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‘Resilient’ Yair Rodriguez issues statement after losing belt to Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 290: ‘Long live Mexico!’

UFC 290 — which went down this past weekend (Sat., July 8, 2023) in Las Vegas, Nevada — is now in the books, leaving several fighters feeling the post-fight blues. Among them was Robert Whittaker, who was stopped via technical knockout by Dricus Du Plessis (see it again here).

And Brandon Moreno, who lost his Flyweight title to Alexandre Pantoja via split decision in a back-and-forth 25-minute war (see scorecard here). But, which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?

Yair Rodriguez.

Coming into the event, Rodriguez had just recently got a little taste of how it feels to be a UFC champion by winning the interim strap. But, that’s not enough for fighters because they want the feeling of being an undisputed champion ... and knowing there is one more person in the division better than them undoubtedly makes them toss and turn at night.

And unfortunately for “El Pantera,” Alexander Volkanovski has proven time and again that he is the best 145-pound fighter on the planet.

While Rodriguez did have a few shining moments in the fight, it was all Volkanovski for as long as it lasted. “The Great” got the better of Rodriguez on the feet and controlled the ground game every time it hit the canvas. In the third round, Volkanovski rocked the Mexican-born champion with a nasty right hand, which lead to an onslaught of strikes, a smooth slam and ground-and-pound to earn his fifth straight title defense (watch highlights).

Despite the loss, Rodriguez still has plenty of upside because he is just 30 years old, so the future is very bright for the talented striker.

“Thanks for watching friends — I know that expectations were not met, the truth from the heart I had in my mind the vision of winning and the mentality,” Rodriguez said on Instagram. “I can only say that congratulations to Alex Volkanovski for an excellent performance and to his team as well.”

“Nothing knocks us down, I said it before and I will continue saying it, resilience is something that is part of me as a Mexican and it is also for men to accept defeat when it knocks on our door. It is not the only opportunity I will have to make all of you who love and support me proud, many more will come! Long live Mexico today and always!”

As far as what could be next, call me crazy, but I would love to see a rematch with Brian Ortega. Their first fight in July 2022 ended abruptly after “T-City” suffered a shoulder injury at the tail-end of the opening round, robbing fight fans of what would have been an epic scrap.

Ortega hasn’t competed since then, and while Rodriguez needs a few months of recovery time, I think the two would be open to settling their business inside the cage once and for all. If not, then a bout against Arnold Allen — who is coming off a loss to Max Holloway — will suffice.


For complete UFC 290: “Volkanovski vs. Rodriguez” results and play-by-play, click HERE.

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