Max Holloway Injured, July 17 Match with Yair Rodriguez Postponed

By Jay Pettry Jun 17, 2021

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship has lost a much-anticipated headliner a month before it was set to go down.

ESPN Deportes first announced on Thursday that the UFC on ESPN 26 headliner has fallen through, as Max Holloway (22-6) suffered an injury and has been forced to withdraw from his featherweight contest against Yair Rodriguez (13-2, 1 NC). As a result, Rodriguez has been pulled from the card as well, as the promotion is rebooking the fight on a future date. There is no current replacement announcement for the July 17 main event, and the UFC Apex card in Las Vegas’ highest billed matchup now may be Miesha Tate vs. Marion Reneau at bantamweight.

Holloway snapped a rare losing streak in January by busting up Calvin Kattar in the year’s sure-fire “Beatdown of the Year” candidate, landing more significant strikes in the fight than any other fighter in UFC history. Before then, Holloway had fallen short in three of four title fights, including a trip to lightweight against Dustin Poirier and a pair of featherweight title tilts against Alexander Volkanovski. As a result of his work over the years, Holloway stands above with the most significant strikes landed in promotional history (2,618), registering nearly one thousand above the next closest fighter of Donald Cerrone at 1,727.

Rodriguez was looking to make his first appearance in just over 21 months, with his last outing a decision win over Jeremy Stephens. Along the way, “El Pantera” had a thriller with Zabit Magomedsharipov fall away when the Mexican fighter broke his ankle. U.S. Anti-Drug Agency issues also plagued the 28-year-old top prospect, as he earned a six-month suspension at the end of 2020 by failing to notify USADA of his location three times in the span of a year. In his UFC tenure, the “The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America” winner has recorded knockout wins over the likes of Chan Sung Jung, B.J. Penn and Andre Fili.

UFC on ESPN 26 carries on with 14 fights at the time, although few ranked matchups remain on the card. The July 17 offering at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas will still feature a bantamweight clash between Marion Reneau and Miesha Tate, while a high-stakes lightweight affair will pit Islam Makhachev against Thiago Moises.

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