UFC 284 Co-Main Event Prediction: The Interim Featherweight Championship Is on the Line, Who You Got?

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Josh Emmett and Calvin Kattar exchange strikes during their featherweight fight at the UFC Fight Night event at Moody Center on June 18, 2022 in Austin, Texas. Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/AFP

UFC Pick: Over 4 ½ Rounds (-170) at Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review)

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It’s been seven long months for the Aussies, but the UFC is finally returning to the Oceania continent for a highly anticipated PPV event in Australia, and we’ve got some expert analysis and best bets for the UFC 284 co-main event title bout.  

In the absence of Alexander Volkanovski, who’s challenging for the 155lb title on the same night, the featherweight champion’s next opponent will be decided when Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett compete for the 145lb championship.  

Read on for our complete betting guide taking a first look at this weekend’s co-main event clash between Rodriguez and Emmett, including the updated odds and our free expert UFC picks, predictions, and analysis. 

Yair Rodriguez vs. Josh Emmett

UFC 284 Interim Featherweight Championship Co-Main Event Bout  

Saturday, February 11, 2023 – 06:00 PM EST at RAC Arena

Yair Rodriguez  

  • Pro MMA Record: 14-3-0 (5 KOs, 3 submissions, 6 decisions) 
  • UFC Record: 9-2 (4 KOs, 5 decisions)  
  • Age: 30 
  • Height: 5'11" 
  • Reach: 71.0" 
  • Training Out Of: VFS Academy    
  • Origin Fighting Style: Taekwondo   

It’s been an extensive journey to reach the pinnacle of the UFC featherweight division. Still, after eight years of experience fighting for the world's most dominant MMA promotion, Yair Rodriguez is finally receiving his opportunity to add a championship to his accolades.   

First-Ever Latin American Featherweight Champ

In hopes of walking in the footsteps of his fellow compatriots Brandon Moreno and Cain Velasquez, Rodriguez could take a championship back to Mexico while earning the right to challenge Alexander Volkanovski for the undisputed featherweight title.  

Rodriguez has long wowed the MMA fan base with a flamboyant and daring striking style in the octagon, which evidently evolved from his Taekwondo background. However, he’ll need to overcome the stocky stature and brute force of Josh Emmett before he can celebrate becoming the first-ever Latin American featherweight champion.     

Yair Rodriguez Best Available Odds: -170 at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

Josh Emmett   

  • Pro MMA Record: 18-2-0 (6 KO/TKO, 2 submissions, 10 decisions) 
  • UFC Record: 9-2 (3 KO/TKO, 6 decisions)  
  • Age: 37 
  • Height: 5'6" 
  • Reach: 75.0" 
  • Training Out Of: Jackson-Wink MMA   
  • Origin Fighting Style: Wrestling 

Much like his Saturday night opponent, the journey for Josh Emmett to the top of the featherweight division has been long and grueling. But impressively, the Arizona native has obtained a 9-2 UFC record since joining the promotion in 2016 and is currently riding a 5-fight win streak with huge victories over notable MMA figures such as Shane Burgos, Dan Ige, and former title challenger Calvin Kattar.   

Power Over Wrestling

Regarding fight styles, Emmett is one of the rare cases who doesn’t utilize his most domineering skills. Due to the confidence in his offensive striking and knockout power, the Team Alpha Male product has often neglected the 14-year wrestling experience he owns in an attempt to power punch his way to victory.  

Of course, this is MMA, and Emmett has mixed up his offense behind some grappling in the past, but there’s no denying that he’s fallen in love with his hands and embraces a firefight inside the octagon whenever possible.    

Josh Emmett Best Available Odds: +146 at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

UFC 284: Rodriguez vs. Emmett Fight Analysis  

Rodriguez Fight Style & How Can Rodriguez Beat Emmett?

Whether it’s intentional or not, Rodriguez is entertaining with his striking offense and loves to put on a show. His selection of strikes from the outside can range from spinning attacks, high kicks, wheel kicks, low kicks, and almost every kickboxing, taekwondo, and karate style of striking in the book.  

From the inside, he’ll throw elbows and a hook or two, but he prefers to stay on the outside and attempt to land a fight-ending, which often highlight-reel attempts by default of his style. Rodriguez will own a speed and movement advantage, and he’ll need to keep his distance and maintain a high output of strikes while avoiding clinch situations to defeat Emmett.   

Emmett’s Fight Style & How Can Emmett Beat Rodriguez?

Emmett also enjoys striking, but a plodding, traditional boxing style is quite the opposite of Rodriguez. Therefore, the American will want to close the distance and engage in a firefight inside the pocket to gain an offensive striking advantage. His wrestling could be a difference-maker here, but he may be nervous about utilizing this blueprint, considering it’s a five-round bout and a steady gas tank must be maintained.   

Odds & Betting Picks 

The UFC odds have Rodriguez as a -170 favorite, but I believe this contest is a coin flip. It’s easy to side with Rodriguez because he presents an exciting style you want to cheer on. However, Emmett has surfaced as a commendable underdog on multiple occasions through his determination and never-say-die attitude.  

The key component of each fighter heading into this championship bout is their durability. And with a combined professional record of 37 fights, there has been one stoppage loss. With a championship up for grabs, I don’t expect either man to give up so easily, thus making the over 4.5 rounds our best bet for the UFC 284 co-main event.   

American UFC fans can make their bets at any of these top US betting sites.

UFC Pick: Over 4 ½ Rounds (-170) at Bookmaker

UFC 284 Main Card & Odds 

UFC 284 Preliminary Card & Odds 

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.