Tag Archives: Michelle Waterson

UFC Long Island: Ortega vs Rodriguez – Main card predictions

The UFC heads to Long Island for a fight night event with a live crowd, as two featherweight contenders go head-to-head in the main event when Brian Ortega takes on Yair Rodriguez.

A very solid card will see plenty of excellent fights, with the 145-pound eliminator bout right at the top of the card. We’ll also see the likes of Li Jingliang, Michelle Waterson, Jack Shore, Shane Burgos and Miesha Tate.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 58 we went 7/11 with two perfect picks, moving us to 656/1020 (64.31%) with 281 perfect picks (42.84%). You can check out our full picks history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims and then picking the rest of the prelims here, we move on to the main card now.


Lauren Murphy (15-5) vs Miesha Tate (19-8) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

An interesting flyweight bout that was rescheduled after a late cancellation off UFC 276. Murphy saw a five-fight win streak snapped when she challenged Valentina Shevchenko for the title in her last bout, getting dominated at UFC 266 for a KO defeat. Tate won on her UFC return against Marion Reneau, but was beaten last time out by Ketlen Vieira via decision.

Murphy is a great striker, no two ways about it. She’s a rangy fighter who looks to use her size to kick and hit strikes from distance, claiming eight wins via knockout in her career. She has just one KO win since 2016 though. Tate on the other hand is a bit of an all-rounder, but it’s her wrestling that separates her from other fighters and got her a world championship once upon a time. If she’s going to win this bout, then she’s got to work that wrestling to the best of her ability.

Tate is a dog, in the sense that she never gives in and is always persevering. Murphy is undoubtedly going to look to box and use her jab, but Tate will walk forwards until she gets her hands on her and as the naturally bigger fighter she shouldn’t struggle to get the fight down. Once it’s there, she’s in her own world and she should be able to dominate the fight. I don’t think she’ll be able to get the finish, but that advantage should be able to claim her the victory at the very least.
PICK – Miesha Tate via Decision

Shane Burgos (14-3) vs Charles Jourdain (13-4-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

An absolutely insane fight at featherweight between two of the division’s most exciting athletes. Burgos snapped a two-fight losing streak when he earned a decision over Billy Quarantillo at UFC 268, while Jourdain is on a two-fight win streak with a decision against Andre Ewell before submitting Lando Vannata last time out.

Burgos is a terrific boxer with superb hand speed and power as well as counter striking. He does however also get hit an awful lot and relies heavily upon his durability to get into all-out wars with his opponents. Jourdain is also someone who looks to get into wars to try and catch his opponents with his speed and power. This is going to be a war, no doubt about it.

Stylistically they’re very similar, but I do feel that Burgos is the more powerful and more technical striker. Jourdain has never been KO’d before in his career, but Burgos is the best fighter he’s ever come up against. With a big reach advantage to work with, I expect Burgos will use his jab effectively and be able to land first in the wild exchanges to be able to claim a FOTN bonus and a win on the judge’s scorecards.
PICK – Shane Burgos via Decision

Matt Schnell (15-6) vs Sudumaerji (16-4) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A fun flyweight scrap between two top guys in the division up next. Schnell has picked up just one win in his last four, suffering a submission defeat to Brandon Royval in the first round back at UFC 274. Sudumaerji on the other hand has won three in a row, with a decision win over Zarrukh Adashev in his most recent bout back at UFC Fight Island 8 in January 2020.

Schnell is an excellent submission artist, with eight victories by way of tap out in his career. He’s a very good wrestler and has got solid striking too, but he struggles to mix things together which often leaves him in limbo. Sudumaerji on the other hand is a powerful striker with great footwork, but he struggles against takedowns and his grappling isn’t the best. These two are essentially polar opposites when it comes to fight styles.

I expect Sudumaerji will stay on the outside and use his striking skills while trying to maintain distance, while Schnell will look to close him down against the cage to get the fight into his submission world. The fact it’s orthodox vs southpaw means Sudumaerji’s striking will be even more at an advantage because his power strikes will have more space to land. With that, I think he should be able to push on past Schnell and higher up the rankings to claim an impressive win.
PICK – Sudumaerji via Knockout, Round 2



Li Jingliang (18-7) vs Muslim Salikhov (18-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A very fun welterweight scrap up next. Li is seen as a top prospect in the weight class despite being 34, but got dominated by Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 267 before being choked out last time out. Salikhov is on a five-fight win streak, with his last three all coming via decisions.

Li is a powerful striker who has got explosive traits and also got solid grappling skills too, as proven in his five submission wins during his career. Salikhov on the other hand is one of the most skilled strikers in MMA history, although his volume and technique outweighs his power these days. This fight depends on which approach Li takes in all honesty, because he’s capable of going both ways.

Salikhov will strike no matter what. Li prefers to strike when he has the opportunity, but he will know that is a dangerous game against someone as skilled as “King of Kung Fu”. That means he could look to mix it up and use his grappling here and he will have a big advantage in that field. If he just chooses to strike he’ll probably lose, but I don’t expect that to be his game plan and he should be able to grapple enough to earn the win.
PICK – Li Jingliang via Decision

Michelle Waterson (18-9) vs Amanda Lemos (11-2-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

Considering the calibre of fight on show on this card, this co-main event is a little underwhelming. Waterson has lost three of her last four fights, with Marina Rodriguez claiming a decision against her last time out. Lemos on the other hand saw a five-fight win streak snapped last time out when she was submitted by Jessica Andrade in the first round.

Waterson’s nickname “The Karate Hottie” explains her style off the bat. She has a stand-up stance that keeps her distance and she likes to use kicks and manage distance well, but she’s also a pretty good grappler with decent wrestling skills in her back pocket. Lemos is a powerhouse striker on the feet, with seven wins in her career via KO who comes forward and knows she can end fights in an instant. This seems like quite a lopsided fight.

Lemos has a huge power advantage and will come forward with pressure plenty. Waterson will use her sidekick to try to maintain distance, but once Lemos gets past that she’s in danger. While I don’t think Waterson will be KO’d as she is pretty durable, Lemos is powerful enough to cause plenty of damage and keep the fight standing for the most part to claim a win.
PICK – Amanda Lemos via Decision

Brian Ortega (15-2) vs Yair Rodriguez (14-3) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Fight of the night and one of the most exciting match ups of the year. Ortega has fought for the title in two of his last three fights and been dominated, with Alexander Volkanovski smashing him at UFC 266 in his last outing. He dominated the Korean Zombie in between those fights though at UFC Fight Island 6. Rodriguez saw a three fight unbeaten run snapped by Max Holloway last time out, in one of the best fights of 2021 at UFC Vegas 42.

