Former featherweight champion and top contender in the division Max Holloway will headline the July 17 UFC fight card against Yair Rodriguez. ESPN first reported the news on Wednesday citing UFC president Dana White.
Holloway (23-5) snapped a two-fight losing streak in his last outing defeating Calvin Kattar by unanimous decision in January. “Blessed” captured the 145-pound interim title in December 2016. He unified the belts in his next bout by defeating Jose Aldo by TKO. Holloway defended the championship three times before losing to current titleholder Alexander Volkanovski in December 2019. Volkanovski defeated Holloway in a rematch by a razor-thin split decision.
Rodriguez (13-2, 1 NC) last fought in October 2019, defeating Jeremy Stephens by unanimous decision. He was scheduled to face Zabit Magomedsharipov in August 2020, but was forced to withdraw due to an ankle injury. In December 2020, USADA announced that Rodriguez had been suspended for six months for failing to notify USADA of his whereabouts and being unavailable for drug testing. The suspension was retroactively to the date of the infraction, Sept. 8. “El Pantera” has been cleared to compete since March 8. He’s ranked no. 3 in the featherweight division.
The July 17 event doesn’t have a location or venue yet, although it’s likely to take place at UFC Apex in Las Vegas.