Saturday, July 2, 2022

UFC news, rumors: Brian Ortega vs. Yair Rodriguez set as Fight Night headliner, Paddy Pimblett’s return on tap

More UFC fan favorites have been added to the promotion’s summer lineup

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Brian Ortega and Paddy Pimblett are locked for UFC fights this summer. Ortega and Pimblett are two popular UFC athletes with a knack for churning out exciting fights.

The UFC has announced that Ortega vs. Yair Rodriguez and Pimblett vs. Jordan Leavitt are slated for UFC Fight Nights on consecutive weekends in July. Ortega and Rodriguez will headline UFC Fight Night in Long Island on July 16 while Pimblett and Leavitt will fight on the undercard of UFC London: Curtis Blaydes vs. Tom Aspinall on July 23. They are two bouts at different stages of the UFC ladder, but both offer something valuable to fans and the promotion.

Ortega vs. Rodriguez could establish the next UFC featherweight title challenger, particularly if Rodriguez wins. Ortega is coming off a Fight of the Year candidate against Alexander Volkanovski for the featherweight title. Rodriguez is coming off a very competitive loss to former champion Max Holloway in November. The top-ranked featherweights will compete for upwards of five rounds. Ortega (15-2, 1 NC) has serious striking chops but wields a deadly jiu-jitsu advantage against Rodriguez (13-3, 1 NC), one of the most dynamic strikers in UFC. 

Pimblett vs. Leavitt is a meaningful step up in competition for “Paddy the Baddy,” one of the UFC’s hottest signings in recent memory. Pimblett has pulled through in his first two UFC fights by overcoming adversity. Pimblett’s (18-3) personality is infectious and he is thus far undefeated inside the Octagon, but critics are skeptical of his ceiling. Leavitt is a solid step up in competition, winning three of his four UFC appearances including a slam knockout of veteran Matt Wiman and an inverted triangle choke submission against Matt Sayles. 

More UFC news, rumors

  • Thiago Santos vs. Jamahal Hill takes center stage at the UFC Fight Night event on Aug. 6. The promotion confirmed the headlining bout on Friday. Santos, who nearly upset Jon Jones for the UFC light heavyweight championship in 2019, is on a rough stretch of 1-3 since that fight. Hill is trending in the opposite direction, achieving a record of 4-1 with one no-contest since making his UFC debut in 2020.
  • Tito Ortiz wants one last crack in the UFC against a fellow legend and former light heavyweight champion. Ortiz recently told Helen Yee that he would like to book his retirement fight in the UFC against Shogun Rua. “It’s never over and I think I made that mistake with the UFC when I said I’ll never fight for the UFC ever again. And now I think about it, that’ll be an amazing last fight for myself and for Shogun Rua,” Ortiz said. “Shogun has his last fight with the UFC, we’re in kind of the same era, so it would be nice to see a Tito Ortiz vs. Shogun. I would like that.”

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