Hot on the heels of a spectacular pay-per-view event at Madison Square Garden, the octagon returned to the UFC Apex and served up yet another stunning night of fights.
UFC Fight Night 197 served up a feast of finishes throughout the night, with just two of the night’s 11 bouts going to the judges’ scorecards.
The main event was one of those two bouts that went the distance, as former featherweight champion Max Holloway and returning Mexican contender Yair Rodriguez produced one of the best bouts of 2021.
Rodriguez started fast and threw with full power from the very start as he looked to impose his will – and his power – on the former champion.
But Holloway took “El Pantera’s” best shots and kept pressing forward. By the end of the third round, “Blessed” was firmly in charge, as his superior gas tank and refusal to bow to Rodriguez’s power shots saw him take control of the fight.
The bout eventually went to the scorecards, with Holloway earning the unanimous nod from the judges with scores of 49-46, 48-47, 48-47.
It was a big night for Brazilian heavyweight Marcos Rogerio de Lima, who scored a shock TKO finish of heavyweight stalwart Ben Rothwell.
De Lima blitzed Rothwell from the start and clipped “Big Ben” early. With Rothwell backing away with his senses clearly scrambled, De Lima closed in and let fly a heavy-handed barrage that forced the stoppage after just 32 seconds.
Elsewhere on the main card, there were stoppage victories for Felicia Spencer, Khaos Williams and Song Yadong, while the prelims saw inside the distance wins for Joel Alvarez, Andrea Lee, Sean Woodson, Rafael Alves and Da Un Jung.
UFC Fight Night 197: Official results
- Max Holloway def. Yair Rodriguez via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47)
- Marcos Rogerio de Lima def. Ben Rothwell via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:32
- Felicia Spencer def. Leah Letson via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 4:25
- Khaos Williams def. Miguel Baeza via knockout (punches) – Round 3, 1:02
- Song Yadong def. Julio Arce via TKO (head kick and punches) – Round 2, 1:35
- Joel Alvarez def. Thiago Moises via TKO (punches and elbows) – Round 1, 3:02
- Andrea Lee def. Cynthia Calvillo via TKO (retirement) – Round 2, 5:00
- Sean Woodson def. Collin Anglin via TKO (body punches) – Round 1, 4;30
- Cortney Casey def. Liana Jojua via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Rafael Alves def. Marc Diakiese via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 1:48
- Da Un Jung def. Kennedy Nzechukwu via knockout (elbows) – Round 1, 3:04