Former UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway is set to face the returning Yair Rodriguez in a five-round battle on Saturday night. Their bout headlines an 11-fight UFC “Fight Night” card that is set to go down at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Follow along throughout the evening for updates.
Preliminary Card (1:00PM EST / 10:00PM PST) (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass Canada)
Main Card (4:00PM EST / 1:00PM PST) (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass Canada)
Bout 11: Max Holloway (22-6) vs. Yair Rodriguez (13-2) (Featherweight)
Holloway Endures Five-Round Battle Against Returning Rodriguez, Takes Decision Win
Max Holloway’s campaign towards another title reign had a tough test on Saturday, as he fought to a unanimous decision win against returning featherweight contender Yair Rodriguez (49-46, 48-47 & 48-47).
Holloway had a well-rounded performance against Rodriguez, although the win didn’t come without a hard battle that saw both competitors consume damage.
The featherweights got busy early, connecting with thudding punches in the opening round. Holloway landed good shots in the frame, although Rodriguez also scored with his fair share of blows.
Rodriguez was quite active with leg kicks early on, causing visible damage on the lead leg of Holloway.
Holloway started to land more with body punches in the second round, walking Rodriguez down with shots.
Rodriguez dropped to the ground in the third round after throwing a leg kick. Holloway took full mount on top, where he landed punches and briefly attempted an arm triangle choke.
Rodriguez had a burst of momentum when returning to the feet later in the round, throwing numerous shots on the feet. Holloway closed the second round with another takedown, moving into half guard before the round concluded.
Holloway searched for a guillotine choke in the fourth round, pulling guard with the attempt. He lost the submission on the ground, although he took top control for numerous minutes afterward.
The final round of the fight was a close one, as both featherweights remained active with strikes. Holloway was able to briefly get top control in the bout, going to the ground after avoiding a flying attack from Rodriguez.
Holloway, a former UFC Featherweight Champion, finishes the year with two five-round decision wins. His prior bout was in January, where he put on a striking clinic against Calvin Kattar.
Holloway’s 2021 run came after five years at the top of the division, competing in eight title fights.
Regarding what’s next, Holloway said it was up to UFC’s matchmakers to decide who he could fight.
“We’ll see what happens,” said Holloway in his post-fight interview.
The strong performance from Rodriguez was his first appearance in over two years. He had last competed in October 2019, defeating Jeremy Stephens on scorecards.
Bout 10: Ben Rothwell (39-13) vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima (18-7-1) (Heavyweight)
Rogerio de Lima Stops Rothwell In Just 32 Seconds
Marcos Rogerio de Lima made quick work of fellow veteran Ben Rothwell in the co-main event, stopping him in just 32 seconds with strikes.
Rogerio de Lima hurt Rothwell with a right cross just seconds into the fight. He then charged forward with a series of hooks that hurt and eventually put Rothwell out.
Rogerio de Lima is now on a two-fight winning streak for the first time in seven years. The previous victory in his ongoing run was in May, where he defeated Maurice Greene via unanimous decision.
Rothwell was coming off a submission win he earned against short-notice opponent Chris Barnett in May.
Bout 9: Felicia Spencer (8-3) vs. Leah Letson (5-1) (Featherweight)
Spencer Spoils Return of Letson With Ground and Pound Shots
Felicia Spencer closed out a dominant fight against the returning Leah Letson in the third round, finishing her with ground and pound shots.
Spencer stopped the fight from full mount, a position she gained after scoring a takedown earlier in the round.
Spencer had a grinding performance over Letson through all three rounds, landing strikes on the ground and in clinch positions in all rounds that did visible damage.
Spencer had lost her two previous bouts, including a title fight against Amanda Nunes in June.
Letson was returning after an extensive layoff, having last appeared in 2018. Her UFC record is now an even one win and one loss.
Bout 8: Miguel Baeza (10-1) vs. Khaos Williams (12-2) (Welterweight)
Williams Delivers Third-Round Knockout Against Baeza
A powerful overhand right from Khaos Williams put an end to his close fight against Miguel Baeza, knocking him out early in the third round.
The finish came during a hectic striking trade in the third round. The shot immediately dropped Baeza, causing the referee to step in just moments after.
The welterweights engaged in explosive back-and-forth exchanges during the bout, often both connecting with hard punches.
Baeza spent a large portion of the first round on the ground holding a leg of Williams. Baeza threatened Williams with a heel hook attempt for more than a minute, but he periodically consumed head punches while in that position.
The fight took two pauses in the second round, as Baeza was hit by two groin strikes. Williams was warned for landing these accidental blows but was not deducted a point.
Williams has now won four of his five UFC appearances, with three of those wins being stoppage wins. He scored two wins this year, having defeated Matthew Semelsberger in June.
Baeza was attempting to bounce back from his sole pro loss. His prior bout was in June, dropping a decision to Santiago Ponzinibbio in June.
Bout 7: Song Yadong (17-5-1) vs. Julio Arce (17-4) (Bantamweight)
Song Stuns Arce With Head Kick, Finishes Bout With Punches
Song Yadong picked up a stoppage win to start the main card, putting together a slick combination of shots in the second round to finish Julio Arce.
