Yair Rodriguez returned to action this past Saturday at UFC Vegas 42 and found himself in a ‘Fight of the Year’ contender with Max Holloway. His performance was true to form as ‘El Pantera’ utilized his heavy kicks to chop down the legs and work on the body of ‘Blessed’, but that strategy came at a price.
The fight went the distance and Holloway was declared the winner by unanimous decision. Though Rodriguez suffered a defeat, he was still praised for his efforts against the former featherweight champion, especially after fighting through a gruesome foot injury. As former UFC champion turned color commentator Michael Bisping entered the Octagon to conduct post-fight interviews with both fighters, Rodriguez was seen being held up by his coaches.
It would not be long before the reason why was revealed as Bisping immediately pointed out his right foot that was now swollen beyond belief. Bisping asked Rodriguez about it and he had a simple, yet adequate response.
“It is what it is when you’re a kicker, huh?,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez was transported to the hospital and went on Instagram Live to not only show off the foot, but also give a quick post-fight statement. The foot was ballooned and had blue and purple bruises all over. Rodriguez has yet to reveal the severity of the injury and whether it requires additional medical attention, such as surgery.
“Everybody thank you for being here for me and for my family,” said Rodriguez (H/T Damon Martin of MMA Fighting). “I’m kind of f—ing f—ed up right now, I don’t even know what I’m saying. I just want to say, it was an amazing fight. Just keep moving forward guys. Thank you.”
Rodriguez has dealt with a similar injury in a previous fight against Chan Sung Jung (better known as ‘The Korean Zombie’) at UFC Fight Night: The Korean Zombie vs. Rodriguez about three years ago. The 29-year-old delivered a spectacular knockout with an upward elbow in the final second of the fight, but his right foot looked worse for wear after kicking Jung with everything he had throughout five rounds. It was swollen, but not broken and Rodriguez told TMZ Sports that he had to use crutches to get around for a bit.
Rodriguez has now been in back-to-back ‘Fight of the Night’ awarded fights. Prior to the one against Holloway, he rematched Jeremy Stephens at UFC on ESPN: Reyes vs. Weidman and earned a unanimous decision. The No. 3 ranked featherweight contender is now 2-1-1 in his last four.