The Octagon lands in Long Island, NY, as the UFC returns to ABC. The event that goes down on Saturday, July 16, features an incredible main event when Brian Ortega (15-2-1, 7-2-1 UFC) takes on Yair Rodriguez (13-3-1, 8-2-1 UFC). The UBS arena will also play host to a handful of fights with huge implications, as many up-and-coming athletes duke it out to possibly gain entry into the coveted rankings. Let’s have a look at what’s at stake for some of the athletes on this red hot card.
Brian Ortega vs Yair Rodriguez (145lbs)
Both Ortega and Rodriguez are coming off a loss here, as they get set to go face to face inside the Octagon. We last saw Ortega in action nearly a year ago, when he challenged, and nearly beat Alexander Volkanovski. Despite the loss, ‘T-City" still finds himself ranked number two in the tough featherweight division. Brian Ortega is an absolute stud, and his only losses come at the hands of two of the world"s best. Max Holloway and Volkanovski are the only ones to best the California native.
The stakes for Ortega are simple. Should he get past Rodriguez on July 17, ‘T-City" will set himself up to possibly get another shot at gold. With only Holloway, and Alexander Volkanovski ahead of him in the rankings, Brian Ortega is still in the mix for a rematch against either man.
Yair Rodriguez currently finds himself tied in the number three spot, as he sits right next to the surging Josh Emmett. In his last outing, ‘El Pantera" dropped a unanimous decision against the always tough Max Holloway. Eight months removed from the loss to ‘Blessed", Rodriguez finds himself in a tough position, with mega implications. Rodriguez needs a win against Ortega if he wants to keep his spot in the top five. With killers like Calvin Kattar, and Arnold Allen knocking on the door, there"s no room for error.
Li Jingliang vs Muslim Salikhov (170lbs)
Li Jingliang (18-7, 10-5 UFC) vs Muslim Salikhov (18-2, 5-1 UFC) features two welterweights hungry to make a statement. Li had a tough last outing, as he took on the feared Khamzat Chimaev. Despite the fact he was finished in the first round, ‘The Leech" still finds himself in the top fifteen. Jingliang is a proven finisher, and he"ll have to bring his best against a streaking Salikhov. Li Jingliang will need an impressive win here if he wishes to remain relevant at welterweight.
Muslim Salikhov has been more than stellar lately, as he"s strung together five wins in a row. Now is the time for the ‘King of Kung Fu". He"s 38 years old, and not currently ranked. If Salikhov wants to make any kind of a run, he has to start with a huge statement against Jingliang. A drawn-out decision victory may not be enough to rocket Muslim Salikhov into the rankings. A loss on July 17, could spell the end for the Russian veteran.
Shane Burgos vs Charles Jourdain (145lbs)
UFC on ABC 3 has another tantalizing featherweight clash, as Shane Burgos (14-3, 7-3 UFC) takes on Charles Jourdain (13-4-1, 4-3-1 UFC). Burgos got back to his winning ways in his last bout, where he bested Billy Quarantillo via unanimous decision. The victory at UFC 268 bumped the New Yorker into the rankings, where he currently sits in the fourteenth position. ‘Hurricane" Shane Burgos is as well-rounded as they come. With five KOs, five submissions, and four decision victories. This is a risky fight for Burgos, as a loss could drop him from the rankings, and spiral him into the never-ending unranked talent in the featherweight division.
Charles Jourdain has been a hot name as of late. He"s on a two-fight win streak, and rapidly gaining momentum. His current streak has not only inched him closer to the rankings but has also upped his stock with the fans. The French Canadian impressed, and entertained fans worldwide with his wins over Lando Vannata, and Andre Ewell. Burgos will be a tremendous test for ‘Air" Jourdain. Should he pass the test, Charles Jourdain will find himself as a ranked featherweight. If he finds a way to finish Burgos, he"ll be knocking on the door of the top ten.
UFC on ABC 3 is expected to have a special start time, as it will air in the afternoon for North American viewers. The main card is scheduled for a 2:00 pm(est) start, so get set for an afternoon full of potential violence. Card is subject to change.
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