Michelle Waterson
The Karate Hottie

USA

Withdraws from UFC 257
StrawweightUFC
December 8, 2020
Waterson was forced to withdraw from her scheduled bout with Amanda Ribas at UFC 257 on Jan. 23 for unspecified reasons, MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Waterson is coming off a victory over Angela Hill via split decision at UFC Fight Night in September, but she won't be able to face Ribas as scheduled. Marina Rodriguez will instead step in to fight Ribas in the strawweight bout.
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Targeted for UFC 257
StrawweightUFC
November 3, 2020
Waterson is being targeted for a strawweight matchup against Amanda Ribas at UFC 257 on Jan. 23, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Waterson snapped a two-fight skid with a split-decision victory over Angela Hill in her last fight, taking home Fight of the Night honors along the way. While her sights remain set on the 115-pound belt, she'll first have to take care of business against a surging prospect in Ribas. Waterson will be the first ranked opponent for Ribas, who has compiled four victories in four trips to the Octagon so far. Ribas is primarily known for her jiu-jitsu, though Waterson is more than capable of holding her own on the mat. Ribas may have a statistical edge in the striking game, but the level of competition has been leagues apart, with Waterson fighting the best the division has to offer for several years. Waterson will be giving up four inches in reach to the Brazilian, but it still wouldn't surprise anyone if she entered as the betting favorite due to the big difference in experience.
Takes classic bout from Angela Hill
StrawweightUFC
September 12, 2020
Waterson defeated Angela Hill via split decision (49-46, 47-48, 48-47) at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
It was a much improved performance from Waterson, regardless of whether she ultimately deserved the decision or not. Going into this fight, it was believed Hill would have a significant advantage in the striking exchanges between the two women. Somehow, Waterson failed on 17-of-18 takedown attempts and still managed to win the fight. This was as close as the numbers would lead you to believe. In a fight contested almost entirely on the feet, Hill held a 131-128 edge in significant strikes landed, while Waterson emerged with a 162-146 edge in total strikes landed. In other words, this was a toss-up that legitimately could have gone either way. In the end, however, it's Waterson that gets a step closer to the title picture. She'll also walk away with an extra $50,000 for her efforts here after this fight was awarded Fight of the Night honors.
Tabbed for main event
StrawweightUFC
September 4, 2020
Waterson's scheduled matchup against Angela Hill has been promoted to the main event and will be a five-round fight, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
This matchup will take the place of a previously-scheduled showdown between Glover Teixeira and Thiago Santos, which had to be called off after Teixeira tested positive for COVID-19. Waterson remains a betting underdog of (+125) for this matchup, though a five-round fight theoretically plays more in her favor. While it was a lopsided affair, she did fight 25 minutes against Joanna Jedrzejczyk last October, and she does have a fourth-round submission on her resume from her Invicta days. Matchup-wise, she'll be giving up two inches in reach to Hill, who also averages more than two significant strikes per minute more than Waterson over a significant sample size. Waterson will have the grappling edge, though Hill sports a respectable 72 percent takedown defense.
Fight rescheduled for Sept. 12
StrawweightUFC
August 14, 2020
Waterson's fight against Angela Hill has been rescheduled from Aug. 22 to Sept. 12, Mike Bohn of MMAJunkie.com reports.
ANALYSIS
The reason behind the delay was not revealed, but Waterson will have to wait a little longer for a chance to bounce back from her split-decision loss to Carla Esparza in May. Waterson typically has a size disadvantage but both she and Hill stand 5-foot-3. Waterson will, however, cede two inches of reach to her opponent.
Draws Angela Hill in August
StrawweightUFC
June 30, 2020
Waterson will take on Angela HIll in a strawweight matchup scheduled for Aug. 22 and expected to take place in Las Vegas, MMAJunkie.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Waterson lost a narrow split decision against Carla Esparza in May, and will now draw a fighter in Hill that faced a similar outcome against Claudia Gadelha a week earlier. Waterson normally enters strawweight fights with a size disadvantage, but both women stand at 5-foot-3 here, with Hill having a narrow edge in reach. Hill is a superior striker in terms of volume, landing two-plus more significant strikes per minute than Waterson on average. Waterson's edge comes in offensive wrestling volume, though Hill does sport a respectable 72 percent takedown defense. This will be Hill's fourth fight of 2020.