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Rodriguez v Emmett UFC 284 betting picks – February 12, 2023

Yair Rodriguez v Josh Emmett

Latest Odds & Fight Info

Main Event odds Rodriguez -166.67 at Bovada | Emmett +135 at Bovada
When Sunday, February 12 – main card from 11am AWST / 3am GMT / Sat 10pm EST
Where RAC Arena, Perth
Watch Live ESPN+ PPV (US), BT Sport (UK), Main Event (AU)

This Sunday’s UFC 284 co-main event at RAC Arena in Perth between Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett will install an interim champion onto the featherweight throne. This vacancy has been created by reigning 145-pound king Alexander Volkanovski searching for double-champ status. After lengthy stints ranked in the top five, both fighters will be desperate to seize the opportunity and grab UFC gold down under.

Yair Rodriguez (15-3-0) is a relatively low-profile fighter who has hung around the top of his division for some time without really pressing a solid case for a title shot. The Mexican boasts wins over Jeremy Stephens and the Korean Zombie, but a lack of octagon activity has prevented him from making a noticeable run toward the top. He has only fought thrice since late 2019, his sporadic appearances attributed to niggling injuries and a reluctance to cooperate with USADA drug testers.

Rodriguez gets his chance here due to luck rather than sparkling recent results but is nonetheless favoured to prevail by most UFC betting sites. His last fight was a fortunate win over Brian Ortega, who suffered a dislocated shoulder in the first round and could not continue. His fight prior to that was a loss to Max Holloway, so that is two uninspiring efforts leading up to this bout. Time will tell whether he can step up and produce a worthy performance after such a lacklustre preparation.

Rodriguez is a tall, rangy fighter for the 145-pound class and will have a whopping five-inch height advantage in this matchup. He is a naturally gifted athlete with a full arsenal of weapons, including flashy kicks and flying knees. He will be looking to maintain a long and safe range that suits his striking style.

His high kick might prove pivotal here against a shorter opponent and looks like his best chance at an early finish. Rodriguez has only secured five knockouts across his professional career and prefers a careful strategy that focuses on accumulating points while avoiding danger, but he does have the skills to press for an early finish if so inclined.

READ: Alexander Volkanovski v Islam Makhachev UFC 284 Picks & Best Bets

Josh Emmett (18-2-0) comes into this contest on a five-fight winning streak, although his last three results have come via close points victories. His most recent outing was a controversial split decision win over credible contender Calvin Kattar in a compelling five-round affair. If Kattar had received the nod, he might be fighting in Emmett’s place for this interim belt.

On his best day Emmett possesses a strong standup game, particularly an overhand right punch that bristles with knockout power. His three previous wins were ended via KO, and he was seen as a very tough featherweight matchup. During this period, Emmett struggled to book fights because potential opponents were afraid of being laid out cold. He has a solid chin and has only been finished once throughout his career, back in 2018 at the hands of Jeremy Stephens.

READ: UFC 284 Main Card betting preview & top UFC tips

Emmett’s limitations are an over-reliance on his powerful right hand and a tendency to go headhunting. He can also look like a plodder at times and lacks the athletic gifts of Rodriguez. Given his shorter stature, he would be wise to adopt a body-heavy attack in this bout, especially in the early rounds. A stiff jab toward the chin followed by a ripping body shot would be a recommended attack to slow and tire his opponent and open other striking opportunities. Emmett should have a wrestling advantage too if he chooses to change the level of attack, although he has been reluctant to utilise that strategy in recent matchups.

This is a tricky fight to predict, but we are leaning toward Rodriguez based on his broader skillset. He is the younger and fresher contestant and, if he can avoid the power punches of Emmett, has more paths to victory. His kicking game is a big advantage, and his cardio should last the five rounds if required. The main query surrounds Rodriguez’s ability to produce his best performance on the biggest stage, but otherwise he appears the likely victor if he can elude Emmett’s right hand and dictate the range.

Yair Rodriguez to win


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