An early shoulder injury to Brian Ortega caused an anticlimatic end to UFC’s main event bout on Saturday evening, handing Yair Rodriguez a sudden victory.
Their featherweight fight headlined a card from the UBS Arena in Long Island, New York, USA.
Ortega’s injury emerged during a ground position with Rodriguez. The former title challenger fell to his back while escaping an armbar position, visibly expressing pain during this exchange.
Rodriguez stopped himself from attacking Ortega after, noticing that an injury occurred. Only moments later, a referee stepped in to put an end to the fight.
The finish cut short a fight that many expected to be a back-and-forth brawl that would go into deep waters. Ortega and Rodriguez both have a reputation for their toughness, going the distance in the past against many elite names in the division.
“I don’t know how this happened … I got two shoulder surgeries already, I might need a third one,” said a deflated Ortega in his post-fight interview.
Ortega was fighting to come back from an unsuccessful title shot. He challenged for the UFC Featherweight Championship last year, losing a bout to Alexander Volkanovski via unanimous decision.
The win for Rodriguez turned things around for him after losing to former champion Max Holloway in 2021. Now that he has a big win under his belt, Rodriguez is one of the top names in the division and could see himself challenging Volkanovski next.
Another high-ranked possible title challenger is Josh Emmett, who earned his first-ever UFC main event win earlier this year against Calvin Kattar.
After his win, Rodriguez expressed interest in a title fight or a rematch against Ortega.
Lemos Bounces Back Against Veteran Waterson-Gomez
Amanda Lemos bounced back from a recent loss with a submission win in Saturday’s co-main event, stopping Michelle Waterson-Gomez in the second round with a guillotine choke.
Lemos pulled guard with a guillotine choke attempt against Waterson-Gomez in the second round. This came just mostly after Lemos resisted a takedown attempt from Waterson-Gomez, going to the ground briefly but standing back up moments later.
Waterson-Gomez tapped out to the submission, causing the fight to end.
Prior to the finish, Waterson was frequently searching for takedowns.
Lemos was coming back after recently losing a main event bout to former champion Jessica Andrade. Before then, she had five consecutive wins as a pro.
Waterson-Gomez was appearing for the first time in over a year. Her prior fight was a brief appearance up at flyweight, losing a five-round bout to Marina Rodriguez in May 2021.
Li Stops Salikhov With Right Cross
Li Jingliang picked up a finish win in his return this weekend, stopping Muslim Salikhov in the second round with strikes.
Li stung Salikhov in the second round with a clean right cross. He landed this shot again in the final minute of the round, knocking Salikhov down that time and forcing a finish in the fight.
The victory put Li back into the win column after suffering a submission loss against undefeated welterweight contender Khamzat Chimaev last year.
Salikhov had his extensive winning streak snapped in the fight. He won five consecutive bouts from 2018 to 2021, including a victory over Francisco Trinaldo last year.
Schnell Makes Impressive Comeback To Submit Sumudaerji
Matt Schnell had a comeback-of-the-year contender in his fight against Sumudaerji, submitting the flyweight in the second round after nearly getting stopped on the feet.
Sumudaerji had Schnell in trouble early in the second round, putting together punches and close-range elbows that stunned him on the feet. Shortly after, Schnell started to rally back with his own strikes that hurt Sumudaerji.
The fight went to the ground, where Sumudaerji was able to take full guard. Schnell capitalized on this position, securing a triangle choke that put Sumudaerji to sleep, ending the fight.
Schnell snapped a two-fight skid with the fight, earning him his first victory since early 2021.
After his win, he called for a fight against Matheus Nicolau in November.
Sumudaerji was making his return in the fight, appearing for the first time in a year-and-a-half.
Burgos Earns Decision Win Over Jourdain with Grappling
Shane Burgos survived sharp striking and used his grappling abilities to earn a unanimous decision over Charles Jourdain on Saturday’s main card.
