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UFC Mexico City – New Blood: Se llega ‘Lazy Boy’

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Despite making a rare appearance on Mexican soil this weekend (Sat., Feb. 24, 2024), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) largely contented itself with using its existing Latino talent, signing just a single Octagon newcomer. On this edition of “New Blood,” the series where I grudgingly admit that Fight Pass’s growing monopoly makes research easier, we check out a former Contender Series washout who’s since found his footing.

Dana White’s Contender Series - Rodriguez v Rivera

Photo by Chris Unger/DWCS LLC/Zuffa LLC

Luis “Lazy Boy” Ronaldo Rodriguez

Weight Class: Flyweight
Age: 24
Record: 15-2 (7 KO, 4 SUB)
Notable Victories: Edgar Cabello

Rodriguez entered Contender Series in 2020 as a fresh-faced 21-year-old, but ultimately lost a decision to Jerome Rivera. After a quick win in iKon, he found a home in Lux Fight League, racking up another four victories to secure a spot in the Octagon.

Three fights ago against Victor Moreno, Rodriguez was an eclectic mix of constant motion and loaded-up bombs. When he wasn’t circling, putting his hips into naked low kicks, or taunting, Rodriguez was sitting down on huge, looping left hands to the head and body from either stance. He’d lean so far and put so much behind them that he was straight-up looking at the ground at times.

The overconfidence vanished partway through the second when Moreno used Rodriguez’s overcommitment and general lack of any sort of defense to sting him with clean shots. The pair stayed neck-and-neck until the final seconds, when Rodriguez stumbled Moreno with a right hand that likely secured a split decision.

He’s been significantly more patient and straightforward in his last two bouts, stalking opponents while waiting for opportunities to counter, explode in with point-blank combinations, or fire off flying knees. Unfortunately, the defensive lapses are still there — he regularly walks into counters thanks to nonexistent head movement and his most recent opponent — .500 journeyman Angel Rodriguez — found consistent success by literally running after “Lazy Boy” and throwing heat as the latter retreated in a straight line with his hands down.

Though he does possess a strong chin, he doesn’t hit nearly hard enough to be this defensively inept.

I have nicer things to say about his grappling. Rodriguez possesses stout takedown defense, and while he does leave his hips exposed when loading up on punches, he’s very quick to scramble back to his feet and separate as soon as his back hits the mat. He can hit his own double-leg takedown if needed, and should opponents get too eager to force a scramble, he’s more than happy to jump on a guillotine.

Were it up to me, I’d have left Rodriguez to marinate in LFL for at least another year before calling him up to the big show. Honestly, though, I’m not sure that would be enough. Indeed, he gets some slack for being in his mid-20s, but someone heading into their nineteenth professional fight should not have this many technical shortcomings to their standup. His poor defense and ungainly offense make him one of the weaker members of UFC’s stacked Flyweight roster, especially since he lacks the wrestling skill to make use of his genuinely solid ground game.

The good news is that he’s debuting against another low-end fighter in Denys Bondar, who got his arm broken by the recently cut Malcolm Gordon in his UFC debut (watch it) and his face rearranged by Carlos Hernandez afterward (see it). That said, while Rodriguez should be able to keep it standing, Bondar’s wild slugging poses a threat that I’m not convinced Rodriguez can overcome.

His LFL bouts are on Fight Pass.


Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Mexico City fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Mexico City: “Moreno vs. Royval 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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