Yair Rodriguez competed against Brian Ortega at UFC Long Island on July 16, 2022. The match was over before it began with Ortega falling back with a pained expression on his face.
Ortega dislocated his shoulder during the first round of the bout during a grappling exchange.
Rodriguez was declared the winner by virtue of a technical knockout. This put him back on the winning track and maybe set him up for a shot at the Featherweight championship. Prior to the bout, management confirmed with UFC that if he were to win he would get a title shot. With a strange anti climactic finish of the bout, the title shot promise is up in the air.
Rodriguez told MMA Hour:
“In the moment, I knew that I had the submission. Of course, the attempt of the submission was there.”
“That lead to a reaction from Brian Ortega that led to his injury. So, for me, it’s a win no matter what. Regardless, it’s a win.”
“I feel really happy. My friends, family, they’re super happy. Nobody knew what happened right in the moment so everybody was confused.”
“They’re used to seeing me throwing down in Juarez against big opponents and this opportunity was just one round. I hope Brian Ortega gets healthy but I’m always looking to move forward in my career and that’s what I’m looking to do right now.”
On the other hand, current champion Alexander Volkanovski is recovering after successful surgery to fix his fractured hand. In light of the fact that the top contender Josh Emmett is also anxiously awaiting a championship opportunity of his own, things will likely need to be worked out in the meantime.
Volkanovski’s absence makes way for an interim title in the category. As he progresses, Rodriguez’s main goal is to silence his critics.
“I don’t know what else I have to do for people to start believing I’m for real. They want to keep on believing that I’m not for real by this point then I don’t know what else to do.”
“I think I’m just a really lucky guy and that’s why I got in the No. 1 contender spot or something. It’s just crazy to believe that people think I’m still not for real or whatever, but I’m okay with whatever, you know. People always going to talk and think and say little things but my job is to show them different all the time.”