Featherweight finishers tangled today (Sat., July 16, 2022) with hopes of being the next man up to challenge for 145-pound gold. Brian Ortega vs. Yair Rodriguez, the main event of UFC Long Island inside UBS Arena at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., just wrapped up.
And it didn’t end how anyone wanted it to. The fight went just over four minutes and was called off after Ortega suffered what appeared to be a dislocated shoulder. That goes down as a TKO win for Rodriguez. The fight had been a tense affair leading up to this, with Rodriguez landing a few good strikes. But in truth, the contest barely got started. Hopefully we see them run it back soon.
Previously Ortega had only lost twice in his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) career, to champions Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski. He had looked unstoppable against everyone else and he was hoping to prove that it’s him, and not Rodriguez, who deserves to contest for the Featherweight title (which we suspect will be vacated if Volkanovski moves up to Lightweight).
Rodriguez was desperate to prevent Ortega from getting back into the title picture. His only UFC losses were to Holloway and former 155-pound champion, Frankie Edgar. Rodriguez is one of the most exciting, and unpredictable, strikers in the company. And he’s amassed quite the highlight reel with his performances against Chan Sung Jung, B.J. Penn and Jeremy Stephens. Ortega represented a chance to add another big name (and a relevant one at that) in his win column and show that he’s the one who should be selected for one-half of the next title fight. He did that, though... not like he would have wanted.
Their match up was a fascinating one on paper. Ortega had impressed on the feet, but his submission game is still one of the most feared in the promotion. Rodriguez is known to throw caution to the wind in search of the spectacular. And, more often than not, he finds it. And who knows, maybe we would have seen that if this fight had gotten to last a little longer.
Live updates will began to flow below the moment the two fighters make their way to the Octagon ...
Ortega looked loose in the backstage before his main event date with ‘El Pantera’.
Rodriguez seemed focused as he looked over the tools of his trade.
Rodriguez went tradicional with his walkout today.
Not to be outdone, Ortega also leaned into his Mexican heritage for his walkout at UFC on ABC 3.
Nothing but respect here.
Both men open up striking right away, with Rodriguez landing a quick one-two. Ortega throwing hard single shots, but not connecting, while Rodriguez is able to fire off one or two strikes that land. Ortega seems to have found some more respect for Rodriguez’s strikes inside and now he looks a little more cautious.
Ortega ducks under, gets a bodylock and then forces Rodriguez back to the fence. Against the fence, Rodriguez tries to bug Ortega with light strikes to the head and body. Meanwhile, Ortega is looking for a chance to take Rodriguez down.
Rodriguez is showing great balance, though. He’s not letting Ortega get in on his hips and execute a throw. Pace has slowed now with Rodriguez focusing mostly on defence, while throwing out a few oblique kicks. Murmuring of boos from the fans, which is odd.
Ortega tries to pull Rodriguez away from the cage, but he can’t get him down. They separate and Rodriguez catches Ortega with a big right hand. He follows it up with a front kick.
Ortega doesn’t like that, he shoots and pushes Rodriguez back to the fence. He uses his momentum to take the fight to the ground. They roll and then... it’s over. Ortega’s shoulder has popped out and the fight is over!
The replay shows Ortega’s shoulder popped out when trying to pull his arm free from a Rodriguez armbar attempt.
Final result: Yair Rodriguez defeats Brian Ortega by TKO (injury), Round One (4:11).
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Long Island news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archives here, here, and here. For the updated and finalized “Ortega vs. Rodriguez” fight card and ABC/ESPN/ESPN+ line up click here.