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.

After impressive victory at UFC Vegas 26, what’s next for Marina Rodriguez?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 26, Marina Rodriguez (14-1-2) took on Michelle Waterson (18-9) in the main event. The fight came together on short-notice, but both of these ladies threw down for five minutes.

With a full camp, I really liked Marina Rodriguez in this matchup. She’s much bigger than Waterson with more powerful striking. However, I wasn’t sure how she would hold up under the short-notice circumstances.

Waterson just fought in a short-notice UFC main event back in September. That combined with her grappling ability, I thought she could pickup a decision. However, Marina Rodriguez looked sensational.

The two top ten strawweights both had their moments throughout the fight, but it was clear that Rodriguez was getting the better of the exchanges. Ultimately, all three judges gave the win at UFC Vegas 26 to Marina Rodriguez.

It’s a massive win for Rodriguez who has bounced back strong from her first UFC loss last July. Now, Rodriguez has won two in a row and she’s looking towards the top of the strawweight division.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 26?

After UFC Vegas 26, it’s time for Rodriguez to take the next step up in competition. Having won two fights in a row, Rodriguez is now 4-1-2 in her seven fights inside the octagon. However, she’s looking better every time she steps in there.

So who should the UFC pair her up with? Rodriguez and others have hinted at a potential matchup with former UFC champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (16-4). Jedrzejczyk is looking to make her comeback soon and a matchup with Rodriguez does make sense given their standing.

Not too mention the fact that it would be an incredibly fun matchup stylistically. Another option that could be out there is Mackenzie Dern (11-1). Dern has been surging having won four fights in a row.

A matchup between Rodriguez and Dern could present the UFC’s strawweight division with a fresh title contender. Either one of these ladies would be a perfect next opponent for Marina Rodriguez.

UFC Vegas 26 Preview: Michelle Waterson – Marina Rodriguez

Tomorrow night in the main event of UFC Vegas 26, we will see a matchup between two of the best strawweights in the world. The Karate Hottie Michelle Waterson (18-8) is taking on Marina Rodriguez (13-1-2) in a short-notice main event.

Just over a week ago, this fight wasn’t even on this card. The main event was supposed to be TJ Dillashaw – Cory Sandhagen. However, Dillashaw suffered a cut in training and that fight had to be pushed back.

The UFC got together with Waterson and Rodriguez and made this fight happen. While these are both top ten strawweights, the fight will be taking place at flyweight given the short-notice nature of the main event.

Waterson comes into this one off of a great win over Angela Hill last September. That was another fight that turned out to be a short-notice main event. After the main event fell through, Waterson and Hill agreed to move their fight to five rounds and move up the card.

That is telling here because it shows you the kind of shape Michelle Waterson is in. At UFC Vegas 26, I have no doubts that she will be able to push a pace as if she was preparing for a fight the entire time.

This is a massive opportunity for Marina Rodriguez. Rodriguez is coming off of knocking out Amanda Ribas back at UFC 257. If she’s able to knock off Waterson, she could be only a win away from a title shot at 115 pound.

UFC Vegas 26 Prediction

The UFC Vegas 26 main event is so interesting to me especially considering the short-nature aspect of it. I know that Michelle Waterson is going to be able to fight as if she was preparing for this fight, but I’m not sure how Rodriguez is going to do with it.

Not having to cut to 115 pounds should definitely help Rodriguez here as she’s the much bigger fighter. For Rodriguez, she’s going to have to keep this fight standing. While Waterson’s nickname is ‘The Karate Hottie’ she usually gets wins by using her wrestling and grappling.

When she’s forced to stand and trade with strikers, she’s susceptible to getting hit. Waterson is always undersized and it’s important to remember that she naturally fought at 105 pound in Invicta, but when she moved to the UFC, she had to fight at 115.

Rodriguez has the power advantage and if Waterson can’t get this down, I could even see Rodriguez getting a finish. However, I do think Waterson is going to be able to use her grappling a lot in this fight. We saw Amanda Ribas have success taking Rodriguez down and holding her there.

With the fight being short-notice, I’m actually going to lean slightly towards Waterson here. With full camps, I’d probably pick Rodriguez, but with all the circumstances on the table here, I’m going to pick the Karate Hottie to get a decision win using her wrestling.

Prediction: Michelle Waterson by Decision

UFC: TJ Dillashaw – Cory Sandhagen is off; Michelle Waterson – Marina Rodriguez to headline May 8th card

The UFC return of TJ Dillashaw (16-4) is going to take a little longer. The former bantamweight champion took to Instagram tonight to announce that he suffered a bad cut during training and his main event against Cory Sandhagen is off (14-2).

The fight was scheduled to headline the UFC‘s Fight Night on May 8th. Dillashaw said in the post that they are working on rebooking the fight as soon as possible. It’s likely we will see the fight in either late May or early June depending on how the cut heals.

This fight had extreme importance in the UFC‘s bantamweight division. This was being looked at as a title eliminator and it still likely will be. Originally, the UFC was planning on having the winner of this fight face the winner of the Petr Yan – Aljamain Sterling fight.

