Michelle Waterson takes on Marina Rodriguez on short notice to headline UFC Vegas 26. The five-round main event has title shot intentions all over it as the women go into battle.
Rodriguez starts off the fight with constant pressure. Rodriguez would unload many strikes on Waterson pushing her back to the fence. Waterson would be on the outside picking her shots landing her kicks from a distance. “The Karate Hottie” would bring the heat landing nasty leg kicks but the Brazilian would retaliate with punching forward, not giving too much space. Rodriguez would get Waterson in the clinch landing an exchange of violent knees to finish round 1.
Waterson would be comfortable in the striking department, bouncing on her back foot. Waterson would look to counter as Rodriguez went in, but the Brazilian would look to be a violent challenger whenever she gets close. Rodriguez would piece Waterson up and Waterson would engage her in the clinch, evading unneeded damage. Rodriguez would look to drag Waterson into deep waters with pressure and massive strikes up close. Rodriguez would open up a barrage of punches to end the round.
Waterson would put everything into a oblique kick however it would backfire and Waterson would fall backwards. Rodriguez would attack the unbalanced Waterson with strikes and unmatched pressure. Rodriguez’s confidence would grow with every punch landed. Midway into the round, Rodriguez would slug it out hurting Waterson in the process. When Waterson would have her back to the fence, Rodriguez would unload establishing a frenzy of punches. Combination after combination Rodriguez would grow stronger hurting Waterson more as the round went on. Just when you think Waterson is badly hurt, she would return with her own flurry of counters, maintaining her place in the fight.
The clash of styles would continue on the feet. However, the karate specialist turned the tables and landed an amazing takedown on Rodriguez in the second minute. Rodriguez would seemingly accept the bottom position with Wasterson having great success on top. Waterson would move up on her and landed some bombs in half guard. Rodriguez, who was against the fence, would attempt a kimura but would not get it. Waterson would trap Rodriguez on the ground with a knee on the arm of Rodriguez. With this improved position, Waterson would land massive elbows to close out the round.
Being behind on the scorecards, Waterson would increase her striking output in the final round. Waterson would throw flashy kicks to the head of Rodriguez. “The Karate Hottie” would amp up the heat throwing a nasty body kick which noticably hurt Rodriguez. Rodriguez would later return the favor landing a mixture of her own strikes and not backing down. The two women with just seconds on the clock would go out with a high pace with Rodriguez getting the better of the exchanges to end the fight.
Official Result: Marina Rodriguez defeats Michelle Waterson via unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46 x2)