After loss at UFC Vegas 26, what’s next for Michelle Waterson?

This past weekend at UFC Vegas 26, two top ten strawweights went head-to-head as Michelle Waterson (18-9) took on Marina Rodriguez (14-1-2). The main event came together on short-notice, but both of these strawweights brought it.

For The Karate Hottie, this was her second straight short-notice main event. Back in September, Waterson was set to take on Angela Hill. After the original main event fell through, the UFC moved Waterson and Hill up to the main event.

Despite not training for it, both ladies went five hard rounds. Waterson walked away with a split decision victory. Two weeks ago, this fight wasn’t even on the card for UFC Vegas 26.

However, after TJ Dillashaw fell out of the main event, the promotion approached Waterson and Rodriguez about headlining. Due to the short-notice nature, the two agreed to meet at flyweight to avoid a drastic weight cut.

It was a back-and-forth affair at UFC Vegas 26. However, Marina Rodriguez was clearly getting the better of the exchanges. While it was competitive, Rodriguez walked away with decision victory on all three judges scorecards.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 26?

While it was short-notice, UFC Vegas 26 was a very big opportunity for The Karate Hottie. Had Waterson won on Saturday night, she would’ve had two consecutive wins and she would’ve been in line to fight someone in the top five.

However, she didn’t get the job done on Saturday. With the loss, Waterson falls to 1-3 in her last four. Granted two of the losses came to former UFC champions and one was to Rodriguez who looks like she can be a future champion.

I don’t think the loss hurts Waterson at all and she was the betting underdog heading into the fight. So what should the UFC do with The Karate Hottie next? Well, I don’t think they have to look far in the rankings.

I actually really like the potential matchup between Waterson and Claudia Gadelha (18-5). Both strawweights are just inside the top ten and they are both coming off of losses in their last fight.

I feel like both of them are in a similar position. Both need a win and whoever loses would really have to take a step back and consider what’s next. I think it’s a matchup the UFC should pursue and I’m all for it being what’s next.

UFC Vegas 13 Preview: Claudia Gadelha – Yan Xiaonan

There is a very solid strawweight contest on tomorrow night’s UFC Vegas 13 main card. Top ten contenders Claudia Gadelha (18-4) and Yan Xiaonan (12-1) will go to war. Both of these ladies are looking to take one step closer towards the UFC title.

Yan Xiaonan is a big time prospect for the UFC. The Chinese strawweight has come out swinging in her UFC career thus far. She’s won all four of her fights inside the octagon which includes victories over Angela Hill and former title challenger, Karolina Kowalkiewicz.

The UFC is becoming increasingly popular in China. The current strawweight champion, Weili Zhang, was the first Chinese born fighter to claim gold inside the octagon. Xiaonan could be the next great fighter from China.

Standing across from her will be former title challenger Claudia Gadelha. Gadelha comes into this contest after going 3-1 in her last four fights. However, many people believe that she actually lost two of the fights that she won.

Gadelha is coming off of a very close split decision victory over Angela Hill back in May. A good amount of people do not believe that Gadelha should have had her hand raised that night. Nevertheless, she did and a win tomorrow would mean three straight wins.

UFC Vegas 13 Prediction

This is such an interesting matchup between these two ladies. It almost seems a little like the bull and the matador. To me, Gadelha has to come right out and try to pressure Xiaonan. Gadelha doesn’t do extremely well with fights that are fought at range.

She has to get on the inside if she wants to hand Xiaonan her first loss in the UFC. Likewise, Xiaonan has to keep the fight at a distance. She’s very good at striking from range and she does a fantastic job of working off of her jab.

I would expect that Gadelha will try to get this fight to the mat. While she might have a power advantage, I don’t see her having the striking advantage. In the end, I think this one stays on the feet enough over three rounds to see Xiaonan remain unbeaten in the UFC.

Prediction: Yan Xiaonan by Unanimous Decision

After UFC Vegas 10 win, what’s next for Michelle Waterson?

This past weekend at UFC Vegas 10, The Karate Hottie Michelle Waterson (18-8) snapped her two fight losing streak in an absolute war with Angela Hill (12-9). Waterson struggled early, but really came on strong and won the final three rounds.

With the victory, Waterson has her eyes set on the UFC strawweight title. For the past few years, she’s talked about her desire to be the first mom champ in the UFC. She said in her post-fight interview that she wants to fight someone that gets her closer to the title.

Waterson’s next step towards UFC gold

In looking at the rankings, it’s really tough to figure out what’s next inside the UFC for Waterson. I don’t see Nina Ansaroff, Carla Esparza, or Joanna Jedrzejczyk being options for Waterson. Ansaroff is getting ready to have a baby while Waterson just lost to the other two.

That being said, I think there are two potential UFC matchups for Waterson. The promotion could throw her right into the deep end against Tatiana Suarez (8-0) when Suarez is ready to return from action. Suarez hasn’t fought in over a year due to lingering neck injuries.

