Yair Rodriguez to Fight Josh Emmett for Interim UFC Featherweight Title

Yair Rodriguez is headed Down Under

The 30-year-old Mexican professional mixed martial artist will fight Josh Emmett for the interim UFC featherweight title in the co-main event of the February 11 card in Perth, Australia, according to the UFC.

Yair RodriguezThe UFC is making an interim title, because undisputed champion Alexander Volkanovski will move up to lightweight and challenge champion Islam Makhachev for that title in the UFC 284 headliner.

ESPN has Rodriguez ranked No. 4 in the world at featherweight, and Emmett is ranked No. 7.

Rodriguez (14-3, 1 NC) is coming off a victory over Brian Ortega at UFC Long Island in July. The Mexican-born striker has just one loss in his past five fights.

Emmett (18-2) has won five straight. The 37-year-old California resident is coming off a split decision win over Calvin Kattar in June.

Patricio Freire Outlasts AJ McKee to Reclaim Bellator Featherweight Title

Patricio Freire has his title back…

The 34-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist, Bellator‘s franchise fighter, gutted out a unanimous decision win (49-46, 48-47, 48-47) over previously undefeated prodigy AJ McKee to win back the featherweight title in the main event of Bellator 277 on Friday night in San Jose, California.

Patricio FreireMcKee beat Freire, known as “Pitbull,” for the title via submission in just 1:57 of the first round last July.

Freire is now a three-time Bellator featherweight champion.

“That day, I came in peace,” Freire said, referring to his loss to McKee last summer. “Today, I came for war. And I’m bringing the belt home.”

It was a hard-fought, close battle between two of the best fighters in the world outside the UFC. ESPN had McKee ranked No. 3 and “Pitbull” ranked No. 5 in the world at featherweight coming in.

There was plenty of talk leading into this fight about how McKee, a 27-year-old whom many believe is a future superstar, would fare in a fight with UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski.

But “Pitbull” silenced those discussions Friday night. He did solid work in the early rounds, peppering McKee with leg kicks and punching combinations. In the third, he dropped McKee briefly with an overhand right and grabbed a tight guillotine.

McKee was able to escape that submission and do some of his best work in the late rounds. McKee landed solid combinations in the fourth round and several takedowns in the fifth, nearly getting Freire’s back at one point. In the closing minutes, McKee did his most damage, landing combos with his hands, a takedown and a hard elbow against the cage.

“He’s a tough guy,” Freire said. “He’s a great opponent. It was a hard fight to me.”

Freire (33-5) has won eight of his past nine bouts, including a 61-second knockout of current UFC lightweight contender Michael Chandler at lightweight back in 2019.

The Brazil native held both the Bellator featherweight and lightweight titles from 2019 to 2021. He lost the featherweight belt to McKee and relinquished the lightweight gold last November to focus on featherweight.

Freire has the most wins (21), the most featherweight wins (20) and the most title fight wins (11) in Bellator history.

Yair Rodriguez In Final Talks to Fight Max Holloway at UFC Fight Night in November

Yair Rodriguez is thisclose to returning to the Octagon

The UFC is finalizing a featherweight matchup between the 28-year-old Mexican professional mixed martial artist and former champion Max Holloway.

Yair Rodriguez

Rodriguez and Holloway would headline an event on November 13, according to ESPN.

Contracts haven’t been signed, but the bout is expected to become official shortly.

It will serve as the main event of a UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas.

Yair Rodriguez

The 145-pound contest was originally supposed to take place on July 17 in Las Vegas; however, Holloway was forced to pull out due to injury. Rather than book Rodriguez another opponent, the UFC elected to keep the matchup intact until Holloway made a recovery.

According to sources, Holloway accepted the date this week.

Rodriguez (13-2) has not fought since he defeated Jeremy Stephens via decision in October 2019. He was booked to fight Zabit Magomedsharipov in August 2020, but was forced to pull out because of an injury. The Mexican featherweight has only fought three times in the last three years, but is still the UFC’s No. 3-ranked featherweight.

Holloway (22-6) is already viewed as the division’s No. 1 contender. The former champion lost his title to current champion Alexander Volkanovski via unanimous decision in December 2019. The bout was razor close, and the two fought again in July 2020. Volkanovski won again, by split decision in a bout many observers felt Holloway won.

