Monday, August 8, 2022

UFC Long Island predictions — Brian Ortega vs. Yair Rodriguez: Fight card, odds, start time, live stream

Expectations are that UFC fans on Long Island will roar to life for Brian Ortega vs. Yair Rodriguez. The two highly ranked featherweights have a nasty habit of over-delivering on violence. Their reputation and success have earned them a headlining spot at UBS Arena on Saturday for UFC’s third main card to air live on ABC.

Ortega (15-2, 1 NC) established himself as must-see viewing from the moment he debut in 2014. “T-City” is a submission wiz who can threaten to end the fight any moment. Knockout wins over Frankie Edgar and Clay Guida revealed just how well his game has rounded out. Ortega continues to improve at a seriously impressive rate, but UFC title losses in two of his last three fights puts him in a tough spot for contention.

“I’d be lying to you if for the past couple months… every fan reminding you, like, ‘You almost became a champ,’ and I was like, ‘Thanks you f—ing dick,'” Ortega said while reflecting on the Volkanovski fight at Wednesday’s media day. “You don’t think I sit there and think about it? Trust me, I know. I’ve got to live with my f—ing self.

“Then there’s a part of, stop being a bitch. Go in there and make the adjustments and make sure you’re undeniable the way he’s doing right now. I’ve got to take a page off of his book. He’s making sure that he’s undeniably the best that there is. I need to become that. That’s what I’m doing. I’m doing my best to grind, to work as hard as I can to make sure that I’m undeniable.”

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Rodriguez (13-3, 1 NC) has been on everyone’s radar for some time. Rodriguez was quickly launched up the division when he headlined fights against Alex Cacares and B.J. Penn in his third and fourth UFC fights, respectively. A stoppage loss to Frankie Edgar was the first sign that UFC should slow down on the Rodriguez project. Subsequent bouts had surprising impacts on the public perception of Rodriguez. His hail Mary knockout of “Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung at 4:59 of Round 5 will go down in history, but his performance up to that point stalled his title aspirations. By contrast, a competitive decision loss to Max Holloway was a promising sign of his development. Unlike Ortega, a win for Rodriguez on Saturday night should establish him as the next challenger for division leader Volkanovski.

“I think anybody in the division is a threat,” Rodríguez said. “Everybody’s really good. It doesn’t matter who it is. I think Josh Emmett is right there. As I’ve said before, he could fight for the title, I could fight for the title, anybody could fight for the title. It’s just a matter of timing. I think everybody in the division is going to face each other one day. It doesn’t matter if it’s the next months, one year, two years, we’re gonna face each other. So it doesn’t matter, it’s just a matter of time.”

Here’s the fight card for UFC Fight Night with the latest odds from Caesars Sportsbook.

UFC Fight Night card, odds

Brian Ortega -170

Yair Rodriguez +145


Amanda Lemos -340

Michelle Waterson +270

Women’s strawweight

Muslim Salikhov -165

Jingliang Li +140


Su Mudaerji -260

Matt Schnell +210


Shane Burgos -170

Charles Jourdain +145


Miesha Tate -220

Lauren Murphy +180

Women’s flyweight

UFC Fight Night viewing information

Date: July 16 | Start time: 2 p.m. ET

Location: UBS Arena — Elmont, New York

TV channel: ABC | Stream: fuboTV (try for free)


Brian Ortega vs. Yair Rodriguez: Gone are the days of a pure submission specialist versus a striking expert. The evolution of MMA has molded talent that have their individual expertises but are capable of playing comfortably in their opponents’ playgrounds. The one tool missing from truly rounding out Ortega’s game is reliable offensive wrestling. Holloway edged out Rodriguez by mixing in wrestling and Ortega would benefit from doing the same. “T-City” is a terrifying jiu-jitsu threat and unlocking the takedown could be a cheat code for taking over the division. Rodriguez was clear that his intentions are to stay off the ground. He should take things one step further. Rodriguez may consider using elbows and knees sparingly to negate Ortega’s own elbows, uppercuts and ability to pull guard. “El Pantera” can use his two-inch height and two-inch reach advantage to pick away at a hittable Ortega from range. Ortega could snatch Rodriguez in a chaotic slip or scramble. Rodriguez could tee off on Ortega in the early rounds before things dissolve into a dog fight. Rodriguez via SD

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