UFC Phoenix: Yair Rodriguez Headlines Against BJ Penn

UFC Phoenix has named its main event, and it will be BJ Penn’s third comeback attempt against hot prospect Yair Rodriguez.

The UFC officially announced the bout on their website.

BJ Penn will not be eased back into his mixed martial arts career, and that’s been the case ever since he pulled out of his scheduled return bout against Dennis Siver earlier this year. After matchups with Cole Miller and top-ranked featherweight Ricardo Lamas slipped through, BJ Penn will now face Yair Rodriguez in Phoenix.

Yair Rodriguez is a spectacular prospect at featherweight with a wide array of kicks. His arsenal has been on full display since entering the Octagon, most notably a jumping switch kick knockout of Andre Fili. Most recently, “El Pantera” headlined an August fight night card against Alex Caceres and won a five round decision.

The victory was his fifth at the highest level after joining the promotion by winning The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America. The Mexican featherweight is 8-1 in his career at just 24-years-old.

BJ Penn is recognized as one of the greatest lightweights of all time. However, he is 1-5-1 after his incredible title reign ended. The 37-year-old Hawaiian is training out of the famous Jackson-Wink Academy for this contest, his second at featherweight. As a side note, Yair Rodriguez has trained with Greg Jackson and crew in the past.

BJ Penn is one of three UFC fighters to ever hold titles in two weight classes, and holds notable victories over Matt Hughes, Sean Sherk, and Takanori Gomi. His all time record of 16-10-2 is a bit misleading for the fan-favorite legend, who defined the notion of willingness to fight anybody at anytime (see his light heavyweight contest against Lyoto Machida).

UFC Fight Night 103 will take place on January 15, 2017, in the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. The current card reads as follows:

  • BJ Penn vs. Yair Rodriguez
  • Jussier Formiga vs. Sergio Pettis
  • Court McGee vs. Ben Saunders
  • Erik Koch vs. Tony Martin
  • Devin Powell vs. Jordan Rinaldi
  • Viktor Pesta vs. Damian Grabowski
  • Cyril Asker vs. Dmitri Smoliakov
  • Joachim Christensen vs. Bojan Mihajlovic

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