Volkanovski: You Duck Zabit, Get Suspended, Lose & Want A Title Shot?

UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski has slammed top-five contender Yair Rodríguez for calling for a title shot despite his inactivity and recent defeat.

Volkanovski was initially set to share the Octagon with Max Holloway for the third…

Yair Rodriguez, Alexander Volkanovski

UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski has slammed top-five contender Yair Rodríguez for calling for a title shot despite his inactivity and recent defeat.

Volkanovski was initially set to share the Octagon with Max Holloway for the third time. After dethroning “Blessed” in 2019 and immediately defending the title against him seven months later, “The Great” set the score at 2-0 in his rivalry against the 145-pound GOAT contender.

After Holloway rebounded with mightily-impressive victories over Calvin Kattar and Rodríguez in 2021, he earned a chance at redemption and a third shot at adding the first blemish to Volkanovski’s record. However, just days after the fight was announced for UFC 272, Holloway was forced to withdraw after aggravating a previous injury.

Following the news, it didn’t take long for a host of fighters to throw their names into the hat to replace the Hawaiian. Among them were former two-division UFC titleholder Henry Cejudo, Giga Chikadze, and Josh Emmett.

Despite returning to the UFC after a lengthy layoff last November and falling to defeat Holloway, Rodríguez also called out the champ, and he did so in a particularly hostile manner.

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“Do I really need to raise my hand @danawhite ? Heal up quick champ @blessedmma @alexvolkanovski I had respect for you before, but now, fuck you! You little bitch you know I’m next”

Volkanovski: Yair Callout “Blows Me Away”

Volkanovski’s mindset and attitude as featherweight king have always been clear to see: whoever is the best, the top contender, and deserving of a title shot, will get a title shot. Judging by that criteria, it’s understandable why the Australian was surprised at Rodríguez ‘s callout, especially the aggressive nature of it.

During a recent appearance on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, Volkanovski listed all the reasons why the Mexican was never going to get the shot, including his 2020 USADA suspension, his failed matchups with Zabit Magomedsharipov, and his recent loss to Holloway.

“One thing that surprises me and what annoys me, is the way he (Rodríguez) acted about it as if it was a no-brainer that he should be the next in line,” said Volkanovski. “And then starts carrying on and swearing and saying, ‘I had respect and fuck you,’ and all that. Are you serious? Let’s remember, let me bring you back, let’s be real for a second. Over two years you were pretty much running from Zabit? I didn’t wanna bring that up but you put me here. So, you’re running from Zabit, pulling out, you’re getting suspended from USADA, you’re being a diva and the UFC had so much hassle with you. It was a bunch of chaos.

“The UFC ain’t gonna take that’s serious. And then, let’s remember, he just lost. I don’t get it, I really don’t get it. You haven’t fought for how long, then you’re coming off a loss, and then you get angry at me because I don’t sit there and call you out.”

Rodríguez initially rejected a fight with Zabit in 2018, which led to his release, albeit a brief three-week one. The pair were then scheduled to clash multiple times, with “El Pantera” pulling out due to injuries.

Shortly after his UFC Vegas 8 bout with the Russian fell through, Rodríguez was handed a six-month suspension for failing to notify USADA of his whereabouts and being unavailable for testing. After eventually returning at UFC Vegas 42 a couple of months ago, the Mexican fell on the wrong side of a unanimous decision verdict against Holloway.

Given all those factors, Volkanovski is baffled by Rodríguez ‘s callout. He encouraged the #3-ranked contender to say it to his face if his remarks were truly how he feels and not just an attempt to hype up the matchup.

“It just blows me away. The way that some of these people (act),” added Volkanovski. “I don’t mind the guy. Whether he just thought that was his way of getting the title shot, maybe, I don’t know. But if he’s being real… Mate, if you’re gonna carry on like that, say it to my face. Or was it just trying to get the shot and build a bit of hype, I don’t know. But if that’s really what you feel about it, bring that same energy person as well. I didn’t do anything wrong. You’re the one who didn’t fight for over two years and who is coming off a loss.”

With Rodríguez and a host of other names failing to secure a shot at Volkanovski’s title, the champion now appears set to defend his gold against divisional veteran “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung at UFC 273 in April.

Do you agree with Alexander Volkanovski? Was Yair Rodríguez wrong for calling the champ out like he did?

Continue Reading Volkanovski: You Duck Zabit, Get Suspended, Lose & Want A Title Shot? at MMA News.

Film Room: Feel The Immediate Aftermath Of Holloway/Rodriguez Classic

If you’re in need of one more thing to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, re-watch the UFC Vegas 42 main event between Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez.

The two featherweights put on an Intro to Mixed Martial Arts package that could turn any casual …

Max Holloway, Yair Rodriguez

If you’re in need of one more thing to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, re-watch the UFC Vegas 42 main event between Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez.

