UFC Vegas 26 Preview: Angela Hill – Amanda Ribas

Kicking off the main card tomorrow night at UFC Vegas 26 is a pivotal matchup in the strawweight division. Fringe top ten contenders will go head-to-head as 11th ranked Amanda Ribas (10-2) takes on 12th ranked Angela Hill (13-9).

Ribas will be looking to bounce back after her first UFC loss in her last time out. Amanda Ribas looked like she was on the fast track to stardom. She had the personality, the look, and the skill to be someone the UFC could really market.

Ribas started out 4-0 inside the octagon win wins over the likes of Mackenzie Dern and Paige VanZant. At UFC 257, the promotion put her against Marina Rodriguez. In the first round, Ribas had success when taking the fight to the ground.

However, in the second round she was knocked out by the striking of Rodriguez. It was a really tough loss for Ribas and the road isn’t going to be easy getting back. Especially with a challenge like Angela Hill in front of her.

Back in June of 2019, Angela Hill lost a unanimous decision to Yan Xiaonan. Since that fight, she has looked completely different. Hill went on a three-fight win streak before losing two tough split decisions to Claudia Gadelha and Michelle Waterson.

A lot of people believe she won both of those fights. Those decisions go her way and Hill could be challenging for the UFC title. She bounced back in March with a dominant win over Ashley Yoder.

UFC Vegas 26 Prediction

To me, this UFC Vegas 26 strawweight contest is going to come down to distance. Amanda Ribas has to keep this fight in close and she needs to use her grappling. I believe in the clinch and on the ground she’s going to have a big advantage.

While Angela Hill has made some improvements, we’ve seen her get submitted before. Ribas definitely has the ground skills to get this done on the mat. On the feet however, I think Hill is going to have the striking advantage.

We’ve seen over her last couple of UFC matchups how good Hill can be from range. If she can keep Ribas off of her, she’s going to find some success from range. If she can, she’s going to win a decision tomorrow night.

Now, what do I think is going to happen? Well, I’m not off the Ribas hype train just yet. I think this fight is going to be incredibly competitive, but I like the grappling of Ribas here. I think she can avoid serious danger on the feet and she’ll get enough control to win a decision here.

Prediction: Amanda Ribas by Unanimous Decision

UFC Vegas 26 Preview: Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone – Alex Morono

Donald Cerrone

Tomorrow night in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 26, we will see Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone (36-15, 2 NC) return to action. He will be fighting at 170 pounds as he takes on Alex Morono (18-7) on short notice.

Originally, Cerrone was supposed to fight Diego Sanchez tomorrow night in the co-main event of the evening. However, that whole thing fell apart to the point where Sanchez was pulled from the fight and then ultimately released by the UFC. 

After that mess, Cerrone still wanted to fight tomorrow night. The UFC went through several opponents but ultimately landed on Alex Morono. Cowboy is always down to fight and he accepted the fight against the young welterweight.

Cerrone wanted to move back to lightweight after his last fight, but the UFC asked him to fight Diego Sanchez at 170. Always the company man, Cerrone accepted the fight. Cowboy walks into UFC Vegas 26 essentially on a five-fight losing streak.

His last fight with Niko Price was a draw then later turned to a No Contest. However, Cowboy looks at that fight as a loss. He’s looking at the longest losing streak of his career and a very hungry welterweight standing in front of him.

The last time we saw Morono was in December against Anthony Pettis. Pettis got the decision nod over Morono. Entering UFC Vegas 26, Morono is 4-2 in his last six overall, but he’s just 1-2 in his last three trips to the octagon.

UFC Vegas 26 Prediction

In all transparency and nothing against Alex Morono, I hope that we see a Cowboy win at UFC Vegas 26. I try to objective as possible, but how can you not root for or love Donald Cerrone.

That said, tomorrow night is going to be tough. Cowboy is known for being a very slow starter and I expect Morono to push the pace early. Morono has crisp boxing and he also has some decent wrestling.

Cerrone said this week that he’s fallen back in love with Jiu Jitsu and he’s more than willing to go the ground. Cowboy is incredibly slick off of his back which we haven’t seen a ton of in the UFC.

If I’m being honest, the smart money would probably be on Morono tomorrow. I love Cowboy, but he’s getting up there in age and just hasn’t looked the same since his fight with Tony Ferguson in 2019.

However, I’m going to go with my heart on this one. I have a sneaky suspicion that this fight hits the ground. When it does, I think we are going to see a vintage Cowboy submission finish in this one. Could be wrong, but I’m going with Cerrone at UFC Vegas 26.

Prediction: Donald Cerrone by Submission (Armbar) – Round 2

UFC Vegas 26 Preview: Ben Rothwell – Philipe Lins

Ben Rothwell

Tomorrow night in the featured of prelim of UFC Vegas 26, we will see a heavyweight showdown. Veteran Ben Rothwell (38-13) is taking on former PFL heavyweight champion Philipe Lins (14-5).

It seems crazy to think about, but Ben Rothwell has been with the UFC since 2009. He made his debut against Cain Velasquez and ultimately got stopped in that fight. While he’s never become the champion, Rothwell has put together a solid career.

If you think of some of the best heavyweights over the last decade, Rothwell ahs probably been in there with them. His best two octagon wins are over Alistair Overeem and Josh Barnett. We last saw him in October where he dropped a decision to Marcin Tybura.

