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UFC Vegas: Waterson vs Rodriguez - May 8 🇺🇸


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Saturday 8th May we’re back at the APEX in Vegas for this. Back to no crowds until 262 the following week as well, which will be weird now we’ve had a taste of it again.


Michelle Waterson vs Marina Rodriguez

Donald Cerrone vs Alex Morono

Neil Magny vs Geoff Neal

Maurice Greene vs Marcos Rogerio De Lima

Carlos Diego Ferreira vs Gregor Gillespie

Phil Hawes vs Kyle Daukaus

Mike Trizano vs Ludovit Klein

Tafon Nchukwi vs Jun Yong Park

Christian Aguilera vs Carlston Harris 


Probably not the final bout order, I’ll edit as we go. I think this is quality though. Especially for a Fight Night. In the era of a Jessica Eye vs Cynthia Calvillo main event being foisted upon us, I could easily have seen the Magny vs Neal, Ferreira vs Gillespie or Cerrone vs Sanchez fights headlining a card on their own. Really strong for a Fight Night this. Like always, how much of it stays intact is another matter but we’ll roll with it.



Michelle Waterson vs Marina Rodriguez. So this is the new main event. Been a lot of pissing about getting this fight over the line and it’s only been confirmed by the UFC as the headliner 4 days out. It’s been a right mess. And as we’ve said, it seems like a lot of unnecessary hassle considering they actually had options on this card and could’ve just bumped another fight up. Whatever, we’re here now. People are down on this fight and I get why. Going from Sandhagen vs Dillashaw to this is clearly a comedown. But purely as a fight I actually like it. Waterson’s been a bit inconsistent recently and I’m not sure whether it’s a case of her slowing down or being too small for the weight class or what. She hit her ceiling at Strawweight a while ago for me and I thought she was very lucky to get the nod from the judges against Angela Hill last time out. And with this fight being at Flyweight because of the short notice, I think she’s even more up against it. But I’ve always enjoyed watching her fight and win or lose she’s tough, she brings it and she’s usually at least competitive despite mostly being the smaller woman in there.

“It will be my fourth main event and I’m really excited. I’m glad the UFC has faith in me to bring the audience in. I’m on cloud nine here. It’s one of those things you can’t force. It’s so last minute that it’s just gonna be a fight. We don’t have time to gameplan, it’s just about showcasing our skills.” - Michelle Waterson

Rodriguez isn’t that well known but she certainly put herself in a good position to change that in her last fight. She took on Amanda Ribas on the Poirier vs McGregor 2 undercard in January. Ribas had gained quite a following going into the fight, Rodriguez didn’t give a bollocks.


She clobbered Ribas for a second round stoppage and put an end to the feelgood run she was on. Rodriguez could actually be a bit of a darkhorse in the Strawweight division. She’s 13-1-2 now but all the blemishes have asterisks next to them. Two were draws against Cynthia Calvillo and Randa Markos. And the loss was a split decision against Carla Esparza. Can’t say I remember those fights in any great detail but there might be a case for her winning them. The weak area definitely seems to be her grappling though. Calvillo, Markos and Esparza are all predominantly grapplers and they’ve all dragged her to draws or losses. Ribas was giving her problems on the ground before Rodriguez got to her on the feet as well. So I can see Waterson trying to go the grappling route here but given the size difference, there’s every chance Rodriguez busts her up on the way in. Especially with it at Flyweight. She’s already the bigger woman, having Waterson who’s an undersized Strawweight fight her at Flyweight is gonna be bad news for Waterson, I reckon. Decent, although underwhelming as a main event. But who knows what happens given the short notice? I just hope it’s a good fight. 



Donald Cerrone vs Alex Morono. OK then. Bit of a rigmarole to get to this but whatever. Of course, Cerrone was supposed to face his old Jackson-Wink teammate Diego Sanchez here but that’s gone tits up in spectacular fashion and resulted in Diego being released from the UFC. He’s gone. 16 years in the UFC comes to an end but more people know Joshua Fabia’s name now so that’s mission accomplished for that whackjob, I guess. This is a bit underwhelming as a substitute in terms of name recognition and history and all that. But as an actual fight, it’s better. Diego’s shot to bits anyway, it wasn’t gonna be pretty. Cerrone’s seen better days himself and I’m seeing all sorts of calls for him to retire after this fight. I wouldn’t go that far myself. He’s not at his peak, he’s 38 and hasn’t won a fight since 2019. But he’s been up against some stiff competition (McGregor, Gaethje, Ferguson) and I think people are going off that losing streak and they haven’t seen the actual fights. Many had him beating Anthony Pettis and he went to war with Niko Price last time out. He’s not gonna be making waves in any title picture but he’s got some good fights left in him, I reckon. Morono could fuck things up though. And unlike the other guys who’ve beat Cowboy recently, Morono isn’t a name so it’ll hurt Cerrone’s stock more. Morono’s not a bad fighter, 18-7-1 record with some decent wins. But a fading Pettis beat him last time so you’d think it’s winnable for Cerrone. We’ll see. Another loss here could well be it for him though. 



