A pivotal 115-pound clash took place this past weekend (Sat., March 5, 2022) at UFC 272. As expected, it was a closely contested affair between two of the division’s top strikers.
It was the No. 3- and No. 4-ranked contenders colliding between Brazil’s Marina Rodriguez and China’s Yan Xiaonan (13-3). The now 16-1-2 Rodriguez extended her win streak to four straight, while Yan was attempting to rebound off her first UFC loss.
The split decision nod for Rodriguez ultimately came down to the second round in the eyes of many as judges scored the bout 29-28 in each direction.
“I’m grateful to all supports from my lovely fans!” Yan posted on Instagram. “Unfortunately didn’t get the W. Just rewind the fight, clearly I won 1 & 2 round. I will keep working hard. Much Appreciation to your endless support.”
A win for Yan was crucial in regard to putting her back on track toward a potential title shot. Depending on how things play out in the expected title fight rematch between champion Rose Namajunas and former titlist, Carla Esparza, Yan could have secured her own crack at gold. Instead, Rodriguez would seemingly have that opportunity all but wrapped up as her momentum continues to snowball.
“Coming back from it, I realize there are some things that need to be done,” Rodriguez told media post-fight (h/t MMA Junkie). “First round, it took me a little too long to get in the game and find my distance. But lesson learned, and I’ve got to work on that. But I’m glad I got the win. I think I deserved it. But I can clearly see things I need to do.
“Right now, I’m top three in the world,” she continued. “There’s really no one ahead of me that deserves it as much as I do. I know that whoever wins, I have to be next in line [for a title shot]. The UFC’s plans are the UFC’s plans — they’re not mine. But I’m going to be here, I’m going to be ready, and whoever wins the title fight, I’m going to be ready for an opponent.”
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