Yair Rodriguez may have delivered the KO of the Year to open up the main card at UFC 197. The Mexican-born featherweight prospect delivered a flying left roundhouse kick that crumbled his opponent, Andre Fili.
In Monday’s official UFC rankings release, Rodriguez was rewarded for his performance. “El Pantera” makes his debut in the rankings at No. 14 after maintaining his perfect UFC mark (4-0) and improving to 8-1 overall.
Rodriguez said at the UFC 197 post-fight press conference that he plans to maintain his exciting fighting style even as he ascends in the rankings because it’s who he is as a fighter.
“I mean it’s the way that I fight,” Rodriguez said. “It’s just the Yair Rodriguez style. I cannot do another style because it’s just the way that I fight. It’s the way that I’m used to fighting since I’m a kid.”
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The other big winners from UFC 197 were Robert Whittaker at middleweight and Edson Barboza at lightweight.
Whittaker jumps up one spot to No. 6 at 185 pounds, passing former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida.
Barboza advances two spots to No. 6 at 145 pounds, dropping his UFC 197 opponent, Anthony Pettis, four spots down to No. 7. The former division champion “Showtime” has now lost three straight fights.
Matt Parrino is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com. Find him on Twitter at @MattParrinoUFC