Jon Jones hogged all the headlines at UFC 197 after his return to the octagon ended in victory over Ovince Saint Preux, but it was Yair Rodriguez’s performance that really caught the eye.
The up-and-coming star sent out a message to his fellow featherweight fighters with a masterful performance against Andre Fili, knocking his opponent out in the second round with a brutal jumping switch kick.
Rodriguez sent Fili to the canvas after catching him in the face with his shin. Referee Dan Miragliotta had no choice but to call the fight to a halt at the 2:15 mark in the second round.
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Rodriguez had already taken Fili down twice before the knockout happened and the Mexican made his dominance pay in spectacular fashion, faking to strike his opponent with his right leg before landing with his left.
The 23-year-old, who won ‘The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America”, remains unbeaten in the UFC with a 4-0 record and his performance will have caught the attention of his featherweight rivals. Conor McGregor is, of course, king of the division.
Rodriguez's stunning knockout
“This win is all about hard work, decision and sacrifice,” Rodriguez said afterwards. “I train hard every day and I have a great team behind me.”
“I knew Andre was aggressive and I was ready for him. I knew that when he was moving back, after I closed his eye with a punch, that I had him in a bad position.”
The fights will continue to get tougher for Rodriguez but he’s excited at what’s next in what promises to be an exciting career.
“I will wait and see what Dana (White) and Sean Shelby have for me,” he added. “I’ll take on whatever is next.”
Meanwhile, the main event of UFC 197 saw Jon 'Bones' Jones defeat Ovince Saint Preux with a unanimous points decision.
Despite winning every round, Jones was certainly rusty. However, his win sets up a showdown with Daniel Cormier at UFC 200.