UFC on ABC 3 has an official main event, as T-city will make his return to the octagon when he faces off against Pantera on July 16th in New York. This matches up the #2 and #3 featherweights in the UFC in a fight that will carry potential title implications as both fighters always seem to be on the cusp of fighting for a belt.
This will mark the return of Brian Ortega since his war with Alexander Volkanovski in September 2021. The BJJ black belt was one of the head coaches on the Ultimate Fighter and has always shown that he is one of the most dangerous fighters on earth even against the champion.
In a fight that many consider one of the greatest title fights in company history, Ortega had several moments where he almost took the crown. He has shown tremendous improvement in his striking but his ground game continues to be his bread and butter. Stylistically Yair will be difficult considering his awkward style, but if Ortega can recreate what Frankie Edgar did to a young Pantera I believe he will make quick work of him that night.
As for Yair, this is his first fight since November of last year when he lost to Max Holloway in a fight that won fight of the night. The Mexican fighter is looking to get back into the win column after beating Jeremey Stephens and the Korean Zombie in 2018-19.
Rodriguez has long been a potential contender for many years but has lost pivotal fights that would get him to that level. He has unfortunately also suffered several injuries as well as a contract dispute that saw him miss out on a mega-fight vs Zabit Magomedshapirov. If he can stay focused and cancel the background noise that has distracted him in the past, we could see a potential FOTY candidate.
Both fighters present styles that are a yin and yang in some ways, but a the end of the day they are both dogs that have one objective in mind and that is to fight while giving it 110%. A win for Brian would put him in a penitential title eliminator or even a surprise title shot depending on how Volk vs Max 3 plays out. As for Yair, it would show the UFC that he is still the dangerous contender that he showed when he beat BJ Penn, Dan Hooker, Korean Zombie and Lil Heathen.