UFC Vegas 28 is showcase for the heavyweights, with Jairzinho Rozenstruik facing Augusto Sakai in the main event. In the co-main, it’s another heavyweight fight in Walt Harris and Marcin Tybura. In a middleweight bout, it was originally Duško Todorović vs. Maki Pitolo. Due to an injury to Pitolo, Gregory Rodrigues steps in on short notice against Todorovic.
Gregory “Robocop” Rodrigues
Standing at 6’3″
Fighting at 185 lbs (middleweight)
Fighting out of Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil
Training out of XGym
A pro record of 9-3
How will Rodrigues fare in the UFC:
Fresh off his big win last week, winning the LFA middleweight title, Rodrigues gets his well-deserved call-up to the UFC. Prior to his Contender Series loss last year I was really high on Rodrigues. Even suffering that loss I’m even more excited about his future.
Rodrigues is a jiu-jitsu world champing and an eight-time national champion. In MMA his jiu-jitsu is top notch and a force to be reckoned with. “Robocop” is a very big 6’3″ middleweight who is a physical beast. He has the capability to complete takedowns from the outside trapping a single leg and shooting for a double leg. When he’s tied up with another foe Rodrigues parades immense strength just muscling guys around. His judo is good and his body lock to trip takedowns are superb. The mat is Rodrigues’s world but his striking is strikingly dangerous. The Brazilian has good hands and a lot of power as well. His shot selection is usually on point as is his accuracy. He can lead forward with output and volume and counter off his back foot all just as good.
More and more Rodrigues has grown more contempt staying on the feet and that makes his jiu-jitsu so much more menacing. He’s such a big strong guy that his top position is pure lockdown. The moves he makes are always thought out and that doesn’t stop the fact he’s is always trying to finish the fight. Rodrigues hasn’t shown it recently but his submission game is alarming. He will threaten submissions in all positions on the mat but taking the back is something he excels in. Rodrigues is such a pest on the mat never being contempt to ride out a position. He’s always staying active with movement, ground and pound, and always tying up and attacking submissions. From the back, Rodrigues is very good at going straight to the armbar which is a beautiful transition.
Where he may fall short is his chin. He was knocked out in his pro debut and Jordan Williams knocked him out not even a year ago. His chin is up in the air and when he’s pressed backwards he struggles to get his head out of the way. His striking defense isn’t at all bad as it’s just his durability that is an issue. I like Rodrigues a lot and I think has a good future in the UFC. I don’t see him getting into the top 15 but maybe right outside that.
- Striking: B+
- Kickboxing: B
- Clinch: A-
- Wrestling: A-
- Grappling: A
- Striking Defense: C+
- Takedown Defense: B-
- Cardio: B-
- Biggest Strength: Jiu-jitsu
- Biggest Weakness: Chin
How he matches up with Todorovic:
Todorovic is coming off his first career loss, a knockout loss at that. It was from the hands of Punahele Soriano who is very much a power puncher. Both of these guys hit hard and both have been knocked out. I do think Todorovic has the better striking defense as his head movement is pretty good. Rodrigues on the other hand has more power in his hands. Rodrigues is much better on the mat with a superior skill-set. Todorovic is solid in the clinch and it’s probably where he shines the most. Given Rodrigues is the bigger, stronger fighter, I believe he will muscle Todorovic around. This is a good match-up for Rodrigues. Todorovic is no joke but compared to Rodrigues I think he’ll be a step behind.