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Yair Rodriguez: Cowboy Cerrone inspired fight-ending elbow that crushed ‘Korean Zombie’

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Yair Rodriguez pulled off perhaps the greatest finish in the history of mixed martial arts (MMA) by knocking out Chan Sung Jung with an upward elbow in the final second (literally) of their Featherweight fight at UFC Fight Night 139 last Saturday night (Nov. 10. 2018) in Denver, Colorado.

See it again here.

What magnified the victory was the fact that “El Pantera” was well on his way to dropping a unanimous decision before he reached into his bag of tricks to capture the buzzer-beating victory. But it was far from a lucky shot, as Yair says it’s a strike he’s practiced before after seeing his good friend Donald Cerrone do it in the training room.

“Of course (I practiced it) tons of times. People near me throughout my career can tell you. If you saw the fight, I threw like five spinning elbows. I kept trying to make him come my way, to make him react and I couldn’t get him until I finally see the moment in the end. I put all my fate on my body and my technique and it was there,” he revealed on a recent interview on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show.

“No one really taught me it, but it’s something I saw ‘Cowboy’ doing in the past. And I kept practicing it. When I was preparing at ‘Cowboy’s’ ranch, we were preparing for the spinning back elbows because we knew he would open up a lot with his punches because he always comes with hooks and hooks and hooks,” he added. “I knew if I could make him come my way and go under him, with a kick, flying knee or punch threw the middle, I knew something was going to be there. So at the last second everything was perfect, the moment was perfect.”

Indeed, upon reviewing the tape, Yair landed an upward spinning elbow halfway through round two after he ducked the rushing “Zombie’s” attack that looked identical to the fight-ending sequence. He also threw another upward elbow that nearly clipped Chan in the closing seconds of that round.

To hear Yair tell it, getting to the fight was half the battle, as he was dealing with a multitude of serious health issues in he final days leading up to the contests, as the he was throwing up so much and suffering dizzy spells that he couldn’t even make it through one round of sparring.

But, he opted to keep his medical issues it all internal as he didn’t want anything to force him to drop out of the fight, given the fact he had already been out for so long.

“I was dealing with some health issues, and everybody at ‘Cowboy’s’ ranch can tell you about. I have a cyst in my liver is what they told me. I went to hospital the first of this month and did, they put me two bags of IV because I was dehydrated and I was having kidney failure, high blood pleasure.” he added.

“I didn’t know what was going, maybe something I ate in Mexico before I came to my training camp, I don’t know. I dropped 10 pounds in five days without even trying. It was a very rough week,” he added.

While a cause for his issues wasn’t determined, Rodriguez now has to go back to see his doctors to get it remedied. He will also be sidelined for a bit after suffering a badly broken nose after his five-round war with “Korean Zombie.”