That fight snapped a two-fight win streak. Rothwell will look to bounce back against another fighter who is in desperate need of a victory. Philipe Lins came into the UFC with a good amount of hype.

Lins looked like a world beater in PFL when he won the heavyweight title in 2018. However, after not competing in 2019, Lins joined the UFC in 2020. Last year he was completely underwhelming going 0-2 and getting starched by Tanner Boser in his last fight in June.

UFC Vegas 26 Prediction

If I was a betting man, I would stay away from this UFC Vegas 26 matchup. I honestly don’t even know how to really predict this fight because I truly don’t know what to expect from Philipe Lins.

Lins ran through the competition in PFL and went 4-0 with four stoppages to capture the heavyweight title. However, if you take out those fights and just look at the Bellator and UFC appearances, he’s 0-4 and he’s been stopped three times.

Maybe it says something about the 2018 PFL heavyweights. With Ben Rothwell, I know what I’m going to get. The UFC veteran is going to come forward and put out a decent output.

He’s got pretty good power and very good chokes. Ultimately, I can’t pick Philipe Lins in this one. I think Rothwell is going to get it done and ultimately this will be the last time we see Lins inside the octagon.

Prediction: Ben Rothwell by TKO – Round 2

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: Alex Morono steps in to face Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone

The UFC has found their replacement for Diego Sanchez. Carlos Contreras Legaspi was the first to report this evening that the promotion has finalized Alex Morono (18-7) as the replacement. Morono will step in to take on Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (36-15-1, 2 NC) this weekend at UFC Vegas 26.

The matchup comes together after a bizarre set of events that took place over the last week. Last week, we found out that the UFC had pulled Diego Sanchez from this weekend’s card. With limited details, the assumption was that Sanchez was injured and had to pull out of the fight.

However, we have since learned that there was a lot of issues between Sanchez and the UFC. After Sanchez demanded a release, the promotion let go of one of the original Ultimate Fighter winners. After the UFC removed Sanchez from the card, the promotion looked at several replacements.

There were multiple volunteers, but Alex Morono ends up getting the nod. Morono last fought in December when he fought Anthony Pettis. That night, Morono dropped a decision to Pettis. Prior to that loss, Morono had gone 4-1 since November of 2018 in the UFC.

Must win UFC matchup for Cowboy

Things have changed quite a bit over the last couple of years when it comes to Donald Cerrone. When the calendar turned over to 2019, Cowboy moved back to the UFC’s lightweight division. After the birth of his son, Cerrone was more motivated than ever to capture a UFC title.

Cowboy rattled off two sensational wins in a row that set him up for a title eliminator with Tony Ferguson. After a somewhat competitive first round, Ferguson completely took over and battered Cowboy. Cerrone blew his nose after breaking it in between rounds and the fight was called due to Cerrone’s eye swelling shut.

After that loss, Cerrone lost to Justin Gaethje and then Conor McGregor by first round knockouts. At UFC 249, Cowboy took on Anthony Pettis. While I thought he won, the judges gave the fight to Pettis which was Cerrone’s fourth straight loss.

In September, Cerrone returned to welterweight where he fought to a draw against Niko Price. However, had Price not been deducted a point, it would’ve been Cerrone’s fifth straight loss. Cerrone seems extremely motivated for UFC Vegas 26 and he needs to be. If he loses, it might be it for Donald Cerrone.

BREAKING: Diego Sanchez out of UFC Vegas 26 matchup against Donald Cerrone

The highly anticipated UFC welterweight showdown between Diego Sanchez (30-13) and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (36-15-1, 1 NC) is off. First reported by Carlos Contreras Legaspi, Sanchez has had to pull out of the fight.

At this time, it is not known why Sanchez is having to pull out of the UFC Vegas 26 matchup. This was supposed to be Diego Sanchez’s retirement fight, but it looks like Sanchez’s career will extend a little due to this turn of events.

As of now, the promotion is fully planning on keeping Donald Cerrone on the card. The UFC is actively searching for a replacement opponent to fight Cerrone at 170 pounds. There is no word on if there is any traction at this time.

This was going to be a big fight for both men. Diego Sanchez has gone 3-2 in his last five fights, but he was looking to go out with a signature win. A win over Cowboy Cerrone would have just been that.

On the flip side, Cowboy Cerrone is looking to turn his UFC career around. Cerrone found himself in a title eliminator at 155 pounds against Tony Ferguson in 2019. Cowboy was on a mission to capture the lightweight title and after the birth of his son, he looked better than ever.

However, Cerrone ran into a buzzsaw in Tony Ferguson. After the Ferguson loss, Cerrone suffered back-to-back first round knockout losses at the hands of Justin Gaethje and Conor McGregor.

Now, in 2021, Cerrone is just 0-4-1 in his last five UFC fights. Donald Cerrone needs a win in the worst way and Diego Sanchez looked like a winnable fight. We will have to follow along to see who the promotion gets for Cowboy’s replacement.

Another hit for UFC Vegas 26

This is the second big hit to UFC Vegas 26 in as many days. Last night we learned that the main event between TJ Dillashaw and Cory Sandhagen was off. A cut to Dillashaw in training is forcing the bantamweight headliner to be postponed.

As of now, it appears that Michelle Waterson and Marina Rodriguez will headline. However, that has not officially been announced by the UFC. Now this matchup between two legends is off. I’m sure the promotion will find a quality replacement, but this is disappointing for fight fans.