Song stung Arce with a head kick in the second round, following up with a series of straight punches for a knockdown to end the bout.
The finish came after both bantamweights had a slow start in the opening round.
The victory ends a streak of hard-fought wins for Song in recent bouts. He had gone the distance in his previous four fights, picking up two wins, one loss and one draw in those appearances.
Arce has flipped between winning and losing for his last six bouts. He had a win earlier this year, stopping Andre Ewell with strikes in July.
Bout 6: Thiago Moises (15-5) vs. Joel Alvarez (18-2) (Lightweight)
Alvarez Stops Moises Early With Elbows
Joel Alvarez picked up a big win on the prelims, putting away Thiago Moises in the first round with strikes.
Alvarez backed Moises up to the cage in the third minute, setting himself up to let go a combination of shots. He used this position to unload with a series of elbows that hurt Moises and caused a cut on his head.
The referee saw this series of unanswered shots and made the call to end the fight.
Alvarez had the sharper striking throughout the short three-minute fight, getting the best of most exchanges.
All four of Alvarez’s UFC wins have come via stoppage in the first or second round. His appearance on Saturday was his first after a year outside of the cage, with his previous bout being an October 2020 armbar win over Alexander Yakovlev.
Moises was coming off a main event loss he took against Islam Makhachev in July. Before then he had attained three consecutive UFC wins.
Bout 5: Cynthia Calvillo (9-3-1) vs. Andrea Lee (12-5) (Flyweight)
Lee Picks Up Corner Stoppage Win Over Calvillo
Two rounds of solid striking from Andrea Lee earned her a win over Cynthia Calvillo via corner stoppage.
Damage from strikes that Lee threw caused the fight to be stopped between the second and third rounds.
Lee was able to hurt Calvillo with punches on the feet, touching her up with hooks and jabs for most of the fight. Her ability to block takedown attempts from Calvillo made allowed her to keep the contest in her wheelhouse, making the fight a dominant performance on the feet in total.
Lee has now strung together two stoppage wins. Her previous victory was in May, submitting Antonina Shevchenko via armbar.
Calvillo took the fight on short notice, stepping in to replace Jessica Eye.
Bout 4: Sean Woodson (8-1) vs. Collin Anglin (8-2) (Featherweight)
Woodson Puts Anglin Away Early With Body Shots
Sean Woodson showed his refined boxing skills on the prelims, putting away Collin Anglin in the first round with strikes.
Woodson was able to stop Anglin with punches to the body. He clearly stunned Anglin with a body punch late in the round, then followed up with a series of shots that earned a knockdown and put an end to the fight.
Woodson now has three wins through four appearances in the UFC cage. He earned a win earlier this year, defeating Youssef Zalal via split decision.
Anglin has yet to win on the UFC roster. The “Dana White’s Contender Series” alum lost his promotional debut in July, getting finished by Melsik Baghdasaryan.
Bout 3: Cortney Casey (9-9) vs. Liana Jojua (8-4) (Flyweight)
Veteran Casey Snaps Losing Streak With Decision Win Over Jojua
Veteran Cortney Casey used her striking to defeat Liana Jojua via unanimous decision on the prelims (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).
Casey was able to piece Jojua up on the feet, doing a significant amount of visible damage from punches.
Jojua scored takedowns in the bout, although her work from those sequences was not enough to give her a round on scorecards.
Casey claimed during the fight that one of her hands might have suffered an injury. She mentioned afterward that she thought the injury came in the first round.
Casey snapped a two-fight losing streak in the appearance. She lost a close split decision in her previous bout when facing JJ Aldrich in March.
Jojua has now lost in her past two bouts. A doctor stoppage took her out in her previous bout, losing to Miranda Maverick last year.
Jojua missed weight for the fight on Friday, coming in two-and-a-half pounds over the flyweight limit.
Bout 2: Marc Diakiese (14-4) vs. Rafael Alves (19-10) (Lightweight)
Alves Submits Diakiese Early For First UFC Win
Rafael Alves scored his first UFC victory on Saturday, securing a submission win over Marc Diakiese as part of a fast finishing sequence.
The end to the bout started when Alves first backed Diakese up with a left jab. After flying in with a knee strike, Alves pulled guard for a guillotine choke attempt that forced the end of the fight.
Alves lost his UFC debut earlier this year, dropping a unanimous decision to Damir Ismagulov in May. Before then, he had attained a five-fight winning streak as a pro.
Diakiese has now lost two consecutive bouts. His previous bout was a decision loss to Rafael Fiziev last year.
Bout 1: Kennedy Nzechukwu (9-1) vs. Jung Da-un (14-2-1) (Light Heavyweight)
Jung Continues Undefeated UFC Win With First-Round Stoppage
Jung Da-un continued his undefeated UFC run to open the card, stopping Kennedy Nzechukwu in the first round with strikes.
Jung hurt Nzechukwu early on with elbows to the head. After stunning Kennedy with some of the shots, Jung continued to press forward until he scored a knockout and finished the fight.
Jung has now won four of his five UFC appearances, with the other bout being a draw. He scored a win earlier this year, going three rounds for a decision win over William Knight.