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UFC 290 LIVE: Volkanovski vs Yair Rodriguez results

Re-live updates from two titles fights and a stacked undercard in Las Vegas

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Saturday 08 July 2023 23:16 BST
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Ciryl Gane reveals key coaching tip that he ignored in Jon Jones loss

Alexander Volkanovski continued his dominant run atop the UFC featherweight division on Saturday, stopping interim champion Yair Rodriguez to unify the titles.

Volkanovski controlled the Mexican on the mat for most of the first two rounds, and just when Rodriguez began to flicker into life in the striking exchanges, Volkanovski fired back with a hard right hook to set up a ground-and-pound finish in Round 3.

In the co-main event, Alexandre Pantoja won a thrilling, back-and-forth battle with Brandon Moreno, taking the flyweight title from the Mexican with a split-decision win. The victory also saw the Brazilian move to 3-0 against two-time champion Moreno, whom Pantoja also beat in 2016 and 2018.

Earlier in the night, South Africa’s Dricus Du Plessis stunned Robert Whittaker, beating the ex-middleweight champion via TKO before facing off with reigning title holder Israel Adesanya in a heated exchange. All the while, ex-US president Donald Trump watched on from ringside.

Also, former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler won his retirement fight by knocking out Niko Price inside the first minute, Dan Hooker outpointed Jalin Turner despite suffering a broken arm, and Bo Nickal knocked out Val Woodburn to move to 5-0 with a fifth first-round finish. Re-live UFC 290 below.

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UFC 290 LIVE: Brandon Moreno vs Alexandre Pantoja

Round 3

Almost at once, Pantoja lands a knee to the groin, and we have a brief pause in the action.

Back under way, and Pantoja is able to take the back, drive Moreno to the fence, and rag the Mexican to the mat! He’s seeking a rear naked choke, but Moreno is defending very well so far...

And Moreno is able to turn inside, getting in Pantoja’s guard! He’s even able to stand and walk away! He engages with a series of snapping punches, but Pantoja tags him with a hard left hook and uppercut.

PERFECT high kick from Moreno, but Pantoja shakes his head! Another head kick, and this time Pantoja wobbles1 He shoots for a double-leg takedown, but he’s denied.

His next attempt is successful, however! A scramble follows, and Moreno ends up absorbing elbows from the bottom. The fighters stand now.

Alex Pattle9 July 2023 05:09
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UFC 290 LIVE: Brandon Moreno vs Alexandre Pantoja

Round 2

Pantoja gets right after Moreno early in this round! Moreno tries to stay composed...

The champion fires back with long shots! The accuracy is there, but Pantoja is taking the shots fairly well at the moment.

Pantoja overcommits to a punch, and Moreno takes his back, dragging him to the canvas! Moreno is working on a rear-naked choke, to the delight of the Mexican fans in attendance...

Pantoja escapes in the blink of an eye! The fighters stand and trade *heavy* punches! Pantoja now buries hooks into the body of Moreno, who replies with a hook upstairs.

A frenzied end to the round ensues.

Alex Pattle9 July 2023 05:02
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UFC 290 LIVE: Brandon Moreno vs Alexandre Pantoja

Round 1

Moreno shoots for a takedown straight away. He doesn’t get it, but he does drive Pantoja to the fence.

Moreno is holding his old rival against the cage wall. Eventually Pantoja reverses the position, lands a knee to the body, and escapes.

Stinging jab from Moreno, who adds a left hook. Pantoja tries to trip Moreno, but the champion scrambles back to his feet. Pantoja with another knee to the body, as Moreno grapples him.

More nice shots from range by Moreno, but he’s dropped by a left hook!! Pantoja thinks about a guillotine but opts to land elbows instead! Moreno is busted open!

Moreno is able to prevent Pantoja from passing his guard, and eventually the Mexican stands. He lands a one-two, but Pantoja fires back and hurts Moreno!

Pantoja is stalking Moreno in a chillingly lax way...

Alex Pattle9 July 2023 04:56
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UFC 290 LIVE: Brandon Moreno vs Alexandre Pantoja

Moreno vs Pantoja 3. We’re under way!

Alex Pattle9 July 2023 04:50
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UFC 290 LIVE: Brandon Moreno vs Alexandre Pantoja

Here’s an excerpt from our exclusive interview with Moreno:

Before the punching bags, there were piñatas.