Ortega is a lethal jiu-jitsu practitioner with some of the best submissions in the UFC, but his striking has improved massively in recent years and he’s now a confident boxer too. Rodriguez on the other hand is an incredible striker with some of the best kicks in the UFC, with incredible speed and power on the end of them. His grappling defence isn’t the greatest though, as Holloway showed by taking him down and controlling him in the last fight. Stylistically, this is undoubtedly an incredible close fight.

Both guys will be happy to stand and strike, and if that’s the case then Ortega will be in trouble. He has been out-struck a lot in his career but his boxing is decent and any kicks will give him the chance to catch them and take the fight to the ground. If the fight is to end via knockout then it’s more likely to be a Rodriguez win, but with Ortega’s sensational grappling skills he seems to have more paths to victory and that leans me towards him getting the fight down to the mat and finding “El Pantera”‘s neck eventually to claim an impressive win.
PICK – Brian Ortega via Submission, Round 3

UFC Vegas 26 Fallout: Rodriguez the real deal at 115lbs, Cerrone done?

A card largely thrown together on short notice delivered some pretty decent scraps in the end as UFC Vegas 26 marked the rise of a new contender and potentially the end of a legend.

In the main event, number six ranked strawweight Marina Rodriguez took on number nine ranked strawweight Michelle Waterson in a five-round flyweight fight due to the short-notice nature of it.

Rodriguez used her size and power advantage to dominate the fight for the most part, landing big combinations and walking Waterson down. ‘Karate Hottie’ did well with her kicking game to keep moving and she beat up the lead leg of Rodriguez to hold her own, but being a natural atomweight the weight class was just too big.

While Waterson did have big joy on the ground in the fourth round, landing some vicious elbows and causing big problems for Rodriguez. Once the round ended and they got back to their feet though, Rodriguez made sure it didn’t happen again and continued to land some nice flurries to ensure she earned the victory.

Following the unanimous victory which should now see her move into the top five of the rankings despite the fight happening in a different weight class, she called to face off against the former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk in her next fight.

Jedrzejczyk hasn’t fought since a defeat to Weili Zhang in one of the greatest women’s mixed martial arts history back in February 2020 at UFC 248. It means she has now lost four of her last six fights, with all of them coming in title fights. Despite that, she remains one of the standard bearers for the 115lbs division and a fight against Rodriguez would be fantastic spectacle.

While we saw a new contender rise in one division, we saw potentially the end of a legend’s career in another as Donald Cerrone was knocked out in the first round of his co-main event against Alex Morono.

‘Cowboy’ was scheduled to face Diego Sanchez in a grudge match before the Ultimate Fighter 1 winner was released on medical grounds. That meant Morono stepped in on about one-weeks notice and put his stamp on the fight early.

He landed big right hands and some brutal body shots before a wild overhand right caught Cerrone cold and started proceedings for the end of the bout. It means Cerrone has now lost five of his last six, with the only anomaly being a no-c ontest against Niko Price. Even that fight against Price was originally a draw, only because Price had a point deducted during the fight for a couple of eye pokes.

While Cerrone insisted after the fight that he wasn’t done and didn’t want to see his legacy end this way, it’s hard to see a way back for him. The welterweights are beating him up and four of those five defeats have come by way of vicious knockout and there just isn’t any need for him to take more damage.

The UFC should look to promote him to a backstage role, in a similar way to Forest Griffin and stop allowing him to take unnecessary punishment at his age.

Also a quick shoutout to Neil Magny, whose excellent performance against Geoff Neal moved him up to 18 wins in the welterweight division in the UFC – just one behind the all-time record of Georges St-Pierre. After a win where he used his cardio as a weapon and long rangy jab, ‘The Haitian Sensation’ called out Vicente Luque for a possible fight in August which would be a very fight bout too, although Khamzat Chimaev was quick to get on Twitter and call him out too.

UFC Vegas 26: Rodriguez vs Waterson – Results (Highlights)

**Ryan Benoit missed weight and wasn’t cleared medically to compete, so his fight with Zarrukh Adashev was cancelled.

Phillipe Lins fell ill before the weigh-ins and wasn’t able to get on the scales, so his fight with Ben Rothwell was cancelled.

Amanda Ribas and a member of her corner team tested positive for COVID-19 hours before the event, so her bout with Angela Hill was cancelled.

The card will proceed with nine fights.**


PRELIMS

Carlston Harris def Christian Aguilera via Submission (Anaconda Choke), Round 1 (2:52)

Positive start for Aguilera in the opening minute as he tries to close the distance with strikes but Harris grabs him and looks for the takedowns. Aguilera is able to stay on his feet though and lands a big uppercut that seems to rock Harris. Harris stays calm and starts using his range well with kicks to recover, then lands a big left hand of his own that hurts Aguilera! Harris lands a nice right hand down the middle and then Aguilera shoots for a takedown to try and recover. Harris sprawls, locks up Aguilera’s neck with an anaconda choke and puts him to sleep! What a debut win!

Jun Yong Park def Tafon Nchukwi via Majority Decision (30-25, 29-26, 28-28

Good start to the fight from both men, as they both look to take the centre and be first ahead of their opponent. Park doing well behind his jab, using his great speed advantage to land well but Nchukwi is throwing good strikes too with more power. Park establishing the jab really well and trying to get Nchukwi to throw more so he can counter back. Nchukwi goes for an inside low kick but lands on the cup of Park and causes a pause in the action. Action resumes and Park continues with the jabs, both men trade leg kicks and the round ends. 10-9 Park.

Better start to the round for Nchukwi this time as he fakes a few times and lands a nice flurry of strikes to the face of Park. Park responds with his jabs once again but Nchukwi starting to throw some powerful kicks to the body. Park catches one of those kicks and looks for a takedown against the cage with it and gets a front headlock. Nchukwi fighting the hands and throws a knee to the body but misses and hits the cup once again for another low blow. The referee deducts one point from Nchukwi. Park continues to land his jab and come forward with his speed advantage and then changes levels for a takedown. Nchukwi reverses it with pure power and ends up on top but can’t land any damage before Park is able to work his way back up to the feet and start landing the jab again. Nchukwi goes in for a takedown but Park stops him with a headlock. Nchukwi uses pure power to lift him but Park locks in a guillotine and it’s tight, but the buzzer goes to end the round and save him. 20-17 Park.

