Christian Rodriguez had a tough assignment for his first UFC fight on Saturday night: up a weight class, on short notice, against a very tough featherweight in Jonathan Pearce.
The UFC Vegas 48 card saw Pearce and Rodriguez throw down early, after the deck was shuffled following Austin Lingo dropping out of the bout.
After both did some trading, it wasn’t even thirty seconds in before Pearce shot in for a takedown. He pressed Rodriguez against the fence working the takedown2, staying on it. Rodriguez showed solid takedown defense and good balance. Pearce got the takedown eventually but went right into a guillotine from Rodriguez. The choke was in very tight for a good amount of time but Pearce toughed through it. Both men were scrambling so well as Pearce kept threatening the back but Rodriguez kept his hips away. Not fully on the back but Pearce had the body lock and ended the round in a control.
Pearce looked winded to start round two and Rodriguez picked up his striking. He landed a few good right hands putting Pearce in a bad spot. Knowing he had to get the fight down Pearce shot in driving in on the hips and got the fight down. Nonstop movement from Rodriguez followed as he kept scrambling and got back to his feet. The fight hit the mat again and Rodriguez had an armbar in but the elbow was out. Constant wrestling from Pearce saw him get out of the armbar and get another takedown. In the final minute Pearce took the back. Rodriguez escaped and landed a nice right hand on the feet as the bell rang.
The gas tank was nearly empty for Pearce in round three. Rogriguez landed a few good right-hands before Pearce shot in. Rodriguez did defend better than usual and took the back. As they stood back up an elbow from Pearce landed and an even harder right hand from Rodriguez landed. That buckled Pearce but he got in on the legs and got the takedown. Rodriguez kept scrambling to get to his knees but Pearce was all over it taking the back. Pearce tried transitioning to an arm-triangle but re-took the back in the final minute. The fight ended with Pearce on the back.c
“CeeRod” proved to be a game opponent at UFC Vegas 48, demonstrating why he’d maintained an undefeated record prior to Saturday. Jonathan Pearce, meanwhile, earns his third win in the UFC— with his only loss since 2017 being to veteran Joe Lauzon.
Official Result: Jonathan Pearce def. Christian Rodriguez by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)