The featherweight division is set for an explosive showdown as Alexander Volkanovski defends his belt against interim champion Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290. Volkanovski, known as “The Great,” has been a dominant force at featherweight, solidifying his position as the division’s most accomplished fighter, second only to heavyweight champion Jon Jones in the pound-for-pound rankings. With an impressive run over the past seven years, Volkanovski has shown his prowess in wrestling and control, making him a formidable opponent for anyone who steps into the octagon with him.
Volkanovski’s wrestling skills have been his biggest asset, often overpowering his opponents and dictating the pace of the fight. Although he has faced setbacks against elite wrestlers like Chad Mendes and Islam Makhachev, his overall control and ability to impose his game plan make him a force to be reckoned with. This advantage will likely come into play against Yair Rodriguez, as the interim champion has struggled with takedowns in his recent fights. While Rodriguez is known for his striking, Volkanovski’s fundamentals and wrestling control may prove to be the deciding factor in this highly anticipated matchup. Rodriguez will be as prepared as ever; he is training at 10,000 feet elevation on top of Aztec temples and his stamina and motor are strong. Volkanovski needs to take Rodriguez as serious as any opponent he has faced because this will be the best version we have seen of Rodriguez.
In addition to the highly anticipated featherweight title fight, UFC 290 also features other intriguing matchups. Flyweight champion Brandon Moreno will defend his title against Alexandre Pantoja. Moreno, at only 29 years old, already has an impressive decade-long MMA experience under his belt. Moreno has shown significant improvement in his boxing skills and has displayed championship-level grit in his recent victories over Deiveson Figueiredo and Kai Kara-France. However, Pantoja, who defeated Moreno in their rematch back in 2018, will be looking to showcase his aggressive style and grappling advantage.
In the middleweight division, Robert Whittaker, the No. two ranked fighter, faces off against the rising star Dricus Du Plessis, ranked No. five. Whittaker, known as the best middleweight not named Israel Adesanya, has won 13 of his past 15 fights, with his only losses coming against the current champion. Du Plessis, on a seven-fight win streak, has shown knockout power and submission skills, making him a dangerous opponent for Whittaker. Although the statistics may favor Du Plessis, Whittaker’s experience and status as the cream of the crop at middleweight make him a formidable adversary. The winner of this fight will be in line to fight Israel Adesanya for the middleweight title.
UFC 290 promises to be an action-packed event, with the featherweight title fight between Volkanovski and Rodriguez taking center stage. Will Volkanovski’s wrestling control prove too much for Rodriguez, or will the Mexican striker’s flashy techniques lead him to victory? Can Whittaker overcome DuPlessis and face off against Izzy for a third time? Will Moreno defeat Pantoja and get his revenge for their 2018 loss? What is for sure is that UFC 290 will be an action packed fight night that will be a real treat for fight fans.
Volkanovski over Rodriguez
Moreno over Pantoja
Whittaker over Du Plessis
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