Good exchanges at the start of the final round as Park’s jab goes to work once again while Nchukwi looks to come forward with a bit more urgency. A few low kicks from Nchukwi and some big swings with his right hand, but Park rolling well and is able to jab away with ease. Park changes levels and gets a takedown against the cage and is starting to wear on Nchukwi, putting all his weight on him and dragging him to and from. Park gets into three-quarter mount and starts throwing big elbows and heavy strikes, looking for a choke and big ground-and-pound as we enter the final 90 seconds. Nchukwi is bleeding badly but Park eases up on the mauling as the round ends and that’s a very dominant win. 30-25 for me.

Mike Trizano def Ludovit Klein via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Nice, tactical start to the fight from both guys as Trizano takes the centre and forces Klein backwards immediately. Klein lands a nice one two and Trizano responds with a right hand of his own before the exchange body kicks. Trizano’s pressure is forcing Klein to fight backwards and he’s struggling to get his attack going, but Trizano not landing much of his own. Klein shoots in with a nice double-leg takedown and gets Trizano down against the cage and tries to wrap his legs up Khabib-style. Trizano works his way back to his feet and the clinch and the round comes to an end. 10-9 Klein for me but it was close.

Nice right hand lands early on in the second round that puts Klein on his heels as Trizano continues his forward pressure. Klein goes for a head kick that just misses but follows it up with a nice right hand and a big left behind it. Klein shoots for a takedown again but Trizano is wise to it and stuffs it this time. Nice inside kick from Trizano as he forces Klein backwards again, but Klein explodes forward and lands a big left hand again. Trizano landing his jab well as he continues to push Klein backwards but he keeps bursting forwards with nice flurries. Klein bursts forward once more and gets another takedown and ends the round on top, but Trizano active off his back with body shots and should take that round. 19-19 for me.

Forward pressure once again from Trizano and it pays dividends early as he lands a big right hand that rocks Klein! Klein goes for a desperate takedown to survive and Trizano stuffs it, but Klein moves and manages to shake the cobwebs for now. Klein lands a nice left hand of his own but Trizano eats it, then Klein lands a nice leg kick. Body kick from Klein lands and Trizano goes for a right straight to the body. Trizano starting to land his strikes more as he forces Klein backwards and it forces another takedown from Klein. They get back up and then Klein takes him down again, but Trizano looks to sink in a guillotine but runs out of time. 29-28 Trizano for me but could go either way.

MAIN CARD

Phil Hawes def Kyle Daukaus via Unanimous Decision (30-26 x2, 29-27)

Big pressure early on from Hawes as he backs Daukaus against the cage, while Daukaus looks to keep him at range. A few wild exchanges from both on the feet and Hawes goes in for a takedown early. He gets him down and passes the legs, but Daukaus holds on to the neck and it looks like Hawes has a Von Flute choke in. Daukaus elevates his hips and sweeps Hawes to end up on top and starts looking for control. Hawes eventually gets back to the feet and Daukaus goes in for a takedown again immediately but Hawes defends really well and the rest of the round plays out in a stalemate. 10-9 Daukaus for controlling the grappling against the cage.

Huge start to the second round from Daukaus as he comes out swinging with short hooks and combinations. He lands six or seven big punches and Hawes looks badly hurt on the feet before Hawes is able to clinch up and stall until he has recovered. They separate and Hawes lands a few strikes of his own and Daukaus gets wobbled! Daukaus immediately clinches up too but Hawes then breaks with a big elbow. Nice right hand against from Hawes and they clinch up, then both throw a knee at the same time but Hawes hits the cup to cause a pause. Action resumes and Hawes goes back to working the body with big hooks, slowing Daukaus down as the round ends. 19-19.

Final round and Hawes lands a big right hand early before shooting in for a takedown and getting the fight down. Daukaus trying to be very active off his back, but Hawes defending everything well and landing some nice short strikes from top position. Daukaus looks to sweep again but Hawes denies it and goes back to the ground pound, going body-head. Hawes starts landing heavy shots and forces Daukaus to try and cover up and the referee is threatening to call the fight off here. He moves enough to supress that, but Hawes is working brilliantly from top position and in complete control. Final 30 seconds and Hawes continues the ground and pound to win the round and probably the fight. Great performance. 29-28 Hawes.

Gregor Gillespie def Diego Ferreira via Knockout, Round 2 (4:51)

Interesting start to the fight as Gillespie takes the centre and lets off a nice left hook. Ferreira shoots a few strikes of his own before Gillespie goes for the early takedown, but the Brazilian defends with submission attempts and eventually gets back up to the feet. Gillespie shoots for another takedown but it’s denied, then Ferreira lets off a couple of right hands that have wobbled him! Gillespie keeps going to the well for the takedown but Ferreira is scrambling brilliantly and using his jiu-jitsu to escape regularly. Ferreira scrambles and sweeps to Gillespie’s back with hooks in, going for a choke and ground and pound but the round ends. 10-9 Ferreira.

Second round and Gillespie looks tired but he’s shooting in for the takedowns still and avoiding the big swings of Ferreira. Lots of scrambling on the ground and Ferreira looks for a kimura from the bottom but Gillespie just keeps moving and floating to the next position as Ferreira is tiring. Gillespie starts landing some big strikes and threatening with chokes of his own and is really wearing on Ferreira. Gillespie takes his back, flattens him out and starts landing big elbows and strikes and the referee steps in to end the fight! Huge win for Gregor Gillespie!!

Marcos Rogerio de Lima def Maurice Greene via Unanimous Decision (30-26 x2, 30-27)

Fast start to the heavyweight bout as de Lima starts throwing wild hooks looking to take Greene’s head off. Both men swing and miss for the most part before they clinch up and de Lima takes the fight down to the ground in Greene’s full guard. Nice ground and pound from de Lima from top position as he’s putting some big pressure on to win the round. 10-9 de Lima.

Second round and immediately de Lima gets the fight down to the ground and gets control. Lots of control and ground and pound from top position as Greene looks to tie him up but it’s just more and more control and ground and pound. As the buzzer goes to end the round, Lima throws a big bomb and Herb Dean gives him a very serious warning. 20-18.

Third and final round and once again de Lima gets a very early takedown into top position and controlling the fight. Plenty of ground and pound again from de Lima as Greene just continues to accept bottom position and get beaten up. This is a completely one-sided fight and relatively pointless as the round ends. 30-27 for me because of a lack of damage, but could be a 10-8 for each round in reality.

Neil Magny def Geoff Neal via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Great start to the round from Neal as he steps forward quickly and immediately puts Magny on the back foot. Nice straight shots as Magny looks to throw a kick or two, but Neal catches it and pushes him back to the cage. Nice one-two lands from Neal before they clinch up and Magny starts to throw some nice knees to the body. Magny bursts forward with a flurry of punches to get a clinch, but Neal takes him across to the cage. Magny changes levels and gets a takedown and looks to take the back, but Neal spins out and gets back to the feet once again. Another clinch against the cage as the round ends. 10-9 Neal.

