Brad Tavares UFC

Gregory Rodrigues, better known to UFC fans as “Robocop” returns to the octagon this Saturday to take on Brad Tavares. The matchup was originally scheduled for UFC 292 in 2023, but due to injury, Tavares was pulled from the card. Instead, Robocop would go on to 1-1 in his last two fights, being KO’d in the first round against Bruno Ferreira before knocking out his opponent Denis Tiuliulin likewise in round 1.

Brad Tavares’ last appearance came in August of 2023, beating former middleweight champion Chris Weidman. Tavares is considered one of the more underrated fighters to hardcore fans, although having lost eight times in the UFC, half of those opponents went on to become eventual world champions in the division. Tavares has become a namestay in the middleweight division, if Robocop looks to enter his name in the future title picture, Tavares is the kind of name he needs to get passed.

Betting Odds

Robocop will come in as the substantial favourite at -230.

  • Gregory Rodrigues: -230 (BetUS)
  • Brad Tavares: +190 (BetUS)

Fight Breakdown

Gregory Rodrigues is an 8x national Jiu-Jitsu champion. His bread and butter is his slick grappling, particularly his ability to take his opponents down, slice through the guard and work from side control to knee on belly or mount.

That being said, since entering the UFC he has made strides in his striking, favoring an upright square Muay Thai style. He has solid low kicks, and excellent offensive boxing with great punching power. He does tend to leave his head on that center line with a square body when he enters on occasion, which is largely when he has gotten caught moving in. After suffering a knockout early last year, it seems so far that his reaction is to go back to his high-level grappling roots, almost instantly shooting a takedown in his return match.

However, taking Brad Tavares down is much easier said than done. Tavares has some of, if not the best, takedown defense in the UFC middleweight division right now. Although statistically, he has a defense rate of 82%, the only fighter to take him down with consistency was Yoel Romero, an Olympic medalist in 2014, where the Cuban scored seven takedowns. Since that fight, opponents of Tavares have tried to take him down 74 times, to which he defended 66. This also speaks to the frequency that his opponents elect to wrestle as evidence of respect for the kickboxing of Tavares.

Tavares utilizes a high guard, educated footwork and technical boxing. Compared to Rodrigues, he might not have the same pure KO power but is the slicker fighter. He does a good job of using his jab to set up almost everything, as well as consistently chewing up his opponent’s lead leg with low kicks to create openings for his boxing. The majority of his work includes working the legs, circling, and jabbing to open up the pipe and snipe his right hand down the center, which may be even more available considering the squareness with which Rodrigues stands. However, that same stance will make attacking the low kick more difficult as Rodrigues keeps that lead leg open to check kicks.

Rodrigues’ best range is in the pocket, where he can utilize his grounded posture and land heavy hooks, while also looking to clinch up and start working way to a takedown or throw. Tavares should look to keep a longer range and work from his jab, moving in and out with lighter footwork and longer kicks to stick and move. Rodrigues, at some point, has to bridge that gap himself, which is when he tends to leave the most openings. If Rodrigues gets a hold of Tavares, his chances or taking him down from a waist lock, or better the back have a higher likelihood than the hips. What makes Tavares’ takedown ability stand out is A) his ability to balance while defending single-leg takedowns, and B) his ability to dig under-hooks and fight the head when sprawling on doubles.


This is a very good fight. Rodrigues is the more dangerous fighter in terms of finishing ability, if he is able to walk down Tavares and make him exchange he has an evident advantage. Likewise if he can flatten Tavares out, it could be a short night.

On the flip side, Tavares, as an underdog, has a much closer chance than the odds would imply. he has slicker boxing on the outside, and better wrestlers than Rodrigues have failed to take him down, let alone take him down, keep him down or take him down consistently. The best course of action for Tavares is to avoid a dog fight, the UFC veteran needs to lean on that experience and out box Rodrigues for 15 minutes, easier said than done but Tavares has the fight IQ, and skills to do so making him a valuable underdog.

Pick: Brad Tavares to win (+190 at BetUS)

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