The UFC is going to Long Island this weekend for UFC on ABC 3 at the UBS Arena in Belmont Park, New York. Two of the most exciting fighters in the Featherweight division clash as Brian Ortega and Yair Rodriguez headline the fantastic main card. The card has everything from prospects on the rise to fights that have title contention implications for the future. Let's take a look at the fights featured on Verdict.
The fans are in for a treat in the main event as both men bring an exciting fighting style. Brian Ortega looks to get back on track against top contender Yair Rodriguez, while Rodriguez looks to earn a title shot with a win. The fight is scheduled for five rounds but the way their styles match up, both men might not need all five to determine a winner. Ortega and Rodriguez are known for their exciting finishes and with one this weekend, it’ll put them right in line for the next title shot with Josh Emmett. Rodriguez brings a fan-friendly style, as he likes to keep a high pace in the fight. He is an aggressive fighter with a background in taekwondo. He’s always on the attack and moving forward, making him such an entertaining fighter. Rodriguez has a professional record of 13-3 (1 NC) and is coming off a war against Max Holloway which he lost via unanimous decision. It was a closely contested fight and he had a great performance, but it was not enough to get it done. However, he has showcased his relentless striking against some of the best in the division. He has beaten the likes of Dan Hooker, BJ Penn, Chan Sung Jung, Jeremy Stephens, and more. Rodriguez will try to add another valuable name to that list, but it will be no easy task.
Brian Ortega is one of the most dangerous fighters in the Featherweight division and he showcased that when he nearly submitted Alexander Volkanovski in his most recent fight at UFC 266. Ortega nearly became the new champion when he had Volkanovski deep in a guillotine in the third round. Not only did Volkanovski escape that submission, but he would escape Ortega’s signature move when he got out of a triangle choke near the end of the round. In the end, Ortega would lose via unanimous decision and is looking to build his way back to a rematch against the champ with a win against Rodriguez.
Ortega is a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belt and has some of the best submissions in the UFC. Something to look out for in this fight is the ground game of Ortega and the unpredictability of Rodriguez and his striking. Rodriguez has been taken down six times in his last two fights which could be detrimental when fighting someone like Ortega that has a ferocious ground game. On the flip side, Rodriguez’s striking can give his opponents problems. He has some dangerous elbow attacks as he had the buzzer-beating 12-6 elbow knockout against “The Korean Zombie” in November of 2018. The main event winner will be one step closer to the title and it'll be an entertaining one to watch.
The Verdict Community favors Brian Ortega in this matchup but the most common pick in the world is Yair Rodriguez by decision.
In the co-main event, Michelle Waterson returns to the octagon to face Amanda Lemos as both women look to get back into the win column. The last time we saw Waterson in the octagon was in May of 2021 when she lost to Marina Rodriguez via unanimous decision. Waterson is known for her kicks and karate background. She utilizes all types of leg kicks to confuse her opponents as Waterson is a very diverse striker. She’s looking to make one more run at the title as she is ranked tenth in the Strawweight division. With a professional record of 18-9, a win this weekend can have Waterson fighting someone near the top five of the division. On the flip side, Lemos is 11-2-1 and is coming off a loss against Jessica Andrade via submission. Lemos has looked strong prior to her most recent fight and she looks to get back to fighting that way. Before losing to Andrade, Lemos was on a five-fight winning streak while finishing three fights in the first round. She’s ranked one spot behind Waterson so with a win at Long Island, Lemos can enter the top ten in the Strawweight division.
This is not a close matchup in the eyes of the Community, with the majority predicting a decision win for Amanda Lemos.
Li Jingliang returns to the octagon this weekend as he looks to avenge his loss against Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 267 when he takes on Muslim Salikhov. Jingliang comes into this fight with a professional record of 18-7 with a finish rate of 72%. He is always a tough out for his opponent as he has only been finished twice in his career, one of them being Chimaev. Jingliang looks to get back into his winning ways as he sits as the 14th-ranked contender in the Welterweight division. For Salikhov, this will be his first true test in the UFC. He’s 18-2 and is on a five-fight winning streak. This will be the first time Salikhov has fought someone ranked in the top 15 in the division and he has shown he is ready for it. Out of his 18 wins, 12 of them are by knockout while having a finish rate of 78%. This fight has the potential to receive the Fight of the Night bonus as both men are aggressive in their approach and look for the finish.
Jingliang is a narrow favorite, but the world's most common pick is Salikhov by decision.
An interesting matchup takes place in the Flyweight division as Matt Schnell goes against Sumudaerji. Schnell is making a quick turnaround as he just fought at UFC 274 when he lost to Brandon Royval via submission. Schnell has a very impressive resume that includes eight out of his 15 wins by submission. It’s rare to see Flyweight fighters have a lot of finishes but Schnell is unique in terms of finishing fights. He’s only seen the judges’ scorecards five times in his whole career and will try to add to that submission win total when taking on an opponent that is susceptible to getting submitted. Sumudaerji is coming into this bout with a professional record of 16-4 with an 87% finish rate. All four of those losses have been by submission and that is what fans should be looking out for when watching this fight. Sumudaerji has 13 wins by knockout as he possesses unique power in this division. Fans are in for a good one with this Flyweight bout.
Schell is the favorite here with the most common pick in the world being a decision win for him.
In a fight that many fight fans are looking out for, Shane Burgos and Charles Jourdain will face off in what has the potential to be a Fight of the Year candidate. The matchmakers did a fantastic job with this fight as this is a perfect fight stylistically for both men. Burgos and Jourdain like to keep the fight on the feet and they both come with an aggressive style of striking. Burgos has a boxing pedigree that is ferocious when he fights but he can get it done on the ground if needed. He has ten finishes in his career, with five wins by knockout and 5 by submission. The same can be said about Jourdain as well. Jourdain has eight wins by knockout and four by submission. With a finish rate of 92%, Jourdain is a striker at heart and will try to add to that finish total this weekend. This will be the first time Jourdain fights a ranked opponent as Burgos holds that 14th spot in the Featherweight division. Both men are coming off wins in their last fight and will try to carry the momentum into this one.
Burgos is a small favorite and the most predicted outcome will be a decision win for him.
Lauren Murphy and Miesha Tate will finally fight this weekend and it is scheduled to be in the Flyweight division. They were supposed to fight last week at UFC 276, but Murphy had to pull out of the fight due to COVID-19. They now meet in New York and Tate will make her Flyweight debut. After fighting in Bantamweight all of her career, she can be one of the options to challenge Valentina Shevchenko for the belt if she can beat Murphy. The former Bantamweight champion has an impressive resume and has a professional record of 19-8. She’s coming off a decision loss against Ketlen Vieira in November of 2021. Murphy is in a similar situation as she is also coming off a loss and it’s against the Flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko. Murphy is one of the more durable fighters in her division, having only been finished once and that was against Shevchenko. Tate will have her hands full with this one but if she can defeat Murphy this weekend who just challenged for the title, Tate could be next in line for the champ.
Tate is the favorite in her Flyweight debut and a decision win for her is the world's most common pick.
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