Following a fast start in the opening round, Rodrigues slowed down slightly in the second, but he had no desire to go for the full five-minutes in the final stanza. As soon as the third round started, Rodrigues stormed forward with relentless pressure, unloading huge punches that tagged Tavares on the chin.
With Tavares retreating towards the fence, Rodrigues unleashed several devastating right hands in succession. After absorbing a ridiculous amount of punishment, the Hawaiian middleweight was saved by the referee. The stoppage came just 55 seconds into the third round as Rodrigues secured his fifth knockout win since joining the UFC roster.
“I’m everything,” Rodrigues said after his latest win. “I’m an MMA fighter. I’m prepared for everything. Much respect to Brad, he’s a warrior. I’m a complete fighter. I can bang. I just waited for the right moment to connect with my right hand. That opened the door to finish the fight.”
Rodrigues stormed out of the gate, looking to overwhelm Tavares from the very first exchange while also throwing several stinging calf kicks that did a lot of damage. Even with a golf-ball sized welt growing on his leg, Tavares persevered and continued coming right back at Rodrigues, especially in the second round when his straight punches chipped away at the Brazilian. Tavares was finally able to put Rodrigues on his back foot, and that made all the difference as the momentum started swinging in his direction.
That stopped rather dramatically in the third round, however, when Rodrigues decided to just empty the tank and throw everything at Tavares to get the finish. The strategy paid off, as Rodrigues just blasted away at Tavares with several right hands that landed flush.
With Tavares offering no signs of defending himself or returning fire, the referee stopped the fight to prevent further damage from being dished out.
The knockout puts Rodrigues on a two-fight win streak, and 4-1 over his past five fights, as he continues to prove he’s going to be a tough out for anybody in the middleweight division.