The UFC universe stands on the brink of witnessing an exceptional event. Alexander Volkanovski, the reigning featherweight champion, fondly nicknamed "The Great," is preparing to defend his title once again at UFC 290 next Saturday in Las Vegas.
The last time Volkanovski stepped into the octagon was in Australia in February of this year. The featherweight champion gave Islam Makhachev, the then champion, a tough fight, endeavoring to conquer in two divisions. However, the Dagestani emerged victorious with a unanimous decision, proving his worth.
Adding to the unfolding drama, the interim featherweight championship was awarded on the same night. Yair Rodriguez, one of the most prominent Mexican fighters, triumphed over Josh Emmett with a second-round triangle choke.
Now, Rodriguez gets the chance of a lifetime to consolidate the belt against Volkanovski.
Return of Henry Cejudo and His Expectations for Rodriguez
In other developments since that electrifying night, former flyweight and bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo has made a return to the octagon.
Despite falling by split decision against bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling, Cejudo retains high hopes and has thrown his support behind Rodriguez to snatch the belt from the Australian. Cejudo expressed his perspective on his YouTube channel, saying, "I know the majority of you guys are gonna go with Alexander Volkanovski, I really do.
But I think if Yair can really hone in on a lot of stuff I was talking about, he’s athletically gifted, if he’s able to do it right in that fight, I do believe that Yair Rodriguez is a much different fight than Islam Makhachev and maybe for that reason, I think it’s a lot tougher of a fight”.
Cejudo, known for his strategic insights, foresees the upcoming fight's stylistic difference, knowing that Rodriguez's varied offensive strategy will pose a different challenge for Volkanovski.
The Game of Styles: Makhachev versus Rodriguez
The comparison between Makhachev and Rodriguez is akin to comparing night and day.
While Volkanovski acknowledges the difference in offensive versatility that Rodriguez will bring to the table, Makhachev's various factors still make him one of the toughest opponents for any fighter in the division. In Cejudo's words, "The biggest question that I have for a guy like Yair Rodriguez ...
Yair, if he can take some of that power, you don’t have to throw so much. I think I can easily see you outpoint this dude. You don’t gotta knock him out, you just gotta outpoint him”.
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