However, after Sterling won by DQ, things took at turn. The promotion started working on the rematch, but Sterling opted for neck surgery which will keep him out of action until near the end of the year.

The UFC was supposedly kicking the tires on having Dillashaw or Sandhagen fight Yan for an interim title depending on how Sterling was recovering. Ultimately, that might still happen, but a lot will depend on Dillashaw’s recovery.

New UFC main event

With Dillashaw out of the fight, the UFC has shifted their attention to a new headliner. According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, the front runner for the new headlining fight is Michelle Waterson (18-8) – Marina Rodriguez (13-1-2).

Waterson last fought in September in a main event against Angela Hill. That night, those two stole the show and Waterson walked away with a split decision victory.

We last saw Marina Rodriguez at UFC 257 when she took on Amanda Ribas. Ribas had a ton of momentum heading into that fight, but Rodriguez stopped it all with a TKO in the second round. This should be a fantastic matchup and a very important one for the strawweight division.

After her big knockout win at UFC 257, what’s next for Marina Rodriguez?

Heading into UFC 257, all of the attention was on Amanda Ribas (10-2) when it came to the PPV opener. Ribas had a ton of hype behind her and many believed that she was the next big thing at strawweight.

However, Marina Rodriguez (13-1-2) was ready to make a statement at UFC 257. Despite both of these strawweight contenders being ranked around the same spot, all of the attention was on Ribas.

For Ribas to win, she was going to need to get this fight to the ground. Rodriguez has incredible standup skills, but she’s been in trouble when facing good grapplers. With that in mind, she really struggled in the first round at UFC 257.

In the first round, Ribas was able to land a takedown. Once on the ground, Ribas controlled Rodriguez for the majority of the round and landed some nice shots. However, the second round was a completely different story.

Ribas didn’t go for a takedown in the second round. Instead, she stood in the pocket with Rodriguez and she paid for it. Seconds into the round, Rodriguez dropped and hurt Ribas badly.

Rodriguez followed up with some shots and Herb Dean seemed to step in. She moved away to celebrate the win before realizing that the fight wasn’t stopped. Rodriguez then stepped right back in and finished Ribas off with a vicious elbow to close the show at UFC 257.

What’s next after UFC 257?

On the biggest stage against an opponent with a ton of hype, Marina Rodriguez performed at her very best. Her knockout win at UFC 257 is the biggest win of her career and it’s huge for her position in the strawweight division.

The new rankings just came out today and Rodriguez has moved up to sixth in the UFC’s strawweight division. With that big win on that stage, it appears that Rodriguez will get a big name in her next fight.

In looking at the strawweight division, I think a good fight for Rodriguez would be Michelle Waterson (18-8). Waterson is coming off of a big win over Angela Hill back in September and since 2018, she’s only lost to former champions.

The Karate Hottie is currently ranked two spots behind Rodriguez at eight. However, she has a big following and she’s a big name. The winner of that fight would be in a great position to challenge someone in the UFC’s top five.

UFC books Amanda Ribas – Marina Rodriguez

Yesterday we got the news that Michelle Waterson was having to pull out of UFC 257. She was expected to take on rising contender, Amanda Ribas (10-1) in a fight that many fans were looking forward to.

The gut feeling was that the promotion was going to keep Ribas on UFC 257 and search for a new opponent. Well, it didn’t take long for the UFC to find a willing fighter and book another fight for Amanda Ribas.

MMA Fighting was first to report that Ribas will now be taking on Marina Rodriguez (12-1-2) at UFC 257. Rodriguez is currently ranked eighth in the UFC’s strawweight rankings. For the record, Waterson is ranked seventh.

This is a great switch from the promotion who is trying to build up Ribas. They were able to quickly get her another opponent who is ranked in virtually the same position as her previous opponent.

Since making her UFC debut back in 2018, Rodriguez is 2-2-1. A mixed bag of results, but she’s been taking on some top competition since her appearance on Dana White’s Contender Series.

Rodriguez suffered her first career defeat back in July when she lost to former champion, Carla Esparza, by split decision. Prior to that, she had fought to a draw with top flyweight contender and former strawweight, Cynthia Calvillo.

UFC 257 Strawweight Matchup

This is a fantastic matchup pairing together top UFC strawweights. Again, the promotion did a fantastic job of rebooking Ribas and giving her a top ten contender. Both of these ladies show so much promise in their careers.

You get the feeling that the UFC is going to really push Amanda Ribas. She’s become a favorite of the promotion and she’s ran through her UFC competition so far. Notably holding wins over Mackenzie Dern and Paige VanZant.

Ribas will enter the cage in January as the ninth ranked strawweight in the UFC. If she’s able to pickup the victory in January, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the promotion try to move her up against a top five opponent next.

UFC: Michelle Waterson – Amanda Ribas is off

A highly anticipated UFC strawweight matchup is off. MMA Fighting was first to report that the strawweight clash between Michelle Waterson (18-8) and Amanda Ribas (10-1) has been called off.

Waterson is the one who had to pull out of the matchup. Reasons have not been given as to why the fight is off. The strawweight fight was scheduled to take place on the main card of UFC 257, headlined by Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.

