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.
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.
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.