Magny looking to up the pressure a bit in the second now as he starts throwing some kicks to the body and nice flurries to the head too. Neal doing well to block most of them though and firing back with some nice combinations of his own. Neal clinches and gets a nice trip before a big left hand lands, but Magny gets up and then shoots for a takedown of his own. Neal sprawls and puts Magny against the cage. Nice straight left lands from Neal before Magny goes for a single leg takedown but Neal defends it relatively well until Magny changes the angle and is able to take the back with a body lock. Magny is able to escape it again as they go back to trading in the centre. Magny just touching him with more jabs and kicks as Neal’s output is starting to slow a little. Another clinch against the cage and Neal lands a big elbow as the round ends. 19-19, great fight.

Neal looking to close the distance in the third but trying to avoid a clinch situation, as Magny continues to throw out jabs that are barely landing. Magny definitely the more active of the two, but not much damage being done by either guy at the moment. Neal stuffs a Magny takedown attempt, as he starts to walk Magny down more. Nice one-two lands against the cage but Magny immediately grabs him and clinches before separating and landing some nice jabs. Neal looking frustrated now and Magny gets hold of him and drags him down to the mat, but Neal gets back up quickly once again. Final 30 seconds and Neal lands a huge straight left but Magny sees out the round with with jabs to probably take the win. 29-28 Magny.

Alex Morono def Donald Cerrone via Knockout, Round 1 (4:40)

Fast start from Morono as he charges out into the centre, but Cerrone grabs hold of him and clinches up against the cage to drain that early start out of him. Morono swinging bombs as they separate but Cowboy avoiding it for now and landing a few shots of his own. Nice body kick from Cerrone and then Morono swings in hard again, but Cerrone changes levels and goes for a takedown that is denied. Morono gets a trip of his own but allows Cerrone up and hits him with a right hand on his way up. Morono throws a big right hand that lands clean on Cerrone and he’s backing up. Cerrone throws a left hand and Morono ducks under and a huge looping left overhand cracks Cerrone clean! He’s badly hurt and Morono goes for the finish, throwing a big body shot and knees to the head. Big right hands again from Morono and the referee steps in with Cowboy out on his feet! Wow! What a knockout win for Morono!

Marina Rodriguez def Michelle Waterson via Unanimous Decision (48-47, 49-46 x2)

Slow start to the fight in this one as both women look to feel each other out early on, with Waterson throwing some hard leg kicks that are just missing. Rodriguez takes the centre as the round goes on, throwing some nice body kicks and hard punches while Waterson looks to counter with some nice spin kicks. Rodriguez trying to close the distance to nullify the kicks but Waterson moving well so far to stay out of danger. Bit of a wild clinch at the end of the round ends with a nice knee from Rodriguez, good round that could go either way. 10-9 Rodriguez for me.

Waterson unloading with kicks in this second round, looking to really keep Rodriguez at distance with a side kick counter. Rodriguez continues to come forward and throw the right hand, but Waterson keeps moving away. Waterson goes for a takedown but Rodriguez stuffs it easily and then lands two big punches. Rodriguez grabs a clinch against the cage and lands a nice knee to the body and Waterson separates. Both women trade leg kicks before Rodriguez goes for another clinch and lands some more knees. Waterson goes for a leg kick that just misses but then she lands a body kick and avoids a big right hook from Rodriguez. Big flurry of hooks from Rodriguez followed up by some big knees and an elbow to end the round. 20-18 Rodriguez.

Waterson goes for a leg kick early but misses and ends up on her butt, before Rodriguez catches her with a nice head kick on her way up. Waterson clinches against the cage but Rodriguez defends well and the separate with the Brazilian back in the centre. Rodriguez lands some huge hooks and Waterson covers up hurt, before stepping out and escaping. Two hard leg kicks by Waterson put Rodriguez down for a second, before a nice body kick too. Rodriguez swinging with a lot of power, but Waterson is absorbing it for now. Rodriguez is landing heavy punches but Waterson is still moving and countering with leg kicks and side kicks. Leg kick from Rodriguez followed up by a three-punch combo lands nicely. Rodriguez clinches and throwing big knees but Waterson replies with an uppercut to end the round. 30-27 Rodriguez.

Rodriguez staying patient in the centre as we enter the main event rounds, throwing some low kicks and searching for a home for the big right hand. Waterson keeps moving around the cage, throwing leg kicks of her own as Rodriguez lands a body kick. Waterson goes in for a takedown and gets it, straight into the guard of Rodriguez. Waterson controls the position and lands some heavy elbows on the ground with Rodriguez pinned against the cage. Rodriguez threatens a kimura to try and escape but Waterson rains down big elbows again to end the round on top. 39-37 Rodriguez.

Final round and Waterson staying calm in the centre, not shooting straight in for a takedown as many would have expected. Rodriguez just misses with a right hand and then Waterson throws back-to-back head kicks with the second one clipping Rodriguez. Side kick to the body from Waterson looks like it hurts Rodriguez, but she stays calm and then hits Waterson with a big right hand of her own. Waterson finally goes for the takedown but Rodriguez stuffs it and lands a nice body shot. Another big body shot and left hook from Rodriguez but Waterson replies with a right hand. Waterson steps forward and lands a side kick to the body again, but Rodriguez throws a jab and then looks to clinch up. Big knee and head kick from Rodriguez but Waterson keeps moving and the two women go out swinging as the round ends. 49-46 Rodriguez for me. Great fight.

UFC Vegas 26: Rodriguez vs Waterson – Main card predictions

A rather short-notice card finally comes together this weekend when Marina Rodriguez takes on Michelle Waterson in the main event.

After the original main event between Cory Sandhagen and TJ Dillashaw fell through due to an injury to the former champion, the UFC were left scrambling and managed to throw together two strawweights competing at flyweight to headline the card.

In the co-main event, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone will now also face off against a short-notice opponent when Alex Morono replaces Diego Sanchez in the welterweight division. There’s also a big welterweight bout on the card between Geoff Neal and Neil Magny, with both men looking to get back on the winning trail and among the contenders of the division.

Last week at UFC Vegas 25, we went 8/11 with four perfect picks to improve to 302/473 (63.85%) with 133 perfect picks (44.04%).

With a fun 12 fight card ahead of us this weekend and after predicting the prelims here, let’s look to improve that record with the main card now.