If that fight were to come together and Waterson were to win, she’d likely get a title shot. I think a more realistic option would be for Waterson to fight the winner of the Claudia Gadelha – Yan Xiaonan fight that has been rescheduled for November.

Whoever wins that fight will likely be ready to make the jump into or for the top five in the UFC‘s strawweight rankings. I think a matchup between Waterson and the winner could be the best and most realistic next step in Waterson’s journey to become the UFC‘s first mom champ.

Angela Hill after UFC Vegas 10 loss: “I thought I did more damage”

For the second time in the last few months, Angela Hill (12-9) found herself on the wrong end of a split decision. This latest decision came at UFC Vegas 10 when Hill was edged out by Michelle Waterson (18-8). The fight was very close, but it was Waterson who saw her hand raised.

Back at UFC on ESPN 8 back in May, Hill took on former title challenger Claudia Gadelha (18-4). While Hill struggled out of the gate, I think most people believe she took the fight over and deserved that decision. Instead, Gadelha had her hand raised.

Hill’s UFC Future

A disappointed Hill took to the mic after UFC Vegas 10 to voice her disappointment. On the loss, Hill said, “It sucks. definitely thought I did more damage in the fight.” Hill acknowledged that the fight was close, but she thought she did enough. I personally had her wining 48-47.

I agree with Hill in that this fight with Waterson at UFC Vegas 10 was closer than the Gadelha fight. That was a pretty clear win for Hill in my opinion. Last night, I was extremely impressed with Hill early on. Her hands and boxing combinations looked incredible crisp.

I know that it’s tough for a UFC fighter to lose back-to-back fights in this fashion, but I hope Hill comes away proud of those two performances. If just one judge saw the last two fights differently, Hill would be on a five fight winning streak.

Hill vowed to stay ready whenever the UFC has a fight for her. Despite two straight decision losses, I really don’t think that Hill’s stock took a hit. I know she’s not in the top ten according to the rankings, but I firmly believe Angela Hill is one of the top ten strawweights in the world.

Claudia Gadelha out of UFC 253 (Reports)

One of the more anticipated matchups in the UFC‘s strawweight division for the fall has been cancelled. Per Combate and MMA Fighting, Claudia Gadelha (18-4) has been forced to withdrawal from her UFC 253 matchup against Yan Xiaonan (12-1-1).

Gadelha was riding a two fight winning streak going into UFC 253. The former title challenger was looking to make it three in a row inside the octagon. Gadehla is trying to climb the latter towards another shot at the gold. This is the second time Gadelha has had to deal with a knee injury.

UFC’s Next Steps

This is tough news for the tenth ranked fighter in the strawweight division, Xiaonan. She has gone 5-0 since joining the UFC with wins over Angela Hill and Karolina Kowalkiewicz. A win over Gadeha would be the biggest win of her career.

The UFC is building a very solid presence in their Asian markets on the shoulders of their first Asian champion, Weili Zhang. Xiaonan is another great fighter that has come out of China to show how good their talent pool is.

One has to think that the UFC would love to build up Xiaonan to the point of having her contend for the title. Xiaonan could be another bright spot for the promotion in their Asian markets.

This fight was a big fight to see exactly where Xiaonan was in her journey to be a top contender. There is no word on if the UFC will look to book Xiaonan against someone else or if they will just wait for Gadelha to heal up.

UFC: Claudia Gadelha meets Yan Xiaonan on September 26th

Former UFC strawweight title challenger, Claudia Gadelha (18-4), will be making the walk again on September 26th. Standing across from Gadelha will be Chinese contender, Yan Xiaonan (12-1-1).

Gadelha last fought back in mid-May against Angela Hill. The fight was really close, but the judges gave the fight to Gadelha by split decision. It was Gadelha’s second consecutive win following her decision loss to Nina Ansaroff. Since last competing for the UFC title back in 2016, Gadelha has gone 5-2 over the last few years. A win on September 26th would put her back into title contention.

Yan Xiaonan making waves in the UFC

Since making her UFC debut back in 2017, Yan Xiaonan has been starting to make waves. She has worked her way through all five of her UFC opponents winning every contest by unanimous decision. In her last fight, Xiaonan dominated former title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz.

Gadelha and Xiaonan both share another common opponent in Angela Hill. Of course, Gadehla won a close split decision over Hill, Xiaonan on the other hand took a clear unanimous decision in their fight. It’s an interesting matchup that I’ll be curious to see playout.

If Xiaonan is able to defeat Gadelha, the UFC could try to push her up the ladder to challenge Weili Zhang. Perhaps that fight could take place in China making history as the first UFC event headlined by two Chinese born fighters. That would be a massive day in the history of the UFC. The company has made massive investments in the Asian market in recent years, and it’s huge to have top talent coming out of Asia.