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Tuesday, Jul 04, 2023

Alexander Volkanovski’s Coach Believes Yair Rodriguez Could be Champ’s “Biggest Test”

Yair Rodriguez (image via UFC/YouTube)

By FCF Staff

Although betting lines for UFC 290 have Alexander Volkanovski as a sizeable favorite to defeat Yair Rodriguez on Saturday, the champion’s head coach is keenly aware of how dangerous the challenger can be.

Rodriguez will battle the reigning featherweight champion in the headliner of the July 8th card, which will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. As it stands right now, the oddsmakers have Volkanovski as the favorite to win the match-up, with odds ranging from -400 to -470.

But, while talking to FTS MMA recently, Volkanovski’s coach, Eugene Bareman, outlined why he thinks Rodriguez could be the champ’s toughest test to date (quotes via MMA Junkie).

“Personally, I think this is probably going to be Volk’s biggest test,” Bareman said. “Obviously, you’ve got the length to deal with, but you’ve got just a unique approach to striking, just the way Yair breaks the rhythm and the way he does things a little bit unconventional.”

Rodriguez (15-3) is coming off an impressive, second-round, submission win over Josh Emmett in February. The only fighter to defeat the highlight reel striker since 2017 is former featherweight champ, Max Holloway.

Although Bareman believes Volkanovski will be navigating dangerous waters at UFC 290, the renowned coach is confident he’ll retain the belt.

“At the end of the day, what I think will shine through is Volk’s better all-around skill set,” Bareman said. “His ability to mix it up and use the juxtaposition of both those – the wrestling and closing the distance, and the striking – using those two things together, I think having a more diverse skill set is what’s going to beat Yair. That’s Volk’s advantage.”

Volkanovski (25-2), meanwhile, is coming off a decision loss to lightweight champion Islam Makhachev in February. That defeat was Volkanovski’s first in nearly a decade.

posted by FCF Staff @ 11:57 am
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