“Yeah, man!” Moreno beams to The Independent. “I don’t know if piñatas are very popular in the UK, but obviously in Mexico they are so popular. I was born watching my parents work so hard in the piñata business, for me and my brothers. It was a very interesting childhood I had!”

Moreno helped his parents in their venture, which they still run to this day, but shifted his focus entirely to fighting as a 22-year-old.

“I remember I stopped after my first UFC fight,” he recalls. “I finished The Ultimate Fighter, then the UFC called me for a short-notice fight, and I won the fight and the Performance of the Night bonus. With that money I bought my house and everything, and I stopped working with my parents.

“But they were so proud of their little kid. Right now, they’re still working on the piñata business, but because they love to work! If I tell them, ‘Hey, you don’t need to keep working,’ they will say something like, ‘We want to keep working because we feel alive, we feel very good doing this.’”

Full interview:

Brandon Moreno, piñatas and the promise that inspired UFC supremacy

Mexico’s first ever UFC champion talks to Alex Pattle about helping the family business before beginning a remarkable in-ring career

Alex Pattle9 July 2023 04:44
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UFC 290 LIVE: Brandon Moreno vs Alexandre Pantoja

Next up, the co-main event. Brandon Moreno defends his flyweight title against Alexandre Pantoja, a man who has beaten him twice.

Brazilian Pantoja submitted Moreno in 2016 then outpointed him in 2018. The latter result led to Moreno’s release from the UFC, before he came back an improved fighter and won the flyweight belt from Deiveson Figueiredo.

Moreno and Figueiredo actually drew in their first clash, before the Mexican submitted Figueiredo in their rematch to become his country’s first ever UFC champion.

In their trilogy bout, Figueiredo regain the gold on points, before Moreno beat his rival in a fourth showdown this January, regaining the belt via TKO.

Alex Pattle9 July 2023 04:41
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UFC 290 LIVE: Robert Whittaker vs Dricus Du Plessis

Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is in the ring, shouting in Du Plessis’s face. We can’t repeat much of what he’s saying. It’s all racially motivated.

Adesanya has taken exception in recent weeks to Du Plessis’s claim that he wants to be the ‘first African’ champion in the UFC.

Adesanya and former welterweight title holder Kamaru Usman are both of Nigerian heritage, while ex-heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou is Cameroonian.

Du Plessis stressed that he wants to be the first fighter who lives and trains in Africa to win a UFC title.

Alex Pattle9 July 2023 04:36
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UFC 290 LIVE: Robert Whittaker vs Dricus Du Plessis

Dricus Du Plessis def. Robert Whittaker via second-round TKO (punches, 2:23).

What on earth?

Alex Pattle9 July 2023 04:30
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UFC 290 LIVE: Robert Whittaker vs Dricus Du Plessis

Round 2

Du Plessis is keeping his guard tight, but Whittaker is starting to get through with his jab. The Australian is kicking low well, too.

OH! Du Plessis drops Whittakker with a right!! Whittaker is back to his feet, but he’s not all there! He covers up, and Du Plessis forces the finish against the fence!

WHAT JUST HAPPENED? What an upset!

Alex Pattle9 July 2023 04:28
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UFC 290 LIVE: Robert Whittaker vs Dricus Du Plessis

Round 1

Du Plessis stands southpaw. He kicks to the body of Whittaker and stalks the former champion, who kicks low. A right hand gets through for Whittaker, then he evades a head kick and a winging left hook. A clean jab tags Du Plessis now, splitting his guard.

More good jabs from Whittaker, who lands an oblique kick, jab and body-lock takedown! Du Plessis tries to counter with a guillotine choke, but Whittaker wisely angles his head so as to avoid the pressure.

Eventually the pair stand, and Whittaker connects with a hard overhand right. Still, Du Plessis marches forward. “Let’s, go, Robert,” chants the crowd. Du Plessis with a decent combination now, after catching a kick.

Nice jab and good head movement by Whittaker, but he’s caught by a well-executed trip from Du Plessis. The South African with a scything elbow on the mat, and Whittaker is busted open!

Du Plessis is looking for a D’Arce choke, but also throwing elbows! He’s stolen the round, in my opinion...

Alex Pattle9 July 2023 04:24

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