At the time, Rodriguez was looking forward to rematching champion Carla Esparza who edged her previously in July 2020. There was also No. 1 Rose Namajunas, the former champion whom she had studied extensively in hopes of a future contest.
But sometimes, things don’t work out.
Namajunas wound up getting the title shot, losing a split decision to Esparza and now Zhang Weili, another former champion, is next in line. That means Rodriguez (16-1-2), 35, will need to defend her No. 3 ranking Saturday against No. 7 challenger Amanda Lemos (12-2-1), 35, to stay in the conversation.
The fight was originally to take place at UFC 280 in October, but it was moved to Saturday for unknown reasons.
Striking is the bread and butter of Rodriguez. Combined with her volume, it puts the pressure on opponents to keep up and generates opportunities for her underrated ground game. Her defense is also solid, having never been finished in 19 bouts thus far.
Lemos comes in with six wins in her last seven fights. Her lone defeat was the highlight reel submission to Jessica Andrade in April. She bounced back impressively by choking out Michelle Waterson in her next bout in July.
Lemos comes in with the power advantage and likes to pressure just like Rodriguez. I think she will be looking to hurt Rodriguez after a quick feeling out process.
This is part of the reason why I think this fight will be a banger. Rodriguez is hungry to cement the next title shot and Lemos is hungry to snatch it from her.
Time waits for no one in the UFC, but it’s almost time for Rodriguez and Lemos to show who is next in the strawweight division.
UFC Vegas 64 – Strawweights Rodriguez, Lemos Look to Secure Who’s Next – More Resources
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