The two featherweights put on an Intro to Mixed Martial Arts package that could turn any casual or newbie fan into an invested follower of the sport. If nothing else, they could have a favorite fighter or fighters in Max Holloway and/or Yair Rodriguez after their inspiring contest.

Holloway and Rodriguez have also expressed their fandom for one another after sharing the cage in such a testing battle. Their peers applauded their efforts as well following the fight. In fact, many are considering it to be the 2021 Fight of the Year.

Monday, ESPN’s official MMA Twitter page shared in-cage footage from the immediate aftermath of the UFC Vegas 42 main event. In the first clip, viewers are invited into the first interaction between the two warriors at the conclusion of the contest.

They also shared footage of Rodriguez’s coach, Israel Martiniez, praising his fighter for his warrior spirit.

For more behind-the-scenes footage from UFC Vegas 43, you can view the full episode of UFC Destined: Holloway vs. Rodriguez available with a subscription of ESPN+.

Was Max Holloway vs. Yair Rodriguez the 2021 Fight of the Year?

Continue Reading Film Room: Feel The Immediate Aftermath Of Holloway/Rodriguez Classic at MMA News.

Max Holloway, Yair Rodriguez Reflect On Epic UFC Vegas 42 Bout

UFC featherweight contenders Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez have spoken out on social media just days after their battle at UFC Vegas 42.

Holloway earned the unanimous decision win over Rodriguez but was a back-and-forth war throughout. Rodriguez …

Max Holloway Yair Rodriguez

UFC featherweight contenders Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez have spoken out on social media just days after their battle at UFC Vegas 42.

Holloway earned the unanimous decision win over Rodriguez but was a back-and-forth war throughout. Rodriguez landed arguably the most damage that Holloway has suffered in a long time and landed dangerous shots late in the fight as well.

Both fighters exchanged words and mutual respect after their bout and shared a moment in an ambulance just minutes after their battle. Now, just days after their five-round war, Holloway posted on his Instagram to reflect on his biggest takeaways from the bout.

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“Toughest sport in the world,” Holloway said. “But for some of us what happens in the Octagon is the easier parts of life. Yair is one of those fighters. If you want to understand how Yair does his ninja stuff, look at his team. If you want to understand why look at his family and the sacrifices they’ve made together to make it to the Octagon. Shout outs to Parral, Chihuahua. Love you, brother. Looking forward to your championship reign someday. We should be amigos, probably.”

After getting word of Holloway’s post, Rodriguez responded on his account.

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“You are right about what you said. For some of us what happens in the octagon is the easiest part of life!” Rodriguez said. “You are truly an inspiration for me and I look forward to achieving something close to what you have done. I’ll keep on working and getting better and of course that we are amigos!”

Max Holloway Could Get A Third Fight With Alexander Volkanovski

Both featherweight contenders have plenty of options after their main event. Holloway is more than likely the next title challenger to featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and will seek revenge after losing back-to-back controversial decisions.

Holloway was arguably one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world before he lost his belt to Volkanovski at UFC 245. He also challenged Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight title at UFC 236, losing via decision.

Rodriguez returned to the Octagon after two years away from the sport, after suffering multiple injuries and dealing with fight cancelations. Entering the Holloway fight, he earned dominant wins over the likes of Jeremy Stephens, BJ Penn, and Dan Hooker.

What do you think is next for both Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez?

Continue Reading Max Holloway, Yair Rodriguez Reflect On Epic UFC Vegas 42 Bout at MMA News.

Yair Rodriguez Issues Post-Fight Statement From His Hospital Bed

Yair RodriguezYair Rodriguez was quick to thank fans for their well wishes and support following his epic main event match-up with Max Holloway at UFC Vegas 42. ‘Blessed’ was a huge favourite heading into the bout but was given all he could handle through five rounds by Rodriguez, who ultimately walked away with a loss on […]

Yair Rodriguez

Yair Rodriguez was quick to thank fans for their well wishes and support following his epic main event match-up with Max Holloway at UFC Vegas 42.

‘Blessed’ was a huge favourite heading into the bout but was given all he could handle through five rounds by Rodriguez, who ultimately walked away with a loss on his record but a legion of new fan.

Rodriguez paid the price for his heavy kicking game at UFC Vegas 42 and was taken to hospital to get his heavily swollen and possibly broken foot checked out.

The Mexican fighter issued a post-fight statement from his hospital bed.

“Everybody thank you for being here for me and for my family,” Rodriguez said on his Instagram live. “I’m kind of f*cking f*cked up right now, I don’t even know what I’m saying. I just want to say, it was an amazing fight. Just keep moving forward guys. Thank you.” (Transcribed by MMA Fighting)

Yair Rodriguez Returns With Style After His Two-Year Layoff.

