The third installment of UFC on ABC is set for Saturday night, from UBS Arena in Elmont, New York. Yair Rodriguez, the featherweight winner of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America, will meet Brian Ortega, the onetime UFC Featherweight Championship challenger, in the main event. Michelle Waterson will take on Amanda Lemos in a women’s strawweight showdown in the co-headliner. The main card will be broadcast on ABC, with the preliminary fights on ESPN. Review the full fight card along with our UFC Betting for these top two fights.
UFC on ABC 3: Ortega vs Rodriguez Preview
Main Card (ABC / ESPN+)
Brian Ortega vs Yair Rodriguez (Featherweight)
Michelle Waterson vs Amanda Lemos (Women’s Strawweight)
Li Jingliang vs Muslim Salikhov (Welterweight)
Matt Schnell vs Su Mudaerji (Flyweight)
Shane Burgos vs Charles Jourdain (Featherweight)
Lauren Murphy vs Miesha Tate (Women’s Flyweight)
Preliminary Card (ESPN / ESPN+)
Dalcha Lungiambula vs Punahele Soriano (Middleweight)
Ricky Simon vs Jack Shore (Bantamweight)
Bill Algeo vs Herbert Burns (Featherweight)
Dustin Jacoby vs Da Un Jung (Light Heavyweight)
Dwight Grant vs Dustin Stoltzfus (Middleweight)
Jessica Penne vs Emily Ducote (Women’s Strawweight)
Brian Ortega (15-2, 7-2 UFC, -165) vs Yair Rodriguez (13-3, 8-2 UFC, +140) will help to clear up the pecking order at the top of UFC’s featherweight decision – at least below Alexander Volkanovski, who made a meal out of Max Holloway two weeks ago. Ortega started his climb with a series of fights where he was trailing on the cards before finding a way to end the fight via submission. He won four straight tilts in the third round – and he was trailing on the cards in all three of those. He finished Cub Swanson and then knocked out Frankie Edgar in the first round. When Ortega met Holloway, though, Holloway took an ugly beating. After two years of toiling in obscurity, he came back to dominate The Korean Zombie over five rounds, almost finishing him at a couple of points but ultimately winning on the cards thanks to dominant striking. Ortega got a shot at Volkanovski but got outclassed on the cards despite almost pulling off a guillotine choke. A win over Rodriguez would move Ortega closer to another title shot.
Rodriguez came into UFC in 2014 known as an offensive phenomenon. He was taking headline bouts against the likes of Alex Caceres and B.J. Penn, but then he got dismantled by Edgar in 2017. He took off over a year because of recovery from injuries, and the UFC was ready to cut him loose. When he finally came back, though, he delivered a memorable highlight against The Korean Zombie in a headliner. He was behind on the cards in the fifth round, but he used a backwards elbow to deliver a knockout in the last second of the fight. He then beat Jeremy Stephens but went away for two years before coming back to fight Holloway in November, losing clearly on the cards. I would expect both fighters to stay back and deliver strikes from range before Ortega looks to take things to the floor or Rodriguez brings pressure forward. Ortega’s strength in wrestling should make the difference in this fight.
Final Prediction: Ortega wins via submission
Amanda Lemos (11-2-1, 5-2 UFC, -315) vs Michelle Waterson (18-9, 6-5 UFC, +260) marks Waterson’s return to fighting after an extended absence. When she came into UFC in 2015, there were questions as to how she would fare, as she had thrived at atomweight, which UFC did not offer. She entered against 115-pound athletes, but while she has not become a contender, she has fared well. Her wrestling is strong, and her speed has helped her develop a solid striking game from range. When she struggles, she gets too focused on striking or wrestling. She has not fought since May 2021, when she fought Marina Rodriguez in a headliner, as she has spent the intervening months rehabbing a series of injuries. The promotion gave her a difficult opponent her first time out in Lemos.
Lemos came to UFC in 2017 and lost a prelim bout against Leslie Smith. After that, a drug suspension kept her out of the Octagon for two years. In 2019, she returned as a strawweight, down in weight but the same in terms of strength. She won five fights in a row, including three finishes in the first round. She has found an ability to run over her opponents, which included an exciting comeback to beat Angela Hill. She earned a main event fight against Jessica Andrade in April, but Andrade finished Lemos with a standing arm-triangle choke just three minutes in. Lemos brings more physicality and power, but she is also slower, which means that Waterson could use her striking to stack up points. I’m going with the value here, given that Waterson has the speed to frustrate Lemos and empty her cardio tank.
Final Prediction: Waterson wins via decision
UFC Betting Odds
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