Yair “El Pantera” Rodriguez: A Mexican Mauler in the UFC


Yair Rodriguez, also known as “El Pantera” (The Panther), is a Mexican mixed martial artist currently setting the Featherweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) on fire. With a fighting style as exciting as his nickname, Rodriguez has garnered a reputation for spectacular knockouts and a never-say-die attitude. This article delves into the life and career of this Mexican mauler, exploring his journey from regional circuits to the pinnacle of MMA, the UFC.

Early Life and Beginnings in MMA

Born on October 6, 1992, in Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico, Yair Rodriguez’s path to MMA wasn’t entirely conventional. Unlike many fighters who discover combat sports at a young age, Rodriguez gravitated towards Taekwondo during his teenage years. However, his interest in striking soon evolved into a fascination with the complete combat style of MMA.

Rodriguez made his professional debut in 2011 at a local Mexican promotion called Mexican Fighter Promotions (MFP). He kickstarted his career with a unanimous decision victory, showcasing his well-rounded skillset. The following year, he notched another win via submission, but his first professional setback arrived in December 2012 with a first-round knockout loss. This defeat proved to be a turning point, as Rodriguez bounced back with a dominant first-round knockout victory in his next fight.

The Ultimate Fighter Latin America: A Star is Born

In 2014, Rodriguez’s career took a significant leap forward when he secured a spot on The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America, a reality show searching for the next generation of UFC talent. This was a golden opportunity for Rodriguez to showcase his skills on a global stage. He dominated the competition, defeating Chris Gruetzmacher, Daniel Pineda, and Leonardo Morales to reach the finals. In a thrilling finale, Rodriguez faced Max Holloway, a future UFC Featherweight Champion, in a closely contested bout. Despite a valiant effort, Rodriguez dropped a split decision, but his performance had undeniably impressed the UFC brass.

UFC Arrival and Early Accolades

Rodriguez officially entered the UFC octagon in 2014. He wasted no time establishing himself as a fan favorite, racking up three consecutive stoppage victories, two by knockout and one by submission. These wins included a spectacular flying elbow knockout against Charles Rosa at UFC 197, a moment forever etched in UFC highlight reels.

Rodriguez’s next fight was a turning point in his career. He faced Alex Caceres in a fight that was later deemed a No Contest due to an accidental eye poke. However, the bout showcased Rodriguez’s resilience. Despite suffering significant damage, he battled back and nearly finished the fight in the final round.

Championship Aspirations and Rise to the Top

Following the No Contest, Rodriguez secured two more impressive victories, including a dominant decision win over the highly-regarded BJ Penn. This win propelled him into the Featherweight title picture. In 2019, he received his first shot at UFC gold, challenging the reigning champion, Jose Aldo, for the Interim UFC Featherweight Championship.

The fight against Aldo was an instant classic. Rodriguez displayed exceptional striking technique and championship-caliber heart. Though he ultimately dropped a close decision, the bout cemented his status as a top contender in the Featherweight division.

Recent Challenges and Current Standing

Since the Aldo fight, Rodriguez has encountered some setbacks. He suffered back-to-back losses to Frankie Edgar and Josh Emmett. However, his fighting spirit remains unbreakable. In his most recent fight in February 2024, he showcased his explosiveness yet again, putting away Brian Kelleher with a vicious spinning back kick in the first round.

As of June 2024, Yair Rodriguez sits at #4 in the UFC Featherweight rankings. With a well-rounded skillset, exciting fighting style, and unwavering determination, Rodriguez is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with in the 145-pound division.

Beyond the Octagon: A peek into Rodriguez’s life

Outside the octagon, Rodriguez is known for his humble and respectful demeanor. He is a devout Christian and often credits his faith for his strength and perseverance. He is also a dedicated family man, frequently expressing his gratitude for his wife and children.

A peek into Rodriguez’s social media reveals a glimpse into his training regimen, which emphasizes a blend of striking techniques, wrestling, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He is known for his powerful kicks, exceptional agility, and a knack for pulling off highlight-reel knockouts.

What’s Next for Yair “El Pantera” Rodriguez?

With his recent win and his position in the rankings, Yair Rodriguez is well-positioned for another shot at UFC gold. The Featherweight division is currently stacked with talented.]


Who is Yair Rodriguez?

Yair Raziel Rodriguez Portillo, better known as “El Pantera” (The Panther), is a 31-year-old Mexican professional mixed martial artist. He currently fights in the UFC’s Featherweight division and is a former Interim UFC Featherweight Champion.

What is Yair Rodriguez’s record?

As of February 27, 2024, Rodriguez holds a professional record of 18 wins, 5 losses, and 1 No Contest.

What is Yair Rodriguez’s fighting style?

El Pantera is known for his exciting, kickboxing-heavy style. He is a powerful striker with impressive knockout potential.

When did Yair Rodriguez make his UFC debut?

Rodriguez joined the UFC in 2014 after winning The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America featherweight tournament.

Has Yair Rodriguez ever won a UFC championship?

Yes! Rodriguez captured the Interim UFC Featherweight Championship in 2021.

What is Yair Rodriguez’s current ranking in the UFC Featherweight division?

As of June 1, 2024, Yair Rodriguez sits at #4 in the UFC Featherweight rankings.

Who is Yair Rodriguez’s next fight against?

There is no official announcement about Rodriguez’s next opponent as of June 1, 2024.

Where can I watch Yair Rodriguez’s fights?

Yair Rodriguez’s UFC fights are typically broadcast on UFC Pay-Per-View or streamed on ESPN+ depending on the event.

Does Yair Rodriguez have any social media?

Yes, Yair Rodriguez is active on social media platforms like Instagram (@yairpanteraufc).

What’s next for Yair Rodriguez?

With his exciting fighting style and ranking in the top contenders, Yair Rodriguez is expected to be back in action soon, likely facing a top-ranked Featherweight contender in his next fight.

To read more, Click here

About the author


Add Comment

By Snehasish

Get in touch

Content and images available on this website is supplied by contributors. As such we do not hold or accept liability for the content, views or references used. For any complaints please contact babumanish.kuwar@gmail.com. Use of this website signifies your agreement to our terms of use. We do our best to ensure that all information on the Website is accurate. If you find any inaccurate information on the Website please us know by sending an email to babumanish.kuwar@gmail.com and we will correct it, where we agree, as soon as practicable. We do not accept liability for any user-generated or user submitted content – if there are any copyright violations please notify us at babumanish.kuwar@gmail.com – any media used will be removed providing proof of content ownership can be provided. For any DMCA requests under the digital millennium copyright act Please contact: babumanish.kuwar@gmail.com with the subject DMCA Request.