Yair Rodriguez and Brandon Moreno, two prominent Mexican fighters, are gearing up to showcase their skills on the grand stage of UFC 290. Their remarkable achievements have transformed their lives, garnering increased attention from the media and adoration from fans in their home country.
On the momentous occasion of International Fight Week in Las Vegas, Nevada, Rodriguez, the interim featherweight champion, will face Alexander Volkanovski in the main event to claim the undisputed belt. Simultaneously, Moreno, the reigning flyweight champion, will defend his title against Alexandre Pantoja in the co-main event. Additionally, the undercard will feature three more Mexican fighters, namely Yazmin Jauregui, Edgar Chairez, and Jesus Aguilar.
Rodriguez expressed his elation, stating, “It’s an incredibly special card, and I’m thrilled for everyone involved. We are all pursuing our dreams of becoming UFC fighters, and now we have the opportunity to showcase our capabilities to the world. It brings me immense joy.”
The success of Mexican MMA fighters has been soaring in recent times. Two years ago, Moreno made history by becoming the first Mexican-born champion in UFC after defeating Deiveson Figueiredo. Following in his footsteps, Rodriguez secured the interim featherweight belt by defeating Josh Emmett. Moreover, Alexa Grasso achieved a groundbreaking victory over Valentina Shevchenko, becoming the first Mexican UFC women’s champion in February.
The enthusiasm surrounding MMA in Mexico is palpable. Moreno remarked, “When I visit my hometown of Tijuana, I can sense the overwhelming support. It’s different now. The capital of Mexico also exudes immense backing. Previously, many were unaware of MMA, but that has changed.”
Capitalizing on the success of Mexican stars, the UFC is establishing a Performance Institute in Mexico to nurture future talent. Additionally, they recently announced a special event on September 16th, Mexican Independence Day, where Grasso will defend her flyweight title in a rematch against Shevchenko. Furthermore, UFC president Dana White confirmed that each Mexican champion will be awarded a customized belt reflecting Mexico’s colors.
Rodriguez believes that Mexico’s triumphs in the UFC have inspired a new generation of MMA enthusiasts. He shared, “It’s making a tremendous impact. People are now bringing their young children to gyms. Previously, boxing, karate, and taekwondo were more common, but now we witness the rise of MMA. I believe we have a bright future ahead. Mexican fans are incredibly passionate about combat sports, regardless of the discipline.”
Moreno echoed Rodriguez’s sentiments, stating, “I initially entered this sport for personal reasons—to prove my mettle inside the octagon. However, with all the success, I have become an inspiration to others. It brings me great joy when someone tells me that a young child is training because of me or when they tag me in social media posts. I motivate them, and it fills me with pride.”
Rodriguez faces a formidable opponent in Alexander Volkanovski, an undefeated fighter in the featherweight division with four successful title defenses. Volkanovski’s only UFC loss came when he moved up to challenge Islam Makhachev for the lightweight belt. Many fans and experts consider him the greatest featherweight of all time, a sentiment Rodriguez agrees with.
“He’s certainly at the top. I see him defeating opponents I couldn’t beat in the past. He has achieved great things and performed exceptionally well,” Rodriguez acknowledged. “However, I believe I bring something entirely different to the table. I understand it may sound repetitive, but that is genuinely what I believe. I envision victory and aspire to be among the best of all time. Fans enjoy watching my fights because I provide excitement. Even if I were to lose, I would always ensure the fans get an entertaining show. This Saturday, my focus is on securing the win.”
Meanwhile, Moreno prepares to defend his title against Alexandre Pantoja, aiming to put an end to their rivalry. Having fought each other four times, with one draw, one win for Figueiredo, and two wins for Moreno, the Mexican champion expresses gratitude for their contributions to the sport.
“I have mixed emotions. I am grateful to have fought Deiveson. Together, we achieved greatness and etched our names in the hall of fame,” Moreno acknowledged. “But now, I am thrilled to turn the page and face a new opponent. I had always trained with the same fighter in mind, and it became quite exhausting.”
Moreno previously faced Pantoja in 2018, losing by unanimous decision. After being temporarily released from the UFC, he returned over a year later, describing that period as a dark time. He holds no resentment toward Pantoja and is determined to showcase his growth as a fighter.
“Following that fight, I experienced a downward spiral in my personal life. It was a challenging period, a true test of my character. The voices in my mind tempted me to retire and pursue other paths. However, I remained focused and determined,” Moreno revealed. “I returned to the UFC as a rejuvenated Brandon Moreno and eventually went on to claim the championship. I take full responsibility for my actions against Pantoja. I don’t blame anyone but myself. I accepted my loss and utilized those experiences to regain control of my career. Now, I am ready to forge a new path.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Mexican UFC stars, representation
Who are Yair Rodriguez and Brandon Moreno?
Yair Rodriguez and Brandon Moreno are prominent Mexican fighters in the UFC. Rodriguez is the interim featherweight champion, while Moreno is the reigning flyweight champion.
What is UFC 290?
UFC 290 is a major UFC event where Yair Rodriguez and Brandon Moreno, along with other fighters, will be competing for titles during International Fight Week in Las Vegas, Nevada.
How have Yair Rodriguez and Brandon Moreno impacted Mexican MMA?
Yair Rodriguez and Brandon Moreno’s success in the UFC has brought increased attention to Mexican MMA. They have inspired a new generation of fighters, and their achievements have garnered tremendous support and enthusiasm from Mexican fans.
Who are the opponents for Yair Rodriguez and Brandon Moreno at UFC 290?
Yair Rodriguez will be facing Alexander Volkanovski, the title holder, in the main event for the undisputed featherweight belt. Brandon Moreno will defend his flyweight championship against Alexandre Pantoja in the co-main event.
What is the significance of Mexican fighters in the UFC?
Mexican fighters have made significant strides in the UFC, with Moreno becoming the first Mexican-born champion in UFC history. The success of Mexican fighters has led to increased interest in MMA in Mexico and has paved the way for the development of talent and recognition from the UFC.
Are there any other Mexican fighters on the UFC 290 card?
Yes, on the undercard of UFC 290, there are three more Mexican fighters: Yazmin Jauregui, Edgar Chairez, and Jesus Aguilar, who will be competing in their respective fights.