Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweights Charles Rosa and Yair Rodriguez slugged it out last night (June 13, 2015) at UFC 188 inside Arena Ciudad in Mexico City, Mexico.
After putting forth an impressive effort in a losing effort in his Octagon debut, Rosa came back with a vengeance to finish his next fight. Heading into this bout, Rosa was a legitimate prospect with top shelf potential.
Meanwhile, Rodriguez had a strong showing on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Latin America, finishing each of his opponents on the show and securing a decision win at the finale. At just 22 years old, Rodriguez was looking to prove that he was already a major player at featherweight.
Color me impressed.
Rodriguez opened the fight with some wild kicks and jumping knees, but Rosa used his wildness to secure a single leg takedown. However, it landed him in a deep triangle choke, which the TUF winnner squeezed with all his might. Rosa defended intelligently, pushing his opponent's neck into the fence and preventing him from getting the angle necessary for the finish.
Just moments after escaping the triangle, Rosa opened up with his ground strikes and moved into the back mount. While he failed to threaten with a choke, he did land some nice ground strikes before the fight moved back to their feet. The men began to exchange, but the exciting round came to an end soon after.
While Rosa's top control likely won him the round, both men definitely had their moments.
Rodriguez's offense clearly took its toll on Rosa, who was very tired to start the second round. Rosa pushed forward regardless, but Rodriguez circled around him and touched him up with hard kicks and punches. In addition, Rosa's takedowns were missing a lot of drive, allowing Rodriguez to defend them easily.
By the middle of the second round, Rosa's face was sliced open and battered. He continued to push forward and throw punches, but he rarely landed anything solid. Plus, he was getting countered constantly, and his takedowns were frequently reversed.
Heading into the third, it was clear which fighter had the momentum.
Rosa opened up the third round with some pressure and a nice double leg takedown. After a minute of landing hard elbow strikes, Rosa was caught in a second triangle choke, though he managed to slip out without too much issue. He used the escape to pass and attempted a crucifix, but Rodriguez managed to escape back to his feet.
Before long, Rosa managed to land a second takedown against the fence. Rosa stayed active with punches and elbows while Rodriguez threw up submission attempts. From within the guard, both men battled until the end of the fight.
Ultimately, it came down to the first round, and two of the judges sided with Rodriguez.
This was a huge victory for the Mexican fighter. He displayed a ton of potential, particularly on his feet, where he used a number of creative techniques to keep his opponent off-balance and do damage. In addition, he was constantly working from the ground, both with strikes and submission attempts.
Furthermore, Rodriguez is a huge featherweight. He dwarfed his opponent, and his strength advantage likely helped him defend takedowns and land so many reversals. His strikes landed with serious power, knocking his opponent around.
While Rodriguez needs to develop his wrestling a bit further, he's in a great camp and still quite young. Hopefully, he's brought along slowly and given time to develop. This was already a big win for him, but he doesn't need to face a top 15 fighter just yet.
Rosa has to be disappointed. Against a fairly unknown fighter, Rosa wound up in an all out war and came up just short. Despite his proven skills, his current UFC record sits below .500, which is never a good look.
In this bout, Rosa's conditioning really cost him. Of course, the elevation and kicks he absorbed didn't help, but that's what really prevented him from out-wrestling his opponent. If Rosa had been able to push hard for three rounds, he likely would've pulled out the win.
Regardless, this was an entertaining fight, and Rosa has made a habit of putting on shows. He's not going anywhere, and I look forward to seeing both men again inside the Octagon.
Last night, Yair Rodriguez upset Charles Rosa in a wild scrap. How high will the Mexican TUF winner climb?
For complete UFC 188 "Velasquez vs Werdum" results and play-by-play, click HERE!