UFC Fight Night Rodriguez vs Ortega Odds, Picks, and Predictions: Yair Rodriguez Gets Right

Both Yair Rodriguez and Brian Ortega are coming off losses as they clash in this featherweight showdown. Rodriguez has fewer holes in his game and while there are avenues for Ortega to win, it's less likely to happen.

Feb 24, 2024 • 07:28 ET • 4 min read
Yair Rodriguez UFC Fight Night
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Yair Rodriguez vs. Brian Ortega serves as the co-main event of this weekend’s UFC Fight Night card in this high-stakes featherweight rematch taking place tonight, February 24, at the Arena CDMX in Mexico City, Mexico.

After Ilia Topuria shockingly dethroned Alexander Volkanovski last weekend, the featherweight division is scrambling to create new challengers to face its new champion.

UFC odds have Rodriguez a slight -140 favorite, and Ortega is a +120 underdog. 

Here are my free picks for Rodriguez vs. Ortega at UFC Fight Night.

Yair Rodriguez vs Brian Ortega fight odds

Method of Victory Rodriguez Ortega
To win outright -140 +120
To win by KO/TKO +225 +600
To win by decision +325 +640
To win by submission +730 +325
Draw +2,500 +2,500

Odds courtesy of Bet99 on February 24, 2024.

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Rodriguez vs Ortega picks

Fight prediction: Rodriguez ML

It’s been 19 months since the first meeting between these two ended anti-climatically as Ortega suffered a shoulder injury in the first round. Rodriguez moved on to beat Josh Emmett in his next fight before being bludgeoned by former champion Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 290. Though this is being angled as two top featherweights still in the hunt for a big fight, Ortega’s recent form is concerning.

Quite frankly, Ortega’s level of punishment and absence of defensive awareness puts him in a bad spot against Rodriguez. Rodriguez can pick up a head of steam if he can’t get stumped or taken down, and Ortega essentially trying to land a shot, and his inclination to grapple, means he’ll be giving Rodriguez all the looks he’ll need. 

Rodriguez does take creative liberties to generate offense. Those high-risk maneuvers didn’t work against Volkanovski, and it does give Ortega an opportunity if he isn’t getting tagged by those wild shots. Even so, this is a five-round fight, so Ortega could make wine from water and get the late-round submission if he makes it that far.

While it’s true that Rodriguez’s takedown defense isn’t the quality expected of a top-tier fighter, Ortega’s propensity to absorb strikes is the bigger liability. While both fighters are coming off losses, and Ortega is back from an injury, Rodriguez has more to offer and should be too much for Ortega. I’m going with Rodriguez. 

Prediction: Yair Rodriguez moneyline (-155 at Bet99)

Fight best bet: Rodriguez by KO or decision

How bad is Ortega’s striking defense? He’s been outstruck in six of his eleven UFC appearances, and in his last four, he’s been outlanded 347-589. By comparison, Rodriguez has absorbed 756 strikes across 14 fights in the UFC. 

I can’t see Ortega stopping Rodriguez’s momentum, or slowing him down long enough to expose his limited takedown defense. Even if Ortega does manage to get him on the ground, Rodriguez is physically strong and has good awareness on the ground. He also has five submission wins, so Ortega would be wise to stick to ground control and keep him from developing a striking rhythm.

There’s going to be too much coming at Ortega, and for five rounds, I don’t think he’ll be able to deal with the heat. Things should be obvious from the first round that Rodriguez will have an open book to work with, and he’ll be coming forward and meeting a willing Ortega ready to engage at all costs. That damage is going to accumulate, and it isn’t going to look good after three rounds. 

Ortega’s chin allows him to keep him up for as long as possible, but there is a good chance that Rodriguez lands enough shots to draw a referee or corner stoppage. My best bet for the fight is the double chance that Rodriguez gets the win via decision or knockout.

Pick: Yair Rodriguez to win by knockout or decision (-105 at Bet99)

Rodriguez vs Ortega betting preview

Rodriguez is seven months removed from a one-sided loss to Volkanovski but remains one of the top contenders in the featherweight division. Ortega has been inactive since his injury-induced stoppage to Rodriguez, yet he still hovers on the fringes of the division rankings. Both fighters excel in the stand-up game, but Ortega has an additional path to victory due to his superior takedown skills and Rodriguez's mediocre takedown defense.

In terms of significant strikes, Rodriguez lands 4.63 per minute and absorbs 4.07, while Ortega lands 4.19 and absorbs 6.66. Rodriguez also boasts better accuracy at 46%, compared to Ortega's 38%. Although Ortega lands 0.95 takedowns per fight and attempts 1.2 submissions, it is Rodriguez who has the higher takedown accuracy at 28%, compared to Ortega's 23%. Both fighters have similar average fight times, with Ortega having a slight edge at 12 minutes and 57 seconds compared to Rodriguez's 13 minutes and 16 seconds.

This fight could evolve into a striking battle from the start. It would be to Ortega's advantage to exploit Rodriguez's vulnerabilities against takedowns to control him and run out the clock. If he fails to do so, Rodriguez might threaten to outwork him, and his unorthodox striking techniques could pose a significant challenge for the defensively porous Ortega.

Yair Rodriguez vs Brian Ortega tale of the tape

Rodriguez   Ortega
31 Age 33
5-foot-11 Height 5-foot-8
145 lbs Weight 145 lbs
71 inches Reach 69 inches
19-4 (8 KO) Record 15-3 (3 KO)

Not intended for use in MA.
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