Rodriguez was a step ahead of Perry from the outset as he bloodied and battered his foe for three rounds and, with the exception of a couple of non-impactful takedowns, cruised to a unanimous decision win by scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26.
Rodriguez expressed satisfaction after winning his fourth bout in five octagon appearances. He said the fight went precisely how he wanted it to.
“This is exactly what I expected. This is exactly what I wanted to do on this big stage,” Rodriguez said in his post-fight interview with Daniel Cormier. “It couldn’t have gone any better than this. … This is exactly how I planned it out.”
The bout opened up the UFC on ABC 2 main card at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. It aired on ABC following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+.
They exchanged to start the fight, and Rodriguez landed the first big blow with a head kick. He followed by snapping back Perry’s head with the jab. Perry struggled with the range early in the fight, and Rodriguez repeatedly backed him up with combinations, showing pinpoint accuracy. Perry secured a takedown with 90 seconds remaining after taking a lot of shots standing, and he managed to burn some time from on top to get himself back in the fight.
Rodriguez (14-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) went back to working around his sharp jab, supporting it with leg and body kicks, as well as his straight punches. Perry (14-8 MMA, 7-8 UFC) landed a takedown with just over three minutes remaining, but he couldn’t keep Rodriguez down and was forced back into losing striking exchanges. Perry was too slow and had no answer for Rodriguez’s game.
With Perry’s face and nose looking mangled headed into the final round, Perry tried to make something happen by pressing forward and working toward another takedown. Rodriguez had his approach well scouted by that point, though, and stopped the shots that came his way. That allowed Rodriguez to keep landing his punches and kicks, closing the fight out strong.
Up-to-the-minute UFC on ABC 2 results include:
Daniel Rodriguez def. Mike Perry via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Joe Solecki def. Jim Miller via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Mateusz Gamrot def. Scott Holtzman via knockout (punches) – Round 2, 1:22
John Makdessi def. Ignacio Bahamondes via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Jarjis Danho def. Yorgan De Castro via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 3:02
Jack Shore def. Hunter Azure via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
Luis Saldana def. Jordan Griffin via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Da Un Jung def. William Knight via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
Impa Kasanganay def. Sasha Palatnikov via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 0:26