Brian Ortega and Brandon Royval beat home favourites at UFC Mexico City

Brian Ortega and Brandon Royval upset the home favourites at UFC Mexico City on Saturday, with both men potentially setting up title shots.

In the co-main event, Ortega returned from a 19-month lay-off to face Yair Rodriguez – against whom the American suffered a shoulder injury in his last bout.

Rodriguez picked up the TKO on that occasion and started well on Saturday (24 February), scoring two knockdowns in quick succession, but Ortega survived and called on his grappling prowess to control the Mexican in round two. Then, in round three, Ortega submitted his fellow ex-title challenger with an arm triangle choke.

In the main event, Royval outpointed former two-time flyweight champion Brandon Moreno to avenge a 2020 loss to the Mexican – a TKO loss caused in part by an injury.

American Royval was a split-decision winner in Mexico City (48-47, 46-49, 48-47) as he bounced back from a points defeat by champion Alexandre Pantoja, to whom Moreno also lost in his previous fight.

For Royval, a rematch with Pantoja – who was ringside in the Mexican capital – could be next. Meanwhile, some fans expect Ortega to be named the first challenger of Ilia Topuria’s reign at 145lbs. Topuria knocked out Alexander Volkanovski to win the belt this month.