Burgos picked up rounds early in the fight with strong showings on the ground. He was able to get Jourdain down numerous times and use these positions to attempt chokes.
His best round was the second, as he spent numerous minutes on the back of Jourdain searching for a submission.
Jourdain had Burgos in some late trouble, as he attempted to hunt him down with striking for most of the final frame.
Burgos survived this late blitz and walked away with the decision victory.
Burgos now has two consecutive wins as a pro. His previous performance came at UFC 268 when he beat Billy Quarantillo on scorecards.
Jourdain was coming off a quick submission win, finishing Lando Vannata in April.
Tate Loses Flyweight Debut Against Murphy
Former UFC Bantamweight Champion Miesha Tate had an unsuccessful flyweight debut on Saturday night, losing a unanimous decision against former title challenger Lauren Murphy.
The three-round battle saw Murphy succeed through stand-up striking positions and clinch exchanges. She did damage to Tate in these positions, opening a visible number of cuts and causing bruising on the former champ’s face.
Tate was making the move down to 125-pounds for the first time in her career. This move came after a five-round defeat in 2021, dropping a unanimous decision to Ketlen Vieira.
The win on Saturday for Murphy put her back into the win column after losing a title fight against Valentina Shevchenko last year.
After her performance, Murphy claimed that the bout helped make her a fighter who can get back into the title picture someday.
“I wasn’t ready to be the champion,” said Murphy, reflecting on her title fight last year. “But experiences like this are exactly what’s going to get me ready.”
The Rest of the Card
Punahele Soriano snapped his two-fight skid in the featured prelim, catching Dalcha Lungiambula early in the second round with an overhand left.
Ricky Simon put an end to Jack Shore’s lengthy 16-fight undefeated record, putting him away in the second round. Simon first caught Shore with an overhand right, then finished him on the ground with an arm triangle choke. Following his win, Simon called out Sean O’Malley.
Bill Algeo spoiled the return of Herbert Burns on the prelims, putting a beating on him until the fight went to a second-round stoppage. Burns was making his first appearance in over two years. Algeo requested a fight against featherweight Chase Hooper afterward.
Dustin Jacoby kept his strong run alive on Saturday afternoon, scoring a first-round stoppage against Jung Da-un. Jacoby dropped Jung early with a right cross, earning him a walk-off finish. Jacoby has now earned six wins and one draw since re-joining the UFC roster in 2020.
Dustin Stoltzfus earned his first win through four pro appearances, using ground and pound to earn a unanimous decision over Dwight Grant.
Emily Ducote showcased a solid game plan in her short-notice UFC debut, chopping down the leg of Jessica Penne and landing punches en route to a unanimous decision victory.
Main Card (2:00PM EDT) (ABC / TSN 2)
Bout 12: Yair Rodriguez def. Brian Ortega via TKO, Injury (RD 1, 4:11)
Bout 11: Amanda Lemos def. Michelle Waterson via Submission, Guillotine Choke (RD 2, 1:48)
Bout 10: Li Jingliang def. Muslim Salikhov via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 4:38)
Bout 9: Matt Schnell def. Sumudaerji via Submission, Triangle Choke (RD 2, 4:24)
Bout 8: Shane Burgos def. Charles Jourdain via Decision, Majority
Bout 7: Lauren Murphy def. Miesha Tate via Decision Unanimous
Preliminary Card (11:00AM EDT) (ESPN / UFC Fight Pass Canada)
Bout 6: Punahele Soriano def. Dalcha Lungiambula via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 0:28)
Bout 5: Ricky Simon def. Jack Shore via Submission, Arm Triangle Choke (RD 2, 3:28)
Bout 4: Bill Algeo def. Herbert Burns via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 1:50)
Bout 3: Dustin Jacoby def. Jung Da-un via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 3:13)
Bout 2: Dustin Stoltzfus def. Dwight Grant via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 1: Emily Ducote def. Jessica Penne via Decision, Unanimous