top of page

El Pantera: The Pride of Mexico

It’s no coincidence the UFC is making its return to Mexico City during the week of its annual celebration of Independence, otherwise known as Dies y Seis De Septiembre (the 16th of September). 

The UFC does a great job at loading up this cards with great Mexican talent and contenders but this card is one of the best “Fight Night” cards to hit Mexico City in recent memory.

A post shared by Irene Aldana – ufc – (@irene.aldana) on Sep 16, 2019 at 12:32pm PDT

The face of Mexican MMA for the longest time was Cain Velasquez and for many in MMA he is arguably one of the greatest to ever step foot in the octagon. However with his recent hiatus from MMA and uprising in wrestling or should I say Lucha Libre, the baton is there for the taking. 

With that being said, no other Mexican Mixed-Martial Artist has been more proud to bear the Mexican flag then that of Yair “El Pantera” Rodriguez (11-2) who epitomizes the heart of a true Mexican Warrior.

A post shared by Yair Rodriguez Portillo (@panteraufc) on Sep 16, 2019 at 9:38am PDT

No better example is needed of Yairs’ heart and Mexican spirit than his most recent fight against the Korean Zombie. In a fight where “El Pantera” was clearly down and about to lose the fight he baited the “Korean Zombie” into punching it out in the final 10 seconds and as luck or should I say, “buena suerte (good luck) “ would have it, Yair hit him with a ducking elbow knocking the Korean Zombie out-cold in the final second, literally, to secure a KO victory. 

Yair’s recent success doesn’t come without that of a past defeat. Being young (26 years old) and in a business that’s always looking for the next, potential, star comes with its fair share of pressure and growing pains. 

It was a lesson that Yair learned the hard way when his status as a contender was tested earlier in his career at UFC 211 when the UFC was eager to skyrocket his worth and matched him up in a title contention bout between Frankie Edgar. 

“El Pantera” was taken down repeatedly and eventually suffered a doctor’s stoppage loss in the 2nd rd when his eye was completely shut due to Edgars’ ground and pound.

Visibly disappointed in himself, Yair never looked for a way out in the fight and continued to fight through his adversity. It was that same Mexican spirit that found him on the right side of his most recent victory.

“El Pantera” will be headlining this weekend’s card in Mexico City against one of the most malicious strikers in the featherweight division. Jeremy “lil heathen” Stephens goes out there to finish you and with his back against the wall, Stephens’ is coming off two loses (Aldo and Zabit), he’s out for blood.

A post shared by Yair Rodriguez Portillo (@panteraufc) on Aug 10, 2019 at 11:18am PDT

Saturday Night inside the Mexico City Arena, Yair will need to mix the lessons he’s learned with the promise that he’s shown in order to gain the biggest victory of his career. In front of a “home” crowd, he’ll hope to add to his own legend of inching closer to becoming Mexico’s biggest MMA star, simply known as “El Pantera”. ■

7 views0 comments


bottom of page