Max Holloway wins tough 5 round war vs Yair Rodriguez

Max Holloway met his match Yair Rodriguez in Las Vegas

Round 1 – Holloway takes the center and presses forward. Rodriguez with a few low kicks early. He flashes one out high, as well. Good pace to start. Rodriguez chopping the leg and going up high. He’s quick with punches, but Holloway leaps forward with a strong right hand. Holloway to the body, as well. Holloway fakes a takedown and then goes to the body. Holloway gaining some steam, but Rodriguez with a sneaky front kick up the middle. Holloway with the jab. Right hand lands. Rodriguez showing nice speed with his hands and lands a kick to the body. He slips but pops back up. Low kicks trade. Rodriguez really chopping the leg. Holloway fakes a takedown again. Rodriguez ripping kicks on the leg. Straight punches traded. Rodriguez drops his hands and baits Holloway in for more. Great scrap early. Rodriguez busted up under the left eye. Holloway spins with a kick but he’s in too close. Rodriguez wraps the body and drags the fight to the floor. He wants the back, but Holloway controlling the wrists and turns inside. Holloway slips free at the end. Rodriguez misses a leaping kick and hits the floor. Holloway follows and lands a few shots. Great round, and MMA Junkie leans toward Rodriguez, 10-9.

Round 2 – Rodriguez still chopping the leg. Holloway digs to the body. Rodriguez lands with the jab. He’s matching Holloway in the punching output. Right hand for Rodriguez. Holloway answers with a combination. Rodriguez to the leg again. Holloway with a right to the chin. Back and forth on the feet. Rodriguez misses a spinning kick. Holloway continues working the body. Holloway the one pressing the action now, and Rodriguez’s volume slowing a bit. Rodriguez continues working the leg. Rodriguez dropping the hands. Holloway starting to lead the way, but Rodriguez still ripping off powerful punches and chopping the legs. Slick head movement against the fence for Rodriguez, and he just misses a big elbow. Holloway going to the body. High kick blocked. Jab for Holloway. Right to the body.Rodriguez backs to the cage. Holloway with a knee to the body. He moves inside but backs away. Rodriguez misses a big elbow and slips to the floor. Holloway follows at the bell. MMA Junkie gives it to Holloway, 10-9.

Round 3 – Holloway walking forward to open. Rodriguez retreating and countering well. Holloway fakes a takedown and then fires a leaping knee. Rodriguez still ripping on the legs. Holloway looks takedown but gets pushed away. Rodriguez slips to the floor, and Holloway jumps on top. He lands a few big punches and then tries to set up the arm-triangle. Not there, but Holloway advances to mount. Rodriguez bucks and rolls and exposes his back. He turns to the side. Holloway trying to pull the arm away and land big strikes. Rodriguez moves to his knees. Holloway squeezes the hooks in and wants the neck. Rodriguez able to turn and create some space, and he battles back to the feet. Rodriguez starts rifling off punches. Holloway grabs his neck and falls but doesn’t have the choke, so he goes back to the feet. They’re teeing off on the feet. Both men scoring. Holloway takes a deep breath and then changes levels and drives through for a takedown. Holloway with a knee to the body. Rodriguez is on his back and against the cage. Holloway finishes on top, and MMA Junkie gives him the round, 10-9.

Round 4 – Holloway with a jab and then to the body. He thinks takedown, but it’s not there. Rodriguez scores with a right hand, and they trade in the pocket. Rodriguez still dangerous and landing clean punches, but Holloway just pushing through them to deliver his own. Brief clinch in the center. Bad damage around Rodriguez’s right eye, and it seems to be closing. They clinch, and Holloway grabs the neck. He tries the standing finish, and Rodriguez throws himself to the ground. Holloway tries to keep it, but Rodriguez gets the neck free. Holloway now on top though. Rodriguez turns to the leg, but Holloway spins through it and pulls free before settling back on top. Rodriguez spins to guard. Holloway stands and punches to the body as he slips past the guard. Rodriguez turns to his side as Holloway takes top position. Rodriguez to his knees and then his feet with less than two minutes. Big right scores for Holloway, and Rodriguez is hurt. Rodriguez tries for a big elbow. Holloway lands a right, and Rodriguez complains of an eye poke. Doctor comes in to take a look, but we fight on. Holloway still moving forward, and Rodriguez just misses on a flying knee. Still very dangerous. Elbows traded in tight. Flurry from Holloway. Rodriguez with a few big punches at the bell, but MMA Junkie gives it to Holloway, 10-9.

Round 5 – Show of respect to start the round before they start teeing off again. Rodriguez spinning kick to the body. He lands a big right hand. Rodriguez still has pop in his hands, and he kicks to the body, as well. Knee lands from Holloway. He’s punching to the body, as well. My goodness the output from both fighters. Holloway with another knee inside. Rodriguez covers well and battles off the cage. Holloway walking forward and firing punches to the head and body. Acrobatic kick from Rodriguez misses, but he lands a big punch as he jumps up, but Holloway falls on top, and now Rodriguez is on his back again. Perfect sweep from the back, and he takes the top spot. Holloway rolls for an arm, but it’s not there. Holloway scrambles and moves back to his feet. Elbow inside from Rodriguez. Holloway controlling from the outside. Holloway backss away, and he’s got some damage around the right eye. Rodriguez with an overhand right, but Holloway jabs back. Holloway complains of an eye poke, and we take a brief break before resuming with less than a minute. Holloway clinches, but Rodriguez with a nice elbow as they break. Rodriguez spinning kick stuffed, and Holloway clinches. They finish there. MMA Junkie gives the final round to Rodriguez, 10-9, but awards the fight to Holloway, 48-47.

Result: Max Holloway def. Yair Rodriguez via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47)
Recap: Max Holloway outpaces Yair Rodriguez in exceptional five-round battle
Photos: UFC Fight Night 197: Best photos from Las Vegas
Records: Max Holloway (23-6 MMA, 19-6 UFC), Yair Rodriguez (13-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC)
Division: Featherweight
Broadcast: ESPN+
Referee: Marc Goddard
Judging: Sal D’Amato (49-46, giving Holloway rounds 1, 2, 3 and 4), Derek Cleary (48-47, giving Holloway rounds 1, 3 and 4), Ron McCarthy (48-47, giving Holloways rounds 2, 3 and 4)