Phil Hawes (10-2) vs Kyle Daukaus (10-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

An absolute banger at middleweight as Phil Hawes takes on Kyle Daukaus in this one. Hawes is on a six-fight win streak including an 18 second KO against Jacob Malkoun at UFC 254, before a dominant decision win over Nassourdine Imavov at UFC Vegas 19 in February. Daukaus lost his UFC debut to Brendan Allen at UFC Vegas 4, before winning against Dustin Stoltzfus at UFC 255 in his most recent fight.

Hawes is an incredibly powerful striker with legit one-punch knockout power, but he showed his wrestling chops in his last fight too. Daukaus on the other hand is a brilliant grappler, who has good height and reach against most opponents. He’s taller than Hawes, but not longer and that’s an issue for him. Hawes will know that and will look to stand and strike with him, using his wrestling only defensively to keep this fight standing.

Daukaus is pretty hittable and has shown a good chin in the past, but he’s never been hit by someone like Hawes. If Hawes lands clean as Daukaus tries to close the distance for a takedown, this will be a short night.
PICK – Phil Hawes via Knockout, Round 1

Amanda Ribas (10-2) vs Angela Hill (13-9) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A very fun strawweight fight to open up the main card as Ribas looks to bounce back from a defeat when she takes on the most active woman in the division. Ribas was on a five-fight win streak beating Emily Whitmire, Mackenzie Dern, Randa Markos and then Paige VanZant at UFC 251 before losing to Marina Rodriguez at UFC 257. Hill bounced back from her main event defeat to Michelle Waterson at UFC Vegas 10 with a decision win over Ashley Yoder at UFC Vegas 21 in March.

Ribas is a brilliant jiu-jitsu grappler and decent striking on the feet, while Hill is a great all-round mixed martial artists. Hill loves an active fight, where she keeps pushing forward with kicks and Muay-Thai clinches using knees. Her issue with going for those clinches could be that Ribas will try and get her to the ground which is a whole world of trouble for her.

On the feet Hill has the advantage but Ribas can hold her own and won’t get overpowered, and I can’t imagine Hill keeps the fight standing for the full 15 minutes and Ribas is skilled enough to finish it quickly down there.
PICK – Amanda Ribas via Submission, Round 3

Diego Ferreira (17-3) vs Gregor Gillespie (13-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

An especially fun fight in the lightweight division here as Diego Ferreira takes on the returning Gregor Gillespie. Ferreira lost his last fight via decision against Beneil Dariush at UFC Vegas 18, while Gillespie hasn’t fought since getting knocked out by Kevin Lee at UFC 244 in November 2019.

Ferreira is a solid technical striker with good jiu-jitsu skills on the ground, while Gillespie is arguably the best wrestler in the division now that Khabib Nurmagomedov is retired. Ferreira will use his kicks and speed to avoid the wrestling, but if Gillespie gets hold of him it could be a long night for the Brazilian. He’s a good scrambler and if he ends up on top the level of jiu-jitsu he has is far superior to Gillespie’s, but ‘The Gift’ is likely to get that top position and look to hold it throughout.

From the top, Gillespie will land ground and pound and control the position en route to a good decision win.
PICK – Gregor Gillespie via Decision

Maurice Greene (9-6) vs Marcos Rogerio de Lima (17-8-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

The big boys are back in the heavyweight division as two guys coming off losses meet here. Greene has lost three of his last four, beating Gian Villante via submission at UFC Vegas 4 before losing to Greg Hardy via knockout at UFC Vegas 12. de Lima has lost two of his last three including getting dominated by Alexander Romanov and submitted in round one at UFC Vegas 13.

Greene is a power striker with a solid chin and in his last fight showed some decent kicking too. de Lima is a good striker too, with good Muay-Thai and some good takedown defence to back it up also. He has alternated wins and losses in every fight since 2015 but he has got skills. Fast hands (for the division), good power and despite a size advantage Greene doesn’t really know how to use it.

Greene has the advantage of the ground but he rarely looks for takedowns and doesn’t have a wide enough advantage to work a submission, so I think de Lima lands one of his big overhand rights and ends the night early.
PICK – Marcos Rogerio de Lima via Knockout, Round 2

Neil Magny (24-9) vs Geoff Neal (13-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

My pick for fight of the night right here, as two scary welterweights go head to head. Both men lost their last fights after good win streaks, with Magny losing to Michael Chiesa at UFC Fight Island 8 while Neal got well beaten by Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson in December at UFC Vegas 17.

Magny is an excellent wrestler who has used that to beat some top level opposition in the past, but he also has some really good striking too. Neal on the other hand is a powerhouse with a nasty left-hand, who stays very technical and tight at all times. Neal has some good leg kicks too and is without a doubt the more powerful of the two, but if Magny is able to get the fight to the ground he has the ability to grind his opponents out and land good ground and pound.

With that said, Neal seems to have all the tools to get the win here. His takedown defence is decent and the power and accuracy with which he lands his left hand should cause Magny enough problems to earn ‘Handz of Steel’ the win.
PICK – Geoff Neal via Decision

Donald Cerrone (36-15) vs Alex Morono (18-7) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Short-notice co-main event alert as Donald Cerrone looks to snap a five-fight winless streak against Alex Morono in the welterweight division. Cerrone has lost to Justin Gaethje, Tony Ferguson, Conor McGregor and Anthony Pettis before a draw against Niko Price got overturned to a no contest due to a positive marijuana test for Price. Morono has lost two of his last three, getting a win over Rhys McKee at UFC Vegas 14 in between defeats to Khaos Williams and Anthony Pettis at UFC Vegas 17.

Cerrone is a great kickboxer with so much experience, but also has terrific wrestling and jiu-jitsu skills if he needs it. Morono on the other hand is a solid wrestler who uses his striking to get close enough to clinch up and get it down for a grind. Cerrone has got a brilliant head kick in his arsenal and if Morono keeps his hands relatively low to look for takedowns he could quite easily get caught with it, but Morono’s submission skills are really good and dangerous enough to make Cerrone be wary.

‘Cowboy’ is notorious for being a slow starter and Morono could look to take advantage, but if he performs as he did against Pettis then he could get lit up at kickboxing range. It’ll be close, but the short-notice nature of the bout takes me in Cerrone’s direction.
PICK – Donald Cerrone via Decision

Marina Rodriguez (13-1-2) vs Michelle Waterson (18-8) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

An even shorter notice main event as two ranked strawweights meet in the flyweight division. Rodriguez won her last fight against Amanda Ribas via knockout at UFC 257, while Waterson won her last fight against Angela Hill at UFC Vegas 10 via split decision.

