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The Ultimate Fighting Championship will officially treat fans to a long-awaited battle at the end of August.
The promotion had targeted the UFC Fight Night event on Aug. 29 as the host for Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Yair Rodriguez, with Magomedsharipov’s manager Rizvan Magomedov claiming in June it was in the works. On Wednesday, Magomedsharipov’s other manager Ali Abdelaziz posted on Twitter that four of the five UFC main events in August would include a Dominance MMA fighter. His list included Derek Brunson, Alexey Oleynik, Frankie Edgar and Magomedsharipov.
On Thursday, Magomedsharipov confirmed this matchup was official on Instagram, writing (via Google Translate): “Two years later, on the third attempt, this fight will still take place.” The two rising featherweights have been booked against one another on multiple occasions, with their first billing for UFC 228 in 2018. Rodriguez pulled out due to an injury, and Magomedsharipov faced late replacement Brandon Davis and landed a Suloev Stretch modified kneebar. There was consideration of them meeting earlier this year, but the coronavirus scuttled all plans of that before it was made official.
Magomedsharipov (18-1) is riding a 14-fight win streak into his five-round potential thriller with Rodriguez, including six wins inside the Octagon. On his way up the 145-pound ladder, “Honest Zabe” has been beaten names like Calvin Kattar, Jeremy Stephens and Sheymon Moraes. Critics pointed towards his performances against Kattar, Stephens and even Kyle Bochniak as a potential cardio weakness, as the Russian has never needed to fight beyond the 15-minute mark. Although he headlined against Kattar in Russia, due to its elevation to main event status on short notice, it was not scheduled for five rounds.
Rodriguez (13-2, 1 NC) has not lost since his May 2017 encounter with Edgar, where the doctor intervened after the second round due to Rodriguez’ damaged left eye. Since then, Rodriguez engaged in an all-time classic with Chan Sung Jung, where “El Pantera” scored the Sherdog.com 2018 “Knockout of the Year” by finishing “The Korean Zombie” with an elbow with one second left in the fight. He then met Stephens, and their first interaction halted in 15 seconds thanks to an accidental eye poke. The rematch a month later produced a “Fight of the Night” scrap where Rodriguez held on to the final bell after Stephens surged in the third frame.
The UFC Fight Night event on Aug. 29 will be held at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, and it will also feature a light heavyweight tilt between Anthony Smith and Aleksandar Rakic. Elsewhere on the main card, Ryan Hall takes on Ricardo Lamas at featherweight, while Geoff Neal meets Neil Magny in the welterweight division.
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