The 29-year-old Hawaiian fought Calvin Kattar in January, and delivered arguably one of the best performances in UFC history. He defeated Kattar via unanimous decision, and landed 445 total strikes in the process.

The winner of the November bout is virtually guaranteed a title shot.

Henry Cejudo Open to Return to Competition with Fight Against Ryan Garcia

Henry Cejudo is open to a comeback…

The 33-year-old Mexican American retired mixed martial artist is open to return to competition, witha fight against up-and-coming boxer Ryan Garcia at the top of his wish list.

Henry Cejudo

The former UFC double champion told ESPN that if any bout would get him to come back, it would be one against Garcia, the 21-year-old boxing prodigy promoted by Oscar De La Hoya‘s Golden Boy Promotions.

Cejudo and Garcia have been going back-and-forth on social media for weeks. Cejudo said he’d be willing to face Garcia in a boxing match, but he proposed a hybrid fight with 10-ounce boxing best heated gloves that have the fingers exposed for grappling.

Previously, Cejudo, a former Olympic wrestling gold medalist, said he’d most like to return against UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. But the ex-UFC flyweight and bantamweight champ has changed his tune a bit.

“I think Ryan Garcia would be the easiest payday ‘Triple C’ would ever get,” Cejudo said. “It would be a lot bigger than any purse I did in the UFC. If there’s any fight that intrigues me between staying retired, between fighting … Alexander Volkanovski or fighting … Ryan Garcia, I like the payday. Plus, it’s easy money because he’s fought nobody.”

Cejudo added that he thinks Garcia is “another Sean O’Malley,” referring to the highly touted UFC bantamweight prospect, when it comes to unfounded hype.

“It makes me sick,” Cejudo said.

Cejudo said Garcia “wouldn’t make it 30 seconds” with him in mixed martial arts. A bout between the two seems like a long shot. Cejudo still has a UFC contract, and the promotion would have to OK any other fight deal or be part of the co-promotion.

Cejudo (16-2) stepped away from MMA unexpectedly after six straight wins. ESPNstill has him ranked No. 3 on its pound-for-pound fighter list. Cejudo has an impressive résumé, including being one of four fighters to hold two UFC titles at the same time. The Arizona resident has beaten the likes of Demetrious JohnsonTJ Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz, all former champions.

“Triple C” is apparently now looking to add Garcia to that list.

“Ryan Garcia, if you are watching this … answer the call, man, and sign the damn contract,” Cejudo said.

Henry Cejudo Open to UFC Return for Fight Against Alexander Volkanovski

Henry Cejudo isn’t opposed to a UFC comeback…

The 33year-old Mexican American mixed martial artist and former UFC bantamweight and flyweight champion tells TMZ that he’d consider a return to the Octagon if he were given a fight against Alexander Volkanovski

Henry Cejudo

Cejudo wants a crack at Volkanovski’s UFC featherweight title to complete the championship trifecta — a feat no one in promotion history has ever pulled off.

“I’ve done everything in MMA,” Cejudo told TMZ.

“I’m satisfied with my career. There would only be one fight that would really bring me back — that would really wake me up in the morning. Other than [boxer] Ryan Garcia, it would be Alexander Volkanovski. That overgrown midget. I would love to make him bend the knee. He’s already halfway there.”

Cejudo, the former Olympic wrestling gold medalist, stunningly announced his retirement from MMA after successfully defending his bantamweight title against Dominick Cruz last month at UFC 249 in Jacksonville, Florida. There has been speculation, though, that Cejudo is using it as leverage to try and get a bigger contract from the UFC.

Since the retirement announcement, the UFC has removed Cejudo from the promotion’s official rankings and taken him off the website as bantamweight champion. UFC president Dana White has said that a vacant bantamweight title fight between Petr Yan and former featherweight champion Jose Aldo is in the offing this summer.

Cejudo, though, acknowledged to TMZ for the first time that there was indeed a way to bring him back. That would be a chance at a third belt.

“I want to be different,” Cejudo said. “There’s a lot of champ champs. Obviously there’s only one Triple C — there’s only one Olympic champ, flyweight champ, bantamweight champion of the world. It’s just to cement it and go in the history books as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.”

Cejudo (16-2) is on a six-fight winning streak, a stretch that goes back to 2016. The Arizona resident is one of only four fighters in UFC history told hold two titles in two different weight classes at the same time. Cejudo owns wins over Cruz, TJ Dillashaw and Demetrious Johnson.