Rodriguez is a power puncher with great range and kicks, while Waterson is a karate fighter who uses her kicks a lot to maintain distance and look to work the body a lot. Rodriguez is without a doubt one of the better strikers in the division and that doesn’t bode well for Waterson. She has got nine wins via submission in her career and her takedowns are decent, but Rodriguez has a lot of size on her and with them both moving up a division for this short-notice clash she’ll be at even more of a disadvantage.

I don’t think Waterson will have enough to get the fight down to the ground and Rodriguez’s power is excellent so I think she could get the stoppage win pretty early on.
PICK – Marina Rodriguez via Knockout, Round 2

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.

UFC Vegas 10 Fallout: Waterson On Road To A Title Shot?

A big win in the main event of UFC Vegas 10 has put Michelle Waterson back on track to become the first mom-champ.

The ‘Karate Hottie’ took a split decision over Angela Hill on Saturday night after using kicks and takedowns to convince the judges that she had won the bout. She showed great tenacity overcoming the loss of the first round, with a small cut and a huge bubble on her forehead.

Hill used her superior punching power and speed to her advantage early on, but Waterson began using push kicks instead of jabs to overcome the reach deficiencies and ended up taking over. She began using her speed to throw a big punch and then shoot in with takedown attempts and then used her grappling to keep Hill quiet.

After the win, she declared that she wanted ‘the fastest route to the title’ in her post-fight interview with Michael Bisping. What is her route there?

The closest she had been prior to this was a three-fight win streak. Her reward was bout with Joanna Jedrzejczyk in which she was totally dominated for five rounds. Her next fight was a split decision defeat to Carla Esparza. Whenever she gets close to the top of the mountain, she’s beaten. In a way, she’s very similar to ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in that she can’t quite get the job done on the biggest stage.

Dana White confirmed that the UFC are looking to make Weili Zhang vs Rose Namajunas for the next title fight in the division, meaning Waterson will have to compete against the likes of Jedrzejczyk, Esparza, Andrade, Gadelha and Suarez before a title fight becomes a possibility. In my eyes, she would be the underdog in every one of those match-ups.

There are a lot of women ahead of her in the rankings at the moment and she’s at a bare minimum two wins away from getting a title shot but I doubt her chances. The calibre of opposition ahead of her is too advanced in my opinion and with their skillsets so much deeper, unfortunately I don’t think she achieves that goal of becoming mom-champ in the strawweight division.

UFC Vegas 10: Waterson vs Hill – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Sabina Mazo def Justine Kish via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 3 (3:57)

Kish comes out to start the round super aggressively, charging in with wild swings and some heavy leg kicks. Mazo uses her reach well to get away and land nice shots of her own, before a big head kick settles the fight down. Kish trying to use speed to get inside and land but Mazo staying calm and eating the leg kicks but landing some jabs. 30 seconds to go and Kish catches a kick and takes the fight to the ground but good defence sees nothing land as the round ends. 10-9 Mazo.

Kish aggressive once again in this second round and the leg kicks are starting to add up now. Mazo looks timid and hesitant to throw shots from range and Kish using her speed well to step in and land well. She seems to be the more powerful of the two but she is struggling with the range to make them really count. As the round goes on Kish seems to be getting stronger while Mazo looks a little lost. 19-19, all to play for in the final round.

Mazo using her reach really well in this round, landing two more big head kicks and the jab very effectively. Kish continuing to push forward with leg kicks and strikes on the inside but Mazo’s reach causing a lot more problems now. Big head kick lands again and Kish is down! Mazo pounces on the back and goes for the rear naked choke and eventually sinks it in for the tap. Huge win for Mazo!

Bryan Barbarena def Anthony Ivy via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

The whole first half of the first round is essentially Anthony Ivy trying to complete his first takedown attempt of the night. Barbarena defends really well against the cage and lands some nothing shots to distract Ivy but manages to stay on his feet throughout. Barbarena then comes forward and lands some nice shots that see Ivy turtle up in a defensive mode, trying to get away. Ivy wants absolutely nothing to do with this stand-up battle and lands a big takedown 30 seconds before the end of the round. 10-9 Barbarena.

Second round is more of the same as Ivy looks intent on getting a takedown but Barbarena is defending brilliantly and landing nice return shots of his own. Every time he lands Ivy looks hurt, but he then returns fire with a shot of his own. Bam Bam’s cardio looks much better as the round draws to a close and he starts walking Ivy down landing elbows. 20-18 Barbarena.

Final round and Ivy lands a takedown inside the first minute and Barbarena is seen clearly mouthing “sh*t!”. He gets back to his feet quickly and starts landing heavy shots yet again. Every time there’s any type of exchange, Ivy shoots for a takedown quickly and Barbarena defends them mostly. The pattern continues for the rest of the round until the end. 30-27 Bam Bam for me.

PRELIMS

Jalin Turner def Brok Weaver via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2 (4:20)

A fun start to the round as Turner comes out very aggressive and starts lighting up Weaver early. Lightning quick jabs and crosses bust up the nose of Weaver and Turner looks really sharp. Fight settles down with Turner throwing jabs and Weaver throwing leg kicks before Turner throws a big right hand that drops Weaver! He jumps on him looking to finish but good defending by Weaver gets him back to his feet and he scores a takedown of his own as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Turner.

A slower pace to the second round as both fighters look to use the jab more. Turner is quicker and more powerful than Weaver but Brok is trying hard to stay in this fight. Heading into the final 90 seconds of the round and Turner lands a beautiful right uppercut and right hook combo that drops Weaver! Turner walks off as if the fight is over but the referee doesn’t wave it off so he stands the fight back up. Turner puts Weaver down again, lands some ground and pound and then sinks in a rear naked choke for the win.

Alexandr Romanov def Roque Martinez via Submission (Head & Arm Choke), Round 2 (4:22)

What a crazy round that is. Romanov comes out with a scary offence immediately and goes straight for the takedown. Martinez fights it and gets back up but then Romanov just throws him across the octagon with a german suplex. Huge ground and pound from full mount has the referee looking at stopping the fight but Martinez survives. A straight armbar attempt almost secures a tap but Martinez guts it out and survives the round. 10-8 Romanov.

More of the same in this second round. Romanov gets an early takedown and lands more huge ground and pound strikes. He’s levelled off the pace slightly and not being so gung-ho, but Martinez has absolutely no answers for him. This is heading for another 10-8 round but then Romanov locks up a head and arm choke, squeezes real tight and gets the tap. What a performance.

Kevin Croom def Roosevelt Roberts via Submission (Standing Guillotine), Round 1 (0:31)

WOW! Roberts comes out aggressively but Croom slips a shot, lands a nice straight to the body and then a massive left hook that drops Roberts! He pounces, locks up the neck in a modified guillotine before adjusting the grip for the tap! Amazing!

