The UFC 284 event is fast approaching and fight fans around the world are eager to see what will happen in the co-main event between Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett. The two featherweights will be battling it out for the UFC Interim Featherweight Championship, and the anticipation is high as they step into the Octagon at the RAC Arena in Perth, Australia, on Feb. 11. For those in the United States, the fight will be available exclusively on ESPN+ PPV.
Mexico’s Yair Rodriguez, ranked #2 in the featherweight division with a record of 14-3, is the favorite to take home the interim belt. Josh Emmett, ranked #5 in the featherweight division with a record of 18-2, is coming off a split-decision win against Calvin Kattar and is looking to upset the odds and win the interim title.
In the lead-up to the fight, MMA journalist James Lynch has been seeking predictions from fellow UFC fighters. Stephen Thompson, Jamahal Hill, Cory Sandhagen, Aleksander Rakic, and many more fighters have all weighed in with their thoughts on who they think will come out on top. These predictions provide a fascinating insight into what fight fans can expect in what promises to be an epic battle between two of the best featherweights in the world.
Fighters pick Rodriguez vs. Emmett winner
“Oh man, that’s gonna be a tough one. I’d like to see the excitement out of Rodriguez. I like to see his.. I like his style. He’s very exciting to watch. He’s a finesse fighter. But let me tell you what’s his name’s got. He’s got some bombs, man, his opponent’s got some bombs. If he gets hit by any one of those, he’s going out. Um man, I’m gonna go with Yair.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)
“If it goes the decision, I probably have to go with Yair, but Emmett… The way he throws those fucking shots. Dude, it’s like sometimes you want to sit in, you want to roll, you wanna slip and make somebody miss, you can counter and hit them the way he throws shots, they make you not want to. It’s a risk. The power and the that Josh Emmett throws those shots. One, if he catches Yair, he’s gonna drop him. And two, it could be very well possible, that he won’t want to engage. Yair’s still got kicks and things like that from the outside, so speed goes to Yair. So I think he depends on the various attacks, but I don’t know, it depends on the game plan. If Yair’s game plan is sticking and moving and I’ll probably go Yair. But if he thinks he’s just gonna go in and try to knock out Emmett or just try to bang with him, I’m going Josh Emmett.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)
“Love that fight. Absolutely love that fight. I’ve known Josh Emmett since The Ultimate Fighter. He’s actually a really good coach and really super cool to us. Yair Rodriguez is super, super tough. I’m gonna go with Josh Emmett though, I think he’s got a little bit more power. I think he’s got better wrestling, a little more power. He’s super durable and I just think he’s just got a few different ways he could win this fight. And because of that, I think that Josh Emmett nets the interim belt.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)
“Oh man, when you come to talk about styles, you know, Josh Emmett is a big power puncher. I remember watching him and Calvin Kattar fight and Josh Emmett throws bombs. I think Calvin was landing way more. But you know what you saw in that fight was even when Josh missed the force he threw behind each one of his punches like pushed Calvin in a certain direction. Like I think Calvin out-struck him by far, but I think the power of his punches, so if Josh Emmett lands he’s a serious problem. But also Yair’s a much prettier striker. So this is what you like style-wise, this is you know, clean striking versus raw brute power. I don’t see it going to the ground, I see them, you know standing there toe to toe and creating those angles. But uh skill-wise, Yair’s striking is going to be a serious problem. Josh Emmett’s power is gonna be a problem. If Josh Emmett lands, I don’t think Yair can handle that.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)
“I think personally, Yair is gonna be just unbelievably creative and long and hard to walk down and I think it’s gonna put Emmett in at a great disadvantage being shorter, stockier and in range for his kicks the whole time. And I think that’s Yair’s bread and butter, is his creativeness with his hands to set up his kicks. And I really feel like uh I would not doubt if Yair catches him and puts him to sleep with a head kick at some point.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)
“I think Yair Rodriguez, he’s tough, you know and he has solid kicks and the movement, of course. Emmett has that boxing and the wrestling. But I go with Yair.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)
“Josh Emmett. Yeah, I think he’s a little more technical, he’s got great wrestling and stuff too. So you know if he needs to he can take it there. Yair’s got some fancier striking and stuff like that. But I think just the technique of Josh Emmett and the power is gonna win him the fight.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)
“Yair, I like his creative striking. I think he’ll be able to open up and catch him with some flying shit.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)
“I think Emmett. I like to see Emmett finally get the shine that I think he kind of deserves. So I’m gonna go, Josh.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)
“Rodriguez on that one. Just like knowing those guys, is just kind of super unpredictable and has a lot of great skills. So I had to guess I would say Yair Rodriguez in that fight.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)
“I’m going with Josh Emmett, man. I feel like he has some dynamite in those hands. He might flatline Yair.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)
“I got Josh Emmett, man. The dude is a gangster. I think him and I’s style are very similar so it’s ride or die Josh Emmett.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)
“I would probably go with Josh Emmett. I think he just has so much power in his hands that if you can land one good shot, it could be over.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)