UFC Fight Night 197 results: Max Holloway outpaces Yair Rodriguez in exceptional five-round battle

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Max Holloway once again proved his ability to excel in high-volume contests.

The UFC Fight Night 197 bout between Holloway (23-6 MMA, 19-6 UFC) and Yair Rodriguez delivered an incredible fight over five intense rounds. On paper, this fight was a clash of high volume and high-risk styles, as Holloway usually puts a pace on his opponents they can’t keep up with while Rodriguez (13-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) is a spectacular highlight waiting to happen.

After 25 minutes of intense action, Holloway would walk away with his hand raised, earning a unanimous decision victory in a classic battle.

The featherweight bout was the UFC Fight Night 197 main event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. It streamed on ESPN+.

Holloway started in his usual method of slowly stalking his opponent while looking for openings. Rodriguez was quick to offer powerful kicks from a variety of angles in response. Heated exchanges in the center of the cage soon followed, with both fighters landing clean.

Rodriguez put together vicious combinations and sharp leg kicks while Holloway fired back with punches of his own as he continued to press forward, despite being on the receiving end of some hard strikes.

The furious exchanges continued early in the second round with both fighters landing often. Holloway continued to push the pace of the fight as Rodriguez looked to counter. Midway through the round, Rodriguez began letting the kicks fly as he tried to change the course of the frame. Holloway continued to press forward with slick punches, but ate a sneaky upward elbow from his opponent along the fence.

The pressure of Holloway continued in the third, finding home for a beautiful flying knee to the body early in the round. Moments later, Rodriguez tripped after a kick attempt which led to Holloway pouncing on an arm-triangle submission attempt.

The damage on Rodriguez’s face was apparent in the fourth round with a swelling bruise under the right eye and a cut under his left. Holloway jumped on a standing guillotine attempt early in the round which led to the former champ ending up on top of Rodriguez on the ground. Holloway did his best to maintain top position while looking for strikes, but Rodriguez was able to get the fight standing again.

The fighters embraced at the start of the final round and the high-pace striking soon followed. Rodriguez attempted some flashy techniques, but Holloway was able to slide out of the way to avoid damage.

Holloway’s forward pressure dictated a majority of the round, leaving one final impression on the judges in this classic battle. The official scores would read 49-46, 48-47, and 48-47 in favor of Holloway.

Holloway makes it two straight wins on the heels of his incredible record-breaking performance against Calvin Kattar at UFC on ABC 1. The former featherweight champ has a world of options for his next outing and is always in the title picture. Saturday’s main event victory over Rodriguez may have earned a third bout against the current champion Alexander Volkanovski.

Rodriguez, who returned after over two years away from the cage, came in as a massive underdog against the former champ, but looked incredible despite the loss. With the threat of a highlight-reel moment in his back pocket, Rodriguez is always capable of pulling off something spectacular, like his last-second upward elbow knockout of Chan Sung Jung. However, no such moment would occur this time.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 197 results include:

  • Max Holloway def. Yair Rodriguez via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47)

  • Marcos Rogerio de Lima def. Ben Rothwell via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:32

  • Felicia Spencer def. Leah Letson via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 4:25

  • Khaos Williams def. Miguel Baeza via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 1:02

  • Song Yadong def. Julio Arce via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 1:35

  • Joel Alvarez def. Thiago Moises via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 3:01

  • Andrea Lee def. Cynthia Calvillo via TKO (corner stoppage) – Round 2, 5:00

  • Sean Woodson def. Collin Anglin via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:30

  • Cortney Casey def. Liana Jojua via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

  • Rafael Alves def. Marc Diakiese via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 1:48

  • Da Un Jung def. Kennedy Nzechukwu via knockout (elbows) – Round 1, 3:04