The two were expecting a war of epic proportions, but the fight ended anticlimactically.
They exchanged jabs to start the fight, and Rodriguez connected with a right hand. Ortega pressed forward and Rodriguez met him with a combination. Ortega closed the distance and pressed Rodriguez against the cage. They worked for position while trading knees to the legs. They separated with 90 seconds reaming in the round and Rodriguez landed a clean right hand.
After absorbing a front kick, Ortega worked to get the fight to the ground. He got Rodriguez down, but Rodriguez immediately went for an arm bar. In the process of trying to secure the submission, Ortega’s shoulder dislocated. The fight was immediately stopped.
“It’s unfortunate that he dislocated his shoulder, or whatever. I already told him, we can run it back anytime. We can do this, but I’d rather do it for a championship instead of being in the division like this,” Rodriguez said following the fight. “It’s unfortunate. I don’t know what to say.”
Champion Alexander Volkanovski soundly defeated top contender and former champion Max Holloway in the UFC 276 main event on July 2. During the trilogy bout, Volkanovski broke his thumb and underwent corrective surgery.
“Of course I want to fight for the title. I have tons of respect – If I said different before that I didn’t have respect for the champ – He’s a great champ – It’s because I didn’t know better. Now I know he’s a f**king beast,” Rodriguez said.
“All my respect to you (Volkanovski). Hopefully you get better brother, so we can do this sh*t.”
Ortega spoke with commentator Daniel Cormier inside the Octagon moments after the loss due to injury. He revealed past shoulder problems and requested a rematch with Rodriguez once he heals.
“I don’t know how this happened. I wanted to keep going, but this thing (shoulder) came out. As you can tell, I’ve gotten two shoulder surgeries already and I might need a third one. Who knows,” Ortega said.
“Yair. I’m hoping that this is, congratulations. Congratulations. It is what it is,” Ortega said. “If you don’t get the title fight, or whatever happens, let’s do this right. This is not the right way. I’m so sorry. I want both of us to leave it all in here because I know that’s what we came to do.”