Marina Rodriguez and Michelle Waterson to headline UFC Vegas 26

UFC Vegas 26 has finally got itself a new main event as the organisation confirmed that Marina Rodriguez will take on Michelle Waterson this Saturday night.

The card was originally scheduled to be headlined by Cory Sandhagen taking on the returning former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw, but the latter was forced to withdraw last week after sustaining a cut in training.

It was expected that this bout would be installed as the main event, but it has taken a while to officially come together.

According to ESPN, both top strawweights will contest this bout at flyweight due to the short notice nature of the fight but it will remain five rounds as is typical of UFC main events.

Rodriguez is 3-1-2 in the UFC since making her debut in 2018 and is coming off a huge second round knockout win over Amanda Ribas at UFC 257 in January of this year. Her previous bout to that one saw her drop a split decision to former champion Carla Esparza, the first and only defeat of her career.

Waterson on the other hand is one of the more popular fighters in the UFC women’s ranks, and has won four of her last six fights including a decision win in her most recent bout against Angela Hill – which was also a short-notice main event, back in September last year.

Her two fights prior to that win were defeats to former UFC champions as Esparza also earned a split decision win over the ‘Karate Hottie’ while Joanna Jedrzejczyk beat her up for 25 minutes en route to a unanimous decision win.

Rodriguez is currently ranked at number six in the UFC rankings, while Waterson is ranked at number nine. A win for either women sets them up for a big fight against a potential top five opponent where they could be seen as genuine contenders for Rose Namajunas’ 115lbs title.

Elsewhere on the card, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone also has a new opponent in the co-main event of the card.

He was originally scheduled to face ‘The Ultimate Fighter 1’ winner Diego Sanchez, but after the veteran refused to provide a clear medical examination the fight was scrapped and the fighter released from the UFC.

Instead now, Alex Morono will step in on short-notice for the biggest fight of his career against the man with the most fights in octagon history.

‘Cowboy’ is winless in each of his last five fights in a row losing to Tony Ferguson, Justin Gaethje, Conor McGregor by knockout and Anthony Pettis by decision. He then fought Niko Price to a majority draw at UFC Vegas 11, but it was overturned to a no-contest after the fight after Price tested positive for marijuana.

Morono is 1-2 in his last three bouts, getting knocked out in 27 seconds by Khaos Williams and then beating Rhys McKee at UFC Vegas 14 via unanimous decision before getting beaten by Anthony Pettis himself at UFC Vegas 17 in December.

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