Sijara Eubanks def Julia Avila via Unanimous Decision (29-27 x3)

Really fun first round there! Avila came out charged up and started swinging for the fences early and Eubanks engaged with her. They both landed huge bombs and Eubanks was forced to pull out of the firefight and charged forward with a big takedown. Nice battle on the ground and Avila got back to her feet before getting a takedown of her own and doing her own good work on the mat. Fun, competitive round. 10-9 Avila.

Avila comes out strong in the second round again, having a lot of success with her right cross. She goes for a front kick but Eubanks catches it and takes the fight to the ground once again. Good grappling battle on the mat but Eubanks showing her jiu-jitsu credentials and dominating the transitions on the floor. Several submission attempts by Eubanks but Avila defending with everything she has and the round ends with Eubanks landing ground and pound. Could be a 10-8 round for Eubanks. 19-19 for me.

More of the same in round 3 as Avila comes out looking for a war on the feet but Eubanks survives it and then gets the fight down to the ground. Avila scoots towards the fence trying to get up but Eubanks strong on top and controlling the position. A flat third round as Eubanks looks to ride it out and stays safe throughout and takes the win. 29-28.

MAIN CARD

Billy Quarantillo def Kyle Nelson via Knockout, Round 3 (0:07)

Nelson comes out firing in this one with a big overhand right that catches Quarantillo flush but he eats it well. Nice leg kicks by Billy land but Nelson charges forward with a nice body shot combo into a clinch/takedown attempt. Quarantillo defends it well and after more leg kicks gets a takedown of his own. Nelson gets back to his feet but Quarantillo lands a knee to the groin against the fence which causes a stop in the action. Nelson recovers nice and quickly and the round comes to an end. Close round but I’ve got it 10-9 Billy Q.

Second round is much of the same, but Quarantillo starting to turn the pace up a bit and Nelson is starting to tire a bit. Quarantillo marching forward with more takedown attempts and some big elbows in the clinch against the cage but Nelson is returning fire when he can. Quarantillo turning it on now and pushing forward and ends the round in dominant ground and pound. 20-18 Quarantillo.

Round 3 starts, Quarantillo lands a HUGE right hand and it’s all over. 7 second round. What a punch, great performance from Billy Q.

Bobby Green def Alan Patrick via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

A fast paced round as Patrick tries to fly into a takedown attempt but Green bounces off the cage and ends up on top. Green lands some nice ground and pound before they get back to the feet and Green lifts and slams him back onto the mat. More ground and pound as Patrick throws up an armbar but Green defends well. Round comes to an end as both men get back to their feet and Green lands a nice right hand that puts Patrick down to one knee. 10-9 Green.

More of the same in round 2 as Green proves too big and too strong for Patrick in every department. The fight stays on the feet for the most part with Green keeping his hands low and staying out of range of Patrick. A nice right hand with 30 seconds to go drops Patrick again and then Green goes for a Thai clinch with knees but Patrick avoids it as the buzzer goes. 20-18 Green, Patrick needs a finish.

Third and final round and Patrick knows he needs a finish. He comes forward looking for a takedown again but Green uses his power to switch positions and slam Patrick down to the mat again. Nice ground and pound keeps the time ticking over but Patrick rolls through and they get back to the feet. Green cruising through the round with his hands down and landing right straights at will but not really pushing for a finish here as the round comes to a close. Should be a comfortable decision for Green.

Ed Herman def Mike Rodriguez via Submission (Kimura), Round 3 (2:41)

An interesting first round between these two as both men use the clinch to their advantage. Rodriguez using his huge reach advantage by throwing out push kicks like jabs to maintain the range, while Herman is using leg kicks to try and close the distance. Rodriguez throwing big knees in the Thai clinch and throwing heavy elbows on the break too. He lands a massive elbow to the face that lands flush and Herman is wobbled but Rodriguez follows up with a knee and ends up clinched so Herman survives the round. 10-9 Rodriguez.

All Rodriguez in the second round here. He continues to use that push kick and elbows but he’s really working the body of Herman a lot with knees in the clinch. Rodriguez avoids a takedown attempt and gets back up to his feet quickly. He lands two big knees to the body that drop Herman but the referee calls time for a groin strike. Replays show it was nowhere near the groin but Herman is milking this and takes several minutes to recover. Fight resumes and then Rodriguez drops him again with more body shots but the buzzer goes. 20-18 but this fight should’ve been over already.

Herman comes out looking for a big takedown and gets it early but Rodriguez gets back to his feet and starts landing big elbows to the side of the head and body. Herman ends up going down due to the strikes and Rodriguez looks to land ground and pound but Herman locks up a kimura out of nowhere for the comeback win! Controversy will ensue.

Roxanne Modfferi def Andrea Lee via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

First round is a wild affair as both women keep up a fast pace and exchange strikes and takedowns. Modafferi has top control for slightly longer throughout the round and lands nice ground and pound to take a close first round. 10-9 Modafferi.

Second round is more of the same but Andrea Lee seems to have her timing down a little bit more in this one. Nice jabs and front kicks as well as crosses and hooks see Lee turn the pace up a bit and score the second round for herself. 19-19.

Third round with all to play for with both women pushing the pace once again. Lee lands nice strikes and kicks once again but Modafferi charges forward and secures a takedown halfway through the round. She secures top position and lands some nice ground and pound that while it isn’t putting Lee in any trouble, it’s scoring her points. The fight comes to an end and Modafferi’s takedown has likely got her the win. 29-28 Modafferi.

Ottman Azaitar def Khama Worthy via Knockout, Round 1 (1:33)

Fireworks!!! After an initial minute or so of feints and feeling each other out, Azaitar lands a big one-two combo that wobbles Worthy! He moves in for the kill and lands several heavy shots that drop him. He takes the back and lands big shots on the ground and the referee steps in and waves it off. What a win for Azaitar!

Michelle Waterson def Angela Hill via Split Decision (49-46, 48-47, 47-48)

Intriguing opening round here in the main event as Angela Hill shows her punching prowess with some nice right hands causing huge swelling on the head of Waterson. Waterson trying to use her clinch and kicking game but Hill is crowding her and throwing bombs while denying takedown attempts. Hill more physical and in a five-round fight that could be telling. 10-9 Hill.

Second round and Waterson is stringing some nice combos together. She’s throwing jabs followed by front leg kicks to keep range but also threaten with damage. Hill doing well to eat them and continue to step forward though, landing nice overhand rights and jabs of her own. Waterson moving well but Hill cracks her with a nice hook that seems to stun her, but she sees out the round. 19-19, but close second round.