Before last night, Rodriguez hadn’t fought since October 2019. A mixture of injury problems, issues with USADA, and a failed match-up with Zabit Magomedsharipov contributed to his lengthy spell on the sidelines.

‘El Pantera’ is known for securing highlight-reel knockout finishes and has already beaten the likes of Dan Hooker, B.J. Penn, Chan Sung Jung and Jeremy Stephens during his UFC run.

Despite the fact he came away without the victory at UFC Vegas 42, Rodriguez gave what many consider to be a career-best performance against arguably the greatest featherweight fighter of all time.

At just 29 years old, he seems destined for big things in the not too distant future. First up, he’s got to heal up after taking so much damage in one of the best fights 2021 has had to offer.

Did Yair Rodriguez impress you at UFC Vegas 42?

Max Holloway Shares Moment with Yair Rodriguez in Ambulance

Max HollowayFormer UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway went out of his way to track down his UFC Vegas 42 opponent, Yair Rodriguez after their all-time great bout. Holloway earned the victory over Rodriguez by a unanimous decision, but it was anything but easy. Rodriguez hurt Holloway throughout the fight and both required medical attention following their […]

Max Holloway

Former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway went out of his way to track down his UFC Vegas 42 opponent, Yair Rodriguez after their all-time great bout.

Holloway earned the victory over Rodriguez by a unanimous decision, but it was anything but easy. Rodriguez hurt Holloway throughout the fight and both required medical attention following their back-and-forth war.

After the fight, Rodriguez was about to head to a local Las Vegas-area hospital in an ambulance before he was greeted by Holloway on his way from the UFC Apex. The two top featherweights shared a brief conversation and a photo before they went their separate ways.

Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez Fought in One of the Greatest Featherweight Bouts in UFC History

Holloway is well-known for his classy persona in and out of the octagon, and that didn’t change after his newfound respect for Rodriguez. Rodriguez had returned to the octagon after a two-year hiatus, while Holloway was coming off of his legendary performance against Calvin Kattar earlier this year.

What could be next for both fighters remains up in the air. Both Holloway and Rodriguez may need some time off after their back-and-forth war. Holloway has made it be known that he wants a third fight with featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski.

Holloway allegedly had the option to either wait for a title shot against Volkanovski or to remain active in a fight with Rodriguez. It ended up being an instant classic between two of the top featherweights in the UFC.

Rodriguez didn’t look rusty at all after two years away from the octagon. He had plenty of moments in the fight and gained plenty of respect from the viewing fans who may or may not have been too familiar with his skill set.

Holloway and Rodriguez could fight again in the future, which would be a welcomed matchup for fans across the board.

What was your reaction to the Max Holloway vs. Yair Rodriguez instant classic at UFC Vegas 42?

Alexander Volkanovski Reacts to Max Holloway’s UFC Vegas 42 Win

Alexander VolkanovskiUFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski could face a familiar foe for his next title defense after Max Holloway defeated Yair Rodriguez in a five-round war at UFC Vegas 42. Many fight fans thought that Holloway would put on another one-sided performance as he did against Calvin Kattar, but Rodriguez proved to be a dangerous opponent […]

Alexander Volkanovski

UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski could face a familiar foe for his next title defense after Max Holloway defeated Yair Rodriguez in a five-round war at UFC Vegas 42.

Many fight fans thought that Holloway would put on another one-sided performance as he did against Calvin Kattar, but Rodriguez proved to be a dangerous opponent and threw heavy shots that landed from start to finish. Volkanovski, as the featherweight king, paid close attention to what was considered to be a consensus No. 1 contender bout.

After Rodriguez had him in trouble in the opening minutes of the fight, Holloway was able to outlast him and earn a unanimous decision win. After the main event, Volkanovski had this to say about the bout and Holloway’s win.

Alexander Volkanovski could face Max Holloway once again

“Great fight!” Volkanovski said. “Very competitive, well done lads.”

Volkanovski could defend his belt against Holloway in a trilogy for his next fight. Most recently, Volkanovski defeated Brian Ortega at UFC 266 in a fight that was also a Fight of the Year contender.

Fans have clamored for a Volkanovski vs. Holloway rematch for months. Volkanovski earned back-to-back controversial split decision victories over Holloway.

A third fight between the two featherweight legends seems like the fight to make. But, Holloway could also opt to wait for a ‘money fight’ against Conor McGregor, instead of a third title fight against Volkanovski.

Rodriguez was returning after a two-year hiatus from competition. Despite the loss, he remains in the title picture and his stock has risen after taking Holloway the distance.

Volkanovski first earned the title over Holloway at UFC 245. Before that, he took out featherweight contenders Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes on the way to the belt. He’s neck-and-neck with Holloway at arguably the greatest featherweight champion in UFC history.

Do you think Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway 3 should happen next?