The UFC Long Island bout between Yair Rodriguez and Brian Ortega this past Saturday is a prime example of why promotions never want to rely on the main event to carry a card. The card was dynamite up until the feature bout, with a variety of exciting finishes and close contests.
However, the main event was an anticlimatic finish that saw Brian Ortega dislocate his shoulder against Yair Rodriguez without even finishing the first round. The initial reaction from fans was confusion, as it was hard to see exactly what happened in real time.
Rodriguez appeared to stop and release Ortega without the fight being called, and 'El Pantera' explained that this was due to him feeling a tap from Ortega. He stated:
"Take a close look at the video. He, like, tapped once. He tapped once, and then I realize, like, he released the pressure, so I let go. You can take a look at the video, and you'll see the quick tap... I let go, and I saw he was in pain, so I didn't want to keep on punching or anything."
In an exclusive video taken ringside from the event, it does appear that Ortega taps Rodriguez on the leg before falling backwards. However, whether it was a tap or a strike is debatable. It can be viewed here:
Regardless, it was not the fight that it had the potential to be, and hopefully it can be run back sometime in the future.
You can watch the Mexican-born featherweight's full interview on The MMA Hour below:
Yair Rodriguez willing to run it back, says Brian Ortega
In a post-fight interview with Megan Olivi, Brian Ortega revealed that Yair Rodriguez expressed a willingness to rematch him. This will depend on how the featherweight and lightweight title picture takes shape.
Rodriguez claimed he was promised a title-shot with a win over Ortega; however the current champion, Alexander Volkanovski, has expressed an interest in moving up to lightweight. This could leave Rodriguez available for a rematch, although the fight's prospects will also depend on the severity of Ortega's injury.
Ortega touched on both these points with Olivi, stating:
"[Yair Rodriguez] said he's willing to run it back. I definitely want to get it back. I'm gonna go MRI this [injury] as soon as I can. Do what I have to do. I pray to God I don't have to get surgery... The second I'm physically able to do it, I wanna get back in."
Hopefully, Ortega will be able to avoid a third shoulder surgery and return in time to share the octagon again with Rodriguez.