Third round and Hill goes for a push kick to the body but Waterson catches it and trips her for a takedown. She holds top position well and starts to progress with nice ground and pound. She transitions and tries to take the back but Hill defends really well to avoid a submission attempt but eats some big punches for her troubles. As the buzzer is about to go and Waterson lands some more ground and pound, Hill throws an up-kick to a Waterson’s face while she’s down. Referee gives a stern warning but nothing more. 29-28 Waterson for me.

Fourth round now and Waterson is starting to find her rhythm and land kicks and punches much more frequently. Hill continuing to push forward but the energy is clearly draining and she’s not as crisp and sharp as she was. Waterson lands a nice side kick to the body and then a side kick straight to the chin that stuns Hill. Waterson goes for another takedown but Hill denies her as the round comes to an end. 39-37 Waterson for me but could easily be 38-38 going into the final round.

Final round and it’s all up for grabs. Both women come out and exchange kicks as Hill looks to inject her physicality advantage into the fight by walking forward and throwing big punches, but Waterson continues to use her kicks to keep her range. A really even round into the final minute as Hill throws a big overhand that lands flush onto Waterson’s chin and hurts her but she charges forward with some kicks of her own in response. Both women start exchanging big strikes into the final seconds as the buzzer goes. What a fight. 48-47 Waterson for me but could easily go the other way.

UFC Vegas 10: Waterson vs Hill – Main Card Predictions

The UFC looks to get back on track with another card at the APEX in Las Vegas this weekend as Michelle Waterson takes on Angela Hill in the main event.

Originally scheduled to be headlined by Thiago Santos vs Glover Teixeira, that bout was postponed after Glover tested positive for COVID-19. However after last weeks card fell apart at the last minute and ended up with just 7 fights, the UFC are making up for it with a 12 fight card this weekend.

Of the 7 fights last week, I correctly predicted 6/7 winners, with 2 of the 6 being perfect picks (winner, method, round). I have already broken down and predicted the seven prelims fights here, so now I will do the same for the five main card bouts.

MAIN CARD

Billy Quarantillo (14-2) vs Kyle Nelson (13-3) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

An interesting bout between two very well rounded fighters in the featherweight division. Billy Quarantillo is a fantastic wrestler with good grappling skills with five submission wins on his record. He’s also a solid striker which shows when he employs his favoured game-plan of a fast pace and grinding strikes into top position. Nelson on the other hand lost his first two UFC fights being stopped by Diego Ferreira and Matt Sayles before finally getting a win against Marco Polo Reyes in 96 seconds with strikes. When Nelson was beaten by Sayles, he was the stronger man physically but his cardio eventually let him down when the pace was picked up and he ended up getting beat. I feel Quarantillo’s pace will do similar to Nelson here and he’s arguably a better wrestler too. While he may not get the finish, he should get the win at least.
PICK – Billy Quarantillo via Unanimous Decision

Ed Herman (25-14) vs Mike Rodriguez (11-4-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

After two straight wins for 39 year old Ed Herman, he looks to make it 3 in a row for the first time since 2012 when he takes on ‘Slow’ Mike Rodriguez. Rodriguez won his last fight just a few short weeks ago, knocking out Marcin Prachnio with a vicious elbow and punches in the first round. He’s the far bigger man for the fight, with a 2.5inch height advantage and a 5.5inch reach advantage but he’s also far more powerful and energetic. Herman himself has stopped shooting for takedowns in recent years and now prefers to clinch and land big knees. If Rodriguez chooses to try and steamroll Herman, it’s all on how the elder statesman’s chin holds up. If it does, he will look to use all his experience to drain the energy of Rodriguez and land his own heavy shots. Herman hasn’t beaten anyone still on the UFC roster since 2013 and I don’t think that changes with Rodriguez riding a wave of momentum.
PICK – Mike Rodriguez via Knockout, Round 1

Andrea Lee (11-4) vs Roxanne Modafferi (24-17) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Roxanne Modafferi has traded wins and losses since May 2017, going 4-4 in the UFC. Her most recent fights saw her beat the hottest of prospects in Maycee Barber, before being well beaten by Lauren Murphy last time out. Andrea Lee has lost her last two bouts via split decision, including her last bout against Lauren Murphy also. Lee is a solid kickboxer with good wrestling takedown defence, something that will come in handy against Modafferi. These two previously fought each other in Lee’s 3rd professional bout, where Modafferi managed to get a decision win. But six years later with the age and experience gap the same, Lee is a much better fighter now. I struggle to predict Modafferi’s fights because she tends to turn up against fighters she shouldn’t and vice versa. Lee is good enough though to avoid Modafferi’s best attempts and land shots of her own to get her a win on the scorecards.
PICK – Andrea Lee via Unanimous Decision

Ottman Azaitar (12-0) vs Khama Worthy (16-6) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

My pick for fight of the night, as two hard hitting knockout artists square off. Ottman Azaitar made his UFC debut just over a year ago with a stunning knockout of Teemu Packalen, forcing the Finnish fighter to faceplant into the mat with one punch. Khama Worthy’s most recent fight was against Luis Pena back in June, where he scored a surprising submission win in the last round with a guillotine. Between them, 23 of their 28 wins have come via stoppage. This will be a straight up war and I can’t see it going the distance. Azaitar has never lost and throws absolute bombs but he’s never fought anyone remotely as good as Khama Worthy. The issue there, is that Worthy has been knocked out five times before and therefore we know he has a limit to the damage he can take. We saw though that he can fight on the ground as well as throw bricks of his own. His experience advantage and the fact that he has fought (and knocked out) fighters better than Azaitar mean I’ll pick Worthy for this, but it could honestly go either way.
PICK – Khama Worthy via Knockout, Round 2

Michelle Waterson (17-8) vs Angela Hill (12-8) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A late main event change means these two strawweights headline the card as ‘Karate Hottie’ Michelle Waterson looks to bounce back from two straight losses against Angela Hill, who fights for the fourth time in 2020 and fifth time in the last 12 months. Hill was on a three-fight win streak before a controversial split-decision loss to Claudia Gadelha last time out. Waterson’s fighting style goes with her nickname. A karate base with rangey striking skills and good defence takedown and crafty submission skills, while Hill uses her range well and comes with volume and a gritty heart to push limits. Hill has Muay-Thai skills and uses her knees really well on the inside, so Waterson needs to look to take this to the ground. Overall, Waterson has always been deemed as undersized for this division and despite being very similar in build to Hill she’s nowhere near as powerful. Hill can grind out a win everywhere and physically is just too strong in my opinion, so I believe she’ll land the bigger shots and secure a decision.
PICK – Angela Hill via Unanimous Decision