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UFC 284 is happening this Saturday and Yair Rodriguez takes on Josh Emmett. Who will become the interim featherweight champion? Ben Rajavuori answers.
ANALYSIS

Yair Rodriguez vs. Josh Emmett Prediction: Who Will Become the Interim Featherweight Champion at UFC 284?

With the current featherweight champ, Alexander Volkanovski, fighting for the lightweight belt at UFC 284, there is a vacancy for the interim featherweight champ. That spot will be held for the winner of the co-main event between No. 2 Yair Rodriguez and No. 5 Josh Emmett. The winner will fight possible double champ Volkanovski the next time he is ready, and this fight is massive for the featherweight division. The books have the Mexican favored at the time of writing, as Rodriguez is a -170 favorite, with the comeback on Emmett priced at +145. Who will Volkanovski's next challenge be?

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Rodriguez vs. Emmett Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

  • Date: February 11, 2023
  • Time: 10:00 PM EDT
  • Where: RAC Arena (AUS), Perth, Australia
  • Where to Watch: PPV

Click here for Rodriguez vs. Emmett odds

Yair Rodriguez vs. Josh Emmett Prediction

Yair Rodriguez, also known as "El Pantera," has established himself as one of the most exciting and dynamic fighters in the division. With a record of 15-3, Rodriguez is a striking wizard who possesses lightning-fast hands and deadly kicks. His knockout of Chan Sung Jung in 2018 is still considered one of the greatest finishes in UFC history, as it came in the final few seconds of the fight and put Jung out cold. Most recently, Rodriguez is coming off a "win" against Brian Ortega, who is ranked third in the division. I put win in quotations because Ortega had his shoulder popped out of place and could not continue fighting late in the first round, declaring Rodriguez the winner by TKO, even though it was a fluke injury. Ortega was actually in a dominant top position when it happened.

Regardless, Rodriguez still looked really good in the first round, and he landed some hard shots with both his hands and feet on Ortega's chin. Since coming back from his injury layoff in 2021, Rodriguez has looked elite over his last two fights, even though one was a loss to Holloway. His kicking game is one of the best in the UFC, and he is one of the most creative strikers in the division.

Rodriguez's opponent, Josh Emmett, is no slouch either. With a record of 18-2, Emmett is a well-rounded fighter who has proven himself as a top-tier contender in the featherweight division. He possesses a powerful striking game, with six of his wins coming by way of knockout. Although Emmett finds himself in many decision-deciding fights, he hits like a truck, and he has massive power for a featherweight when he lands. Emmett is on a five-fight win streak, and he has taken down big names as of late, like Shane Burgos, Dan Ige, and Calvin Kattar. At 37 years old, this may be Emmett's last push at the top if he were to lose. It's hard to tell exactly when a fighter will be done, but a loss here would be a setback for Emmett late in his career. This seems like his best and only shot at the title.

This fight has the potential to be a classic striker vs striker match-up, with both fighters possessing the ability to end the fight with one clean shot. However, Rodriguez is considered to have the edge in the striking department, with his elusive movement and unorthodox striking techniques making him a difficult target to hit. On the other hand, Emmett's grappling skills cannot be underestimated, as he has shown the ability to take his opponents down and control them on the ground.

Despite his striking prowess, Rodriguez will need to be cautious of Emmett's grappling skills. Rodriguez has shown some weaknesses in his ground game in the past, and Emmett will be looking to exploit those weaknesses and take the fight to the ground. In this scenario, Rodriguez will need to rely on his grappling defense and scrambles to get back to his feet and return to his striking game.

The winner of this fight is difficult to predict. Rodriguez can maintain his distance and utilize his striking skills to secure a victory. On the other hand, Emmett can take the fight to the ground and use his grappling skills to control Rodriguez and maybe even stop it. Whichever way the fight goes, one thing is for sure - this bout between Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett is going to be a banger.

Both men have serious power, and I'm not sure we see the scorecards in this one. It is a five-round fight, and we know Rodriguez is capable of finding a knockout in literally the final few seconds. Emmett is not an easy guy to put away, but Rodriguez' striking game has looked the best as it ever has, and one clean kick can put anyone down. This fight is expected to go the distance, but I think we see a stoppage for the interim featherweight championship.

Yair Rodriguez vs. Josh Emmett Pick

Pick: Rodriguez/Emmett Ends Inside the Distance @ (+114) Bet $100 to collect $214 Get the best odds at FanDuel, click here to bet

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Article Author

NCAABBoxing/MMAMLBNHL

Ben Rajavuori is a handicapper out of Minneapolis, MN. He has been creating sports content for almost four years now and is an expert in all things NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC, and NCAAB. Ben thrives on diving deep into statistics to find the best angle on every bet. You can follow him on Twitter @WeBeatTheSpread.

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