Quickly becoming the UFC’s most interesting weight class, the featherweight division is loaded with exciting talent. Every time you turn around, a new challenger appears. Charles Rosa and the featherweight winner of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America, Yair Rodriguez, are just two more talented additions to an already deadly division.

When these two top up-and-comers meet on the main card at UFC 188 on Saturday, June 13, 2015, fans will get to see firsthand who the division’s next big thing is. Both of these fighters have huge upside and the winner will likely be fast tracked up the featherweight ladder.

But as promising as Rodriguez is as just 22 and with only five pro bouts to his credit, he’s not quite ready for a fighter on Rosa’s level. Rosa has a ton of armature experience and has paid his dues on the regional circuit. Rodriguez is game and durable, but Rosa has more than enough tools to get the job done in Mexico City.

Dictate the Pace

Dictating the pace is an important component to winning just about any fight, but it is an especially important tool against young fighters. Rodriguez is only 22 and he has limited pro experience; that can be a dangerous combination if Rosa allows him to get off first. Young fighters really don’t know their limitations and that makes them dangerous and vulnerable all at the same time. Rosa needs to make Rodriguez fight his fight.

Pressure

As for the pace of the bout, Rosa should look to apply constant and unwavering pressure to the young Rodriguez. Rodriguez is a tough young man and he is not going to go down easy. Rosa will need to break his will and force him to make mistakes. Constant pressure is the best weapon against youth.

Dictate the Grappling Exchanges

Rosa has plenty of skill on the feet, but he is exceptionally dangerous on the ground. His setups and execution on the ground are simply brilliant. Rodriguez will be able to hold his own against most grapplers, but not Rosa. Once this fight hits the ground, it will only be a matter of time before Rosa forces Rodriguez to make a mistake. Once he does, Rosa will seal the deal and tap the youngster out.

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.