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Injury to opponent gives victory to featherweight Yair Rodriguez

Jul 16, 2022; Elmont, New York, USA; Brian Ortega (red gloves) fights Yair Rodriguez (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at UBS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday’s UFC Fight Night featherweight main event, which was steeped in title shot implications for both fighters, ended in anti-climactic fashion when an apparent injury to Brian Ortega in the first round gave the match to Yair Rodriguez on a TKO.

At the 4:11 mark of the round at UBS Arena in Elmont, N.Y., Ortega, who had sent Rodriguez to the ground, appeared to dislocate his right shoulder as he tried to evade Rodriguez’s armbar attempt. Ortega dealt with an injury to the same shoulder in 2016.

“I don’t know how this happened. I wanted to keep going, but I’ve had two shoulder surgeries already, and I might need a third one. Who knows?” said Ortega, who was began the day second in the featherweight division.

“I prefer to win and I guess I did, but that’s not the way I wanted. He dislocated his shoulder. I’m sorry it happened, but it’s part of the game,” Rodriguez, of Mexico, said. He was third among featherweights.

“I already told him we can run it back, but I would rather do it for a championship. But I’m OK with whatever the UFC decides,” Rodriguez said.

The TKO improved Rodriguez’s record to 14-3, while Ortega, of Los Angeles, fell to 15-3. Both began the day trying to set themselves up for a title shot against Australian Alexander Volkanovski (25-1).

In other matches on the main card, Amando Lemos of Brazil defeated Michelle Waterson by submission at 1:48 of the second round in a women’s strawweight co-main.

Lemos improved to 12-2-1, while Waterson, of New Mexico, fell to 18-10.

In a men’s welterweight bout, Li Jingliang (19-7) of China defeated Muslim Salikhov (18-3) of Russia on a TKO at the 4:38 mark of the second round.

–Field Level Media