UFC Vegas 31 took a major hit when former featherweight champion Max Holloway was forced out of his headliner spot against Yair Rodriguez due to an undisclosed injury. Less than one month away, here are a look at four potential options to fill that main event spot.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) June 17, 2021
Yair Rodriguez vs. New Opponent
I understand Rodriguez’s hesitation taking on another opponent considering opportunities against fighters like Max Holloway don’t come around too often, but at the same time “El Pantera” hasn’t fought since October 2019. While the 28-year-old is ranked #3 in the division, keeping active is far more important than holding his current spot in the featherweight division. Giga Chikadze offered his services, but I understand Rodriguez declining that option due to the Kings MMA product is ranked #10. Still, names like Josh Emmett, Arnold Allen, and Edson Barboza would be notable replacement fighters, assuming all are available. We’re coming up to close to a week since this news broke and it appears Rodriguez wants to wait and see if a rescheduled fight with Holloway can happen, rather than fighting on the 17th.
Giga Chikadze says Yair Rodriguez is refusing to sign the contract to fight him next month 😬 https://t.co/2MLRPv82EE
— bjpenndotcom (@bjpenndotcom) June 21, 2021
Move Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson vs. Gilbert Burns A Week
It’s probably not happening, but an easy fix here would be taking Stephen Thompson vs. Gilbert Burns off UFC 264 and pushing it a week later. The benefit here is this pivotal welterweight matchup could be five rounds, instead of three rounds with it being the main event. Considering Kamaru Usman doesn’t have his next opponent booked, this matchup could produce the next title challenger and would have all eyes on this UFC Fight Night card. As opposed to getting lost in the shuffle with Conor McGregor’s trilogy fight against Dustin Poirier on UFC 264.
— Adam Martin (@MMAdamMartin) May 29, 2021
Bump Miesha Tate vs. Marion Reneau To The Headliner Spot
Some might not like this idea, but it’s a pretty big deal that former UFC champion Miesha Tate is coming out of retirement to fight Marion Reneau. This fight deserves attention and the best way to do that would be to give these women the main event spot. With nobody currently in line to face the winner of Amanda Nunes vs. Julianna Pena at UFC 265, a win for Tate could certainly put her in that conversation.
Former UFC bantamweight champion Miesha Tate is coming out of retirement, telling @bokamotoESPN on Wednesday that she has accepted a fight against Marion Reneau on July 17.
The UFC has not announced the fight or an event on that date, but it is expected to be a UFC Fight Night. pic.twitter.com/yNYDiQ3Dem
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) March 24, 2021