ELMONT, N.Y. — A marquee featherweight matchup between Brian Ortega and Yair Rodriguez is set to headline UFC Fight Night inside UBS Arena on Saturday. The main card airs on ABC (2 p.m. ET) and will be simulcast on ESPN+, with prelims on ESPN/ESPN+ at 11 a.m.
Ortega (15-2) is making his first appearance since he came up short in a title bid against Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 266 last September. Rodriguez (13-3) is also coming off a defeat, a five-round decision loss to Max Holloway that, because of his performance, actually raised his stock.
In addition to the main event, Michelle Waterson-Gomez (18-9) will look to upset a dangerous new contender in Amanda Lemos (11-2-1), and former bantamweight champion Miesha Tate (19-8) makes her flyweight debut against Lauren Murphy (15-5).
Follow along as Brett Okamoto and Marc Raimondi recap the action from cageside, or watch the card on ESPN+.
Strawweight: Emily Ducote (12-6, 1-0 UFC) def. Jessica Penne (14-7, 3-4 UFC) by unanimous decision
The 28-year-old Ducote looked impressive in her UFC debut, out-pointing Penne on the judges’ scorecards 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
Ducote went to work on Penne’s lead leg early with kicks, and kept it up throughout the fight. Penne could barely put weight on it by the third round, which robbed her of mobility and power. She fought through it but clearly lost the last round and was even staggered at one point by a right hand. She was unsuccessful on all eight of her takedown attempts, according to UFC Stats.
Penne, 39, sees a two-fight win streak snapped. It was her first winning streak in the UFC. Ducote has now won three in a row, two of those coming in Invicta FC. — Okamoto
Middleweight: Dustin Stoltzfus (14-4, 1-3 UFC) def. Dwight Grant (11-6, 3-5 UFC) by unanimous decision
Stoltzfus finally picked up his first win in the UFC, with a dominant three-round performance. All three judges scored the fight for Stoltzfus by 29-28.
It’s Stoltzfus’ first win in four appearances in the Octagon. He got off to a bit of a slow start, as both he and Grant searched for range in the opening round. Stoltzfus got going in the second frame, though, as he took Grant down and threatened with a rear-naked choke. The third round was all Stoltzfus. He picked Grant up, walked him to the center of the cage and emphatically slammed him to the canvas, where he controlled Grant for the rest of the bout.
Grant, 37, has lost three in a row and four of his last five. He is 3-5 overall in the UFC.
Fight in progress
Still to come:
Men’s featherweight: Brian Ortega (15-2 1 NC, 7-2 1 NC UFC, -170) vs. Yair Rodríguez (14-3 1 NC, 8-2 1 NC UFC, +145)
Strawweight: Michelle Waterson-Gomez (18-9, 6-5 UFC, +270) vs. Amanda Lemos (11-2-1, 5-2 UFC, -340)
Welterweight: Li Jingliang (18-7, 10-5 UFC, +140) vs. Muslim Salikhov (18-2, 5-1 UFC, -165)
Men’s flyweight: Matt Schnell (15-6 1 NC, 5-4 1 NC UFC, +220) vs. Su Mudaerji (16-4, 3-1 UFC, -270)
Men’s featherweight: Shane Burgos (14-3, 7-3 UFC, -170) vs. Charles Jourdain (13-4-1, 4-3-1 UFC, +145)
Women’s flyweight: Lauren Murphy (15-5, 7-5 UFC, +180) vs. Miesha Tate (19-8, 6-5 UFC, -220)
Men’s bantamweight: Ricky Simón (19-3, 7-2 UFC, +135) vs. Jack Shore (16-0, 5-0 UFC, -160)
Middleweight: Dalcha Lungiambula (11-4, 2-3 UFC, +190) vs. Punahele Soriano (8-2, 2-2 UFC, -230)
Men’s featherweight: Bill Algeo (15-6, 2-2 UFC, -210) vs. Herbert Burns (11-3, 2-1 UFC, +175)