The Prelim Breakout Star is a once per event article that helps fans get to know those who will be entertaining them from the undercard. The intention of the article is not to bring attention to the most talented guy on the preliminary card, but rather one that the common fan may have overlooked or underestimated.
Even though this weekend’s big fight card took a bunch of big hits, there is still plenty of firepower on this card. Top to bottom, it’s one of the best cards in recent history and one of the first fights of the night should prove that.
Nickname – Bones/MRod
Affiliation – Lauzon MMA
From – Boston, Massachusetts
Height – 6’4″
Weight – 205 lbs (Light Heavyweight)
Record – 9-2 (0-0 UFC)
What makes him impressive
Sporting four straight first round finishes is an eye-catching aspect for any prospect signed by the UFC, but the most impressive part is how Rodriguez gets those (T)KOs. MRod does what every coach in the world wishes they could get Stefan Struve to do; uses his length extremely well. He pokes his snapping jab from a distance and uses it to get his opponent frustrated, often leading to a KO. Among his recent victories is a flying knee KO that he got while his opponent desperately dove in for a takedown and a push kick TKO. Both of these finishes show both his ability to get his opponents to run in after being frustrated and Rodriguez’s ability to capitalize.
Why he has been overlooked
After winning his contract in spectacular fashion on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, Rodriguez had a knee injury that kept him out of commission. After that, he was waiting for a booking a little longer than he would have liked, leading to a grand total of eight months on the shelf. Finally, this weekend he gets his chance to bring that hype back to the Bay State with him.
What makes this a good match-up
Devin Clark is a shorter light heavyweight at only 6’0″. On top of that, he lives off of takedowns. However, in his four-fight UFC career, he’s only been successful on 37% of his takedown attempts. When you factor in how long Rodriguez fights and how frustrated his opponents get, it would seem that this is not a good matchup for Clark.
Prelim Breakout Star Record: 139-61-1 (2 NC) (6 DNF)