UFC Mexico City: Yair Rodriguez vs. Brian Ortega Prediction, Pick and Odds

With a potential championship fight on the line, Yair Rodriguez will stake his claim as the next featherweight title challenger

Jul 16, 2022; Elmont, New York, USA; Brian Ortega (red gloves) fights Yair Rodriguez (blue gloves)
Jul 16, 2022; Elmont, New York, USA; Brian Ortega (red gloves) fights Yair Rodriguez (blue gloves) / Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

After over 19 months from their first meeting, top five featherweights Yair Rodriguez and Brian Ortega will face each other once more with similar stakes on the line.

Since their initial matchup as the main event of UFC Long Island in July 2022, Rodriguez has gone 1-1 in two title fights, dominating Josh Emmett to win the interim belt before losing by TKO to Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 290. Ortega has not competed since dislocating his shoulder in their last meeting, resulting in a TKO victory for Rodriguez.

Since taking his first professional loss to Max Holloway at UFC 231, Ortega will fight for just the fourth time in six years.

Though Ortega entered the first meeting as the favorite, the odds have essentially swapped with Rodriguez now at -160 in his home country.

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Yair Rodriguez vs. Brian Ortega Odds, Round and Total

Yair Rodriguez vs. Brian Ortega Prediction and Pick

Against all odds, Ortega has somehow managed to stay in the top five of the featherweight division in the UFC despite being just 1-3 since 2018. While I do not like his odds against Rodriguez in this matchup, this fight should not follow the same pattern as their first meeting as the best value in the matchup will be on the round total.

One factor in the fight that many may not realize is this will be another five-round co-main event despite the total being placed at just 2.5 rounds. In both fighters' respective careers, the over has been significantly favorable.

In 19 fights for Ortega, 10 have gone over 2.5 rounds but more importantly, "T-City" has only been finished twice in his career. Of those two "finishes," one was the injury in the last fight with Rodriguez while the other was a doctor stoppage loss to Max Holloway. As he proved against Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 266, Ortega is incredibly durable and nearly impossible to finish.

Rodriguez has gone under the round total more often with just nine of his 24 professional fights going over 2.5 rounds. However, Rodriguez has only been finished three times himself including a doctor stoppage against Frankie Edgar in 2017.

Of Rodriguez's three stoppage losses, all have been by knockout with zero submission defeats in his career. Ortega, meanwhile, has won seven of his 15 victories by submission (46 percent) with just three knockouts on his record.

Though both fighters have an impressive history of finishes, both are incredibly durable and have proven to compete deep into championship rounds against elite competition in the UFC. The round total may have been set at a discount due to the first fight ending in round one with Ortega's dislocated shoulder.

Unless Ortega suffers another injury, this fight will last longer than 12.5 minutes. Take the over.

Prediction: Yair Rodriguez by decision

Best bet: Over 2.5 rounds (-140)

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.