Headlining the event, featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski is back in the 145-pound division to face interim champion Yair Rodriguez in a contest that aims to unify the belts. A victory would solidify Volkanovski’s status as one of the greatest fighters ever, whereas a defeat would signify Rodriguez’s much-awaited ascent. Who will emerge victorious and why? Let’s explore.
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Road to Victory for Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 290
Falling just short of securing a second title, Volkanovski is back in his original division to confront perhaps his fiercest adversary yet. To win, Volkanovski will need to leverage his wide array of abilities.
Throughout his recent performances, Volkanovski’s striking prowess has been his primary weapon. He may not be a knockout specialist, but he possesses quick hands, adept footwork, and impeccable timing. These, in combination with his strong defensive aptitude and adaptability, have enabled him to defeat opponents like Max Holloway and Chan Sung Jung. However, against Rodriguez, these skills will be crucial in setting up takedowns.
Rodriguez is a potent striker. Although he has had four career submission victories, including an armbar against Josh Emmett in his latest match, it is unlikely that Rodriguez will pose a significant offensive threat from his back. Instead, the champion can simply maintain a dominant position on top and gradually wear down the young sensation. The more he can do this, the less potent Rodriguez becomes, thus making subsequent takedowns easier.
If this were a pure kickboxing match, Rodriguez would have the upper hand. He’s a more efficient finisher and a more dynamic striker. However, Volkanovski would still be in contention, and that’s a crucial factor here. Volkanovski must be prepared to challenge Rodriguez at range, utilizing his pressure-oriented footwork to corner the interim champion, land his combination strikes, and then transition into takedowns. From there, it’s a replay of the Jose Aldo match for Volkanovski, relentlessly wearing down Rodriguez until he has nothing more to give.
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Winning Strategies for Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290
Rodriguez is an electrifying, fluid striker with a remarkable capacity for knockouts from any direction — and at the most unexpected moments. His primary key to defeating Volkanovski lies in maintaining the threat of a sudden, brutal finish. Volkanovski understands that any momentary lapse in concentration could have devastating consequences, and Rodriguez must emphasize this fact from the outset, showcasing a range of attacks to keep Volkanovski guessing. Fear breeds hesitation, and those who hesitate are defeated.
Rodriguez needs to engage in a committed offensive, delivering multiple attacks. Single-shot attacks won’t suffice against Volkanovski, a superb defensive fighter. Therefore, Rodriguez should launch combinations, forcing Volkanovski to defend against the first, second, and third waves of offense.
However, the key for Rodriguez’s victory will likely lie in his kicking game. His ability to consistently land kicks on the body and counter when Volkanovski steps in could potentially replicate the success Makhachev had.
Importantly, Rodriguez must avoid wrestling with Volkanovski. If Rodriguez gets taken down, he should utilize his powerful elbows to retaliate and then return to his feet.
Volkanovski will be 35 in three months. Some may dismiss this as irrelevant, but I believe it could be crucial. As it stands, Volkanovski is the second-oldest champion in UFC history below welterweight. With the only older champion, Deiveson Figueiredo, suffering a loss in his recent match with Brandon Moreno at 35, this age factor may come into play.
The highest echelons of lighter weight divisions are extremely challenging to maintain. Volkanovski’s achievements already make him an anomaly, and he is on the verge of exiting his prime. Usually, this transition is followed by a swift decline in these weight divisions.
Volkanovski’s rich array of skills and sharp fight IQ make him a formidable opponent. He is akin to The House in Las Vegas – the odds always favor him in the long run. So, how does one overcome such odds? By betting big on that one perfect hand, as Danny Ocean would say. And Yair Rodriguez is one of the few fighters in the featherweight division with the audacity to make such a gamble. I believe Rodriguez, against a slightly slowed version of Volkanovski, could triumph this Saturday.
Prediction: Yair Rodriguez defeats Alexander Volkanovski by KO (head kick) at 3:16 of round 3.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about UFC 290 featherweight title fight
Who are the fighters competing for the featherweight title at UFC 290?
The fighters competing for the featherweight title at UFC 290 are Alexander Volkanovski and Yair Rodriguez.
What is the key strategy for Alexander Volkanovski to win the match?
Alexander Volkanovski needs to leverage his quick hands, adept footwork, and impeccable timing to set up takedowns against Yair Rodriguez. He should aim to maintain a dominant position on top and gradually wear down Rodriguez.
What is Yair Rodriguez’s primary strategy for winning the match?
Yair Rodriguez needs to maintain the threat of a sudden, brutal finish at any moment, launching combination attacks against Volkanovski. His victory could likely lie in his kicking game, consistently landing kicks on the body and counter when Volkanovski steps in.
What are some potential factors that might influence the outcome of the match?
Factors such as the age of the fighters, particularly Volkanovski who will be turning 35 in three months, and their past performance in similar matches could influence the outcome of the match.
What is the predicted outcome of the match?
The predicted outcome of the match is that Yair Rodriguez will defeat Alexander Volkanovski by KO (head kick) at 3:16 of round 3.