2022, since both expressed their intentions to fight consecutively.
Whatever decision Holloway makes, it will be a big fight for the UFC.
Yair Rodríguez is a special talent
There is no one at 145 pounds like Yair Rodríguez, nor in the entire UFC. It took two years to see him back, but his capabilities are improved, he faced the highest level opponent he had ever faced and came close to taking the fight.
His strategy was impeccable in the first round and he earned the respect of Holloway, who often boasts of his abilities, but this time he had very difficult moments.
He was the Yair of all time, creative and spectacular, landing front and high kicks, rising and rotating elbows, but he fought back boxing, Holloway’s great threat and showed his jaw once more.
At the last minute he fell short of his chance to get a title fight, but the deck of names like Brian Ortega, Edson Barboza, Giga Chikadze or Calvin Kattar for his next fight, being in position to be a contender again.
Joel Álvarez must be a top 15, if he can give the weight
The Spaniard is a true ‘Phenomenon’ at lightweight, but he has to work very hard to be able to stay in that division.
As for talent, he has not left the slightest doubt. Four impressive wins by completion in five fights inside the Octagon and the last three have been in the first round. It can subdue and it can knock out.
The exhibition he showed before a fighter who came from being stellar like Thiago Moises showed that he has the level to face anyone in the top 15. However, having failed twice in a row on the scale will deny him that privilege.
The UFC has asked him to make his next camp in Las Vegas to monitor his weight cut, pending not to waste such a prospect, but if he fails again, we will see him at welterweight with opponents of other dimensions.
Cynthia Calvillo needs a break
The Mexican-born fighter is certainly one of the best at 125 pounds, but she has been dealing with too much pressure for a year. He has just 13 fights as a professional and has already made the top five in two different divisions.
After two fights in which she could become the next challenger to the flyweight title, she took this fight with three weeks against Andrea Lee, who surpassed her in the standing fight and failed to threaten her with a fight at ground level, where she seemed to have advantage.
His last two results were painful finishes and he is on a three-game losing streak. It is time to think very well about who will be her next opponent and to re-exploit the fighting base that led her to place herself among the best in the UFC ranking.