Waterson was looking to pickup her second straight win in the UFC. The Karate Hottie has been on a journey where she is attempting to become the first UFC champion that’s a mom.

She’s gotten close to a title shot a couple of times. However, she’s faltered when she had to go up against the elite of the UFC‘s strawweight division. She just picked up a big win over Angela Hill back in September. That win snapped a two-fight losing streak.

This is the second straight UFC fight that has fallen out for Amanda Ribas. Originally, Ribas was supposed to take on Carla Esparza at UFC 256, however, that fight ultimately fell through which led to the Waterson fight.

The UFC’s plan

At this time there is no word on what the UFC is planning on doing. With the event being more than a month away, the likely scenario is that the promotion will move to make another fight for Amanda Ribas.

Ribas is becoming a star in the strawweight division. Between her personality and her performances inside the octagon, she’s becoming a bright spot at strawweight. Ribas last competed at UFC 251 where she submitted Paige VanZant.

Ribas is undefeated since joining the UFC back in June of 2019. Most notably, Ribas is the only fighter to have defeated Mackenzie Dern. She won that fight by unanimous decision last October. Again, I think the promotion is going to try and keep Ribas on the card as of now.

State of the UFC’s strawweight division

Last night at UFC Vegas 13, a new contender emerged in the strawweight division. Eighth ranked Yan Xiaonan defeated fourth ranked Claudia Gadelha. Xiaonan became just the third women in UFC history begin her career at 6-0 with the victory.

She did a fantastic job last night of showing off her beautiful striking from distance. While Gadelha was able to take her down in the first round and control her, Xiaonan bounced back in the final two rounds to really dominate the striking and win the decision.

As stated, it was the sixth straight UFC victory for the Chinese born strawweight. The UFC‘s China market has taken off over the last couple of years and a major contributor to that is the current strawweight champion, Weili Zhang.

You have to imagine that the promotion is already daydreaming about a potential matchup between Zhang and Xiaonan. That would easily be the biggest fight in the history of Chinese MMA. With last night’s victory, Xiaonan is perhaps only one more win away from securing that shot.

With the win, Xiaonan is expected to jump into the top five of the UFC‘s rankings while Gadelha will drop a little. The division is very exciting right now and it seems extremely fluid when it comes to the top contenders.

What’s the state of the UFC’s strawweight division?

Starting at the top, you have Zhang. Zhang has become a superstar for the promotion and was the first Chinese born UFC champion in history. This year, she had what many are considering to be the fight of the year against Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

It was an absolute war and Zhang walked away with the decision. The next fight for the UFC champion seems pretty obvious. Currently, the promotion is targeting a fight between her and former UFC champion, Rose Namajunas. That fight is expected to take place next year.

After those two, the division gets interesting. You have Jedrzejczyk ranked second, however, her next steps aren’t clear. She flirted with retirement, but recently said that she would be fighting again but wants to wait for fans to return before she comes back.

Another former UFC champion is ranked right behind her in Carla Esparza. Esparza is currently on a four fight winning streak that has her knocking on the door for another potential UFC title shot. After Esparza you’ll have Xiaonan, Nina Ansaroff and Michelle Waterson. Tatiana Suarez is also in there, but has been inactive due to injuries.

After last night, I believe that the UFC should look to book Xiaonan against either Jedrzejczyk or Esparza. Whoever they can book her with in early 2021, I try to make that happen. Perhaps on the same card as Zhang and Namajunas with the winners facing off in the summer.

UFC targeting Michelle Waterson – Amanda Ribas

It looks like UFC 257 is going to be getting a fun one in the women’s strawweight division. Per ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, the promotion is close to finalizing a matchup between two top ten strawweights as Michelle Waterson (18-8) will take on Amanda Ribas (10-1).

This one should be a really fun matchup for UFC fans. The Karate Hottie is coming off of a win in her last fight against Angela Hill. The fight was razor close at UFC Vegas 10, but in the end, Waterson was able to pull out the victory by split decision.

Since 2018, Waterson has only lost twice in the UFC. Both of those fights were against former champions, and I believe that she won the fight against Carla Esparza. Waterson is continuing her journey to try to become the first “Mom Champ” in the UFC.

If she is able to pull out the victory on January 23rd, she will be one step closer to fighting for UFC gold. However, her opponent is no cake walk. In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked if Ribas entered the cage on January 23rd as the betting favorite.

UFC 257 gets a good one

Ribas has stormed onto the UFC over the last 16 months. She’s 4-0 so far in her career with the UFC. In her last fight, she was able to defeat Paige VanZant by first round armbar at UFC 251. However, it was her performance against Mackenzie Dern which raised eyebrows.

Dern was being touted as a top prospect in the strawweight division. However, she was not able to get past Ribas. Ribas controlled their fight and went on to capture the decision victory handing Dern the only loss of her professional career.

Whoever wins at UFC 257 will have made a big statement to the rest of the division. If one of these ladies is able to put on an incredible performance, they could be only a fight or two away from getting a shot at the title.

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.