This prelim Welterweight bout between Daniel Rodriguez and Gabriel Green is special. It highlights the speed and tenacity that Dana White and the UFC operate at. Rodriguez was initially set to face Kevin Holland and within a matter of 24 hours. However, Holland was forced to pull out due to injury and was replaced almost immediately by Green.
Despite Rodriguez and Green being two relatively unknown fighters – particularly the latter. They both carry impressive records and have finished many of their former opponents violently. Rodriguez comes into the fight with six finishes in his last seven fights. Green, although making his UFC Debut, is riding an impressive six-fight win streak. So, do yourself a favor and don’t sleep on this one…
Rodriguez (11-1), is coming off a standing Guillotine finish against Tim Means who is far from a slouch. He’s also just prepared for Kevin Holland. A hot prospect that just ran through Anthony Hernandez just a couple of weeks ago. One would imagine a regular camp for a dangerous opponent should put him in good stead to face off against Green on Saturday night.
Rodriguez also trains out of 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu who boasts several current top-contenders in the UFC. Most notably, the top Lightweight contender, Tony Ferguson. Prior to that, he’s finished people with knees, punches, and vicious ground-and-pound while also racking up an impressive four submission victories. While Rodriguez is still making a name for himself, it’s clear that his goal is to finish the fight. He’s had great success in doing so thus far and will look to continue his hot streak against Green.
Green (9-2), is the younger of the two (27). It’s tough to know how well he can adjust to such a rapid turnaround. This is also particularly important as he’ll be jumping up to Welterweight. That said, Green has yet to go the distance in his young career and has impressed every time he’s made an appearance on the regional scene. With five submissions and four TKO’s to his name, it would certainly be in Rodriguez’s best interests to take Green seriously. Rodriguez cannot rest on his laurels, as Green poses a genuine threat, regardless of his lack of exposure.
As stated above, for multiple reasons, Rodriguez will likely come into this fight as a favorite. His exposure on the biggest stage in MMA coupled with the fact that he’s “fight ready” should play to his advantage. Additionally, Rodriguez is the far bigger and longer between the two. Rodriguez is 6”1 with a 74” reach which is already larger than the typical Welterweight. He’s also just trained for Holland, who’s 6”3 with a whopping 81” reach. One would think his standup game should be on point. And it’s safe to say that a lot of Rodriguez’s camp was focused around closing and maintaining distance. This should enable him to get where he needs to land his powerful hands that he’s had huge success with in the past.
For Green, most of his success comes from his phenomenal submission game. He’s crafty and has mastered the rear-naked choke. One thing is for certain; you do not want to give Green your back at any stage of the fight. Particularly early on where he’s finished four fallen foes to RNC in the first round. Green has also competed in Bellator and it’s worth noting that he fought on the Chael Sonnen and Tito Ortiz card. So, while he’s relatively inexperienced, he has seen the brighter lights of the MMA scene.
Most importantly, Green’s only two losses have come via first-round KO, both to punches. While Green has seemingly corrected that – winning six-straight since – he’s coming up against a heavy-handed striker in Rodriguez who has turned off several opponents’ lights over the last number of years. Green is also more familiar at Lightweight, so making his UFC debut against Rodriguez may be too much too soon.
Never rule someone out of a fight in MMA, but there is an imbalance of advantages in Rodriguez’s favor. The size advantage, the power he carries as well as being flight-ready indicates that this could be a tough fight for Green in his UFC debut. Nevertheless, this appears to be one of those prelim fights that everyone forgets about and it ends up as a FoTN performance. Don’t miss it!
Rodriguez via TKO (round 2)
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