Rodriguez entered the bout ranked No. 3 in the 145-pound division and took the fight tot the former titleholder. In the opening round, Rodriguez battered Holloway’s lead leg with kicks. Holloway pressed forward and targeted the body of Rodriguez. At the end of the first frame, Rodriguez was up on the scorecards.
In the second round, Holloway found his range and timing. He began connecting with combination. Rodriguez continued to land leg kicks forcing Holloway to switch stances. Heading into the third round, it was an even fight.
In the third frame, Holloway put his ground game on display. He was able to take Rodriguez down and largely control him on the canvas. Holloway employed the same strategy in the fourth round.
In the final frame, Rodriguez came out with a sense of desperation knowing that he was down on the scorecards. He let his kicks go and was connecting with punches and elbows. In the final moment of the round, Holloway tied of Rodriguez and rode out the final seconds in the clinch.
After five rounds of fighting, the judges scored the fight for Holloway by unanimous decision.
“The UFC said I could sit on my ass or get people like Yair who no-one wants to fight because he’s a dangerous man. If you want to be the best you’ve got to beat the best, and the best is blessed,” Holloway said after the win.