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UFC 287 results: Christian Rodriguez derails Raul Rosas Jr. hype train, decisions teenager in Miami

Raul Rosas Jr. — the 18-year-old prospect who took the Octagon by storm last fall with an impressive Contenders Series win (at age 17) — aimed to remain undefeated at UFC 287 tonight (Sat., April 8, 2023) at the expense of Christian Rodriguez. The up-and-coming pair hooked ‘em up in an exciting Bantamweight tilt that kicked off the pay-per-view (PPV) show inside Miami-Dade Arena in Miami, Florida.

Talk about pressure: In just his second official bout for the world’s largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion, Rosas Jr. was tapped to be featured on a high-profile PPV show. But, “El Nino Problema” seems like he can handle the peripheral hoopla, which will go a long way toward accomplishing his lofty championship aspirations. Rodriguez, meanwhile, is just 25 years old himself, entering his third UFC bout following a bonus-winning submission over Joshua Weems.

It was a fun match between two young, talented and dynamic prospects, with Rodriguez showing just a bit more polish and maturity en route to a clear unanimous decision win.

LIVE! Watch UFC 288 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

BLOCKBUSTER BANTAMWEIGHT BATTLE! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Newark, N.J., for the first time in more than three years on Sat., May 6, 2023, with a blockbuster Bantamweight collision inside Prudential Center that will see Aljamain Sterling attempt another successful title defense against returning two-division titleholder and former gold medal-winning Olympic wrestler, Henry Cejudo. In UFC 288’s last-minute pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, former Welterweight title challenger, Gilbert Burns, locks horns with No. 4-seeded contender, Belal Muhammad, in a five-round, 170-pound No. 1 contender eliminator match.

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

Rosas came sprinting out of his corner to start the match, locking up with Rodriguez along the fence after the takedown didn’t materialize. He continued to grind along the cage, almost hip tossing Rodriguez to the ground, but “CeeRod” was able to remain upright. Rosas was finally able to lift the leg and dump Rodriguez to the mat, where he started to immediately angle for a d’arce choke. Rodriguez was able to reverse position and get on top briefly before Rosas got back to his feet and he was all over Rodriguez once again. Rosas dumped him to the floor once more, but Rodriguez got back to his feet quickly. Rodriguez continued to post, but then Rosas jumped on his back and was able to get his forearm under Rodriguez’s chin. He was able to peel it off his face, with Rosas still draped on his back, body triangle tight. Rodriguez eventually hit the floor, but he continued to fight the hands of Rosas. Rodriguez tried to spin to get belly-to-belly, while Rosas angled for an armbar as the round came to a close — strong start for “El Nino Problema.”

Once again, Rosas with an early takedown, but Rodriguez this time was in a much better position to defend. He got on top of Rosas in the scramble, then drilled him with a hard knee as the pair headed toward the fence, still entangled. Rosas once again got behind Rodriguez and dragged him to the ground, but “CeeRod” continued to just stand back up, with Rosas still draped on his back. He was able to dump Rosas off his back, drilling Rosas in the ribs from an odd north-south position. Rosas tried to roll out of danger, but Rodriguez rolled right along with him, continuing to drop some short shots before stuffing him at the bottom of the cage. Rodriguez got a body triangle in from behind and wanted a rear-naked choke as Rosas covered his ears to defend the ground-and-pound. Rodriguez battered Rosas from behind, opting to score with damage rather than hunt for the choke — big round for Rodriguez.

With the fight seemingly even, the third and final round was pivotal. Rosas opted to remain standing this time, missing on a spinning backfist and getting drilled with a hard counter shot. One minute down and Rosas dove in for a weak takedown, which Rodriguez stuffed with a sweet sprawl ... twice in a row. On the third failed attempt, Rodriguez spun behind Rosas and started to ragdoll him. Rosas rolled to his belly to avoid full mount, but Rodriguez was all over him, drilling him with hard shots from behind. Rodriguez rolled to his back, body triangle locked up, and had about two minute to score the submission finish. It never came — he was content to just beat up Rosas Jr. from behind and run out the clock with a win clearly in hand.

It was a nice win for Rodriguez, overshadowed by his miss on the scales at the weigh-in. Rosas Jr., meanwhile, will be just fine in time. Fighters often learn more from losses than wins.

And he’s got more than enough time on his side regardless.

Final result: Rodriguez def. Rosas Jr. via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 287 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 287: “Pereira vs. Adesanya 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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