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Alexander Volkanovski: Josh Emmett can beat Yair Rodriguez at UFC 284 if he uses 'all his MMA tools'

UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski thinks Josh Emmett needs to mix things up to find success against Yair Rodriguez.

Emmett (18-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) meets Rodriguez (14-3 MMA, 9-2 UFC) for the interim featherweight title on Feb. 11 at UFC 284 in Perth, Australia. The winner will unify the belt with Volkanovski.

Emmett has mainly shown off his hands since joining the UFC roster, scoring knockouts of Ricardo Lamas, Michael Johnson and Mirsad Bektic. He also holds the record for most knockdowns in a round at four when he repeatedly hurt Felipe Arantes in their fight in October 2017. But against a tricky and versatile striker like Rodriguez, Volkanovski believes Emmett has to use his wrestling.

“I feel like Josh Emmett will need to use all his tools,” Volkanovski said on Michael Bisping’s “Believe You Me” podcast. “Obviously he’s got the big hands, but I really think he’ll be able to land some bigger shots if he starts engaging in some wrestling and all that.

“I think he’s gonna be a lot more powerful than Yair, have Yair second guessing and worrying about other things so he can start landing hands and then get him on his back. It depends if he tries to use all his MMA tools. I think Josh Emmett can do it. If he just wants to stand there and bang, I think that favors Yair Rodriguez.”

On the same night Emmett and Rodriguez battle for a portion of the 145-pound title, Volkanovski will move up in weight to challenge lightweight champion Islam Makhachev in the main event.

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