Neil Magny vs Geoff Neal. Good piece of matchmaking this. They were actually matched up for a fight in August but that’s when Neal had his health scare and had to withdraw. Both are coming off losses but before that they were both very much in the running and on the verge of at least a contender fight. But Neal got outpointed by Wonderboy in December, Magny lost a decision to Michael Chiesa in January. 170 is stacked at the minute and there’s a bit of a logjam of guys waiting for their shot. Covington is next in line, then you’ve got Leon Edwards if he gets past Nate Diaz, Wonderboy is lurking around there, there’s still the Chimaev x-factor and one big win could see him elevated into the mix. There’s a lot going on. These two could really do with a big performance here. Something eye catching to put their names in that conversation. They won’t be next for the title shot, they won’t likely even be the next after the next. But in a division like Welterweight, you’re not getting noticed if you’re not making statements in there.



Maurice Greene vs Marcos Rogerio De Lima. Ugh. I’d say this is a pretty safe bet to shit the bed. Never rated either of them. Greene seems a nice enough bloke outside the cage but I’ve found him all kinds of dull inside it. 9-5 record, hasn’t beat anyone of note, has lost to anyone even semi competent. And he let me down against Greg Hardy. And De Lima’s just a big slug. 17-7-1 record, been around for what seems like an age stinking up UFC undercards since 2014. Sandwich break fight.



Carlos Diego Ferreira vs Gregor Gillespie is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** this time and it’s a beauty. Really love this pairing. Ferreira has been a bit of a favourite of mine for a few years now. I don’t see him ever troubling the top boys at 155 but he’s a really good fighter, excellent BJJ artist and always game to throw hands. He’s coming off a split decision loss to Beneil Dariush in their rematch in February but it was a cracking battle and he was on a nice 6 fight streak before that. As for Gillespie...


That’s the last we saw of him. Getting his head kicked into the 27th row at Madison Square Garden by Kevin Lee. 2019. He was 13-0 going in and a NCAA Division I wrestler who’d shown abilities to end fights with either strikes or submissions. He disappeared after this loss though. He went from rising contender to being on a milk carton with one headkick. Really intrigued to see how he looks here. Not only is he coming off his first defeat, it was a brutal one and he’s been on the shelf for 18 months since. Gillespie was originally supposed to face Brad Riddell on the Brunson vs Holland card in March but COVID ripped it apart. As good as that fight would’ve been, I like this one better. I think Gillespie might've ended up just shutting Riddell down with wrestling. I think Ferreira is better equipped to deal with that given his grappling base.



Phil Hawes vs Kyle Daukaus. Could end up being a bit of a sleeper on this card for me. We never got to see much of Hawes in his UFC debut in October. He took on Jacob Malkoun on the Khabib vs Gaethje undercard and smashed Malkoun in just 18 seconds. He then beat Nassourdine Imavov on points in January but I can’t say I recall much of that one. He’s looking good though. 10-2 with 9 finishes and he’s on a 6 fight winning streak. Worth keeping an eye on. This’ll be a step up though.


Daukaus with some fan there. I’ve been quite impressed with Daukaus so far. Mostly on the strength of his excellent fight with Brendan Allen in June. That was his only loss but it was such a good fight and you could see the potential there. He’s 10-1 overall now with 8 of his wins coming by submission. On paper this looks very much like a striker vs grappler battle but we’ll see how it plays out. I’m expecting a good ‘un anyway.



Mike Trizano vs Ludovit Klein. Can’t say I recall much of Trizano. He actually won TUF in 2018 but my interest in TUF was long gone by that point. And he’s only fought twice since then which hasn’t helped. Anything that was still to be gained by being a TUF winner in 2018 was lost with inactivity. He hasn’t fought now since May 2019, losing by submission to Grant Dawson. Klein should make this worth checking out though.


That’s him going all Cro Cop in his UFC debut back in September. Knocking out Shane Young in the first round. He’s made a habit of it as well from footage I’ve seen. He’s got a few headkick knockouts on his record. His nickname is ‘Mr Highlight’ and with good reason. He might be a bit of a dark horse at Featherweight. He’s Slovakian, 26 years old with a record of 17-2 and 16 finishes. 8 by knockout, 8 by submission. So he’s not a one trick pony type. There was some talk of him fighting Ilia Topuria at one point recently and I’d have been all over that. I read there’s bad blood there as well for some reason. I’d be well up for that fight in the near future if possible.



Tafon Nchukwi vs Jun Yong Park. This could be decent. Nchukwi’s the main reason I’m interested. Early days yet but so far, so good. He’s 5-0 with 4 knockouts. Scored a big headkick KO on DWCS last September and that got him through the UFC’s doors. Made his Octagon debut in December and beat Jamie Pickett on points. Looking forward to seeing what’s to come from him. At 26 years old there’s a lot of potential upside there. Park’s been fairly entertaining to watch himself from what I recall of him. He’s 12-4 with 8 finishes. I remember his losing effort against Anthony Hernandez being a fun fight anyway.



Christian (not Christina) Aguilera vs Carlston Harris. Don’t know. I’ve only seen Aguilera a couple of times. He’s 14-7 with 11 knockouts and scored a stunning 59 second KO in his UFC debut last June. He got derailed in his next fight though when he ran into Sean Brady and got subbed. I rate Brady though so I’m not reading too much into that loss. Harris is making his first Octagon appearance here, and he’s also making history as the first fighter from Guyana to compete in the UFC. He’s 15-4 and apparently got noticed by Dana White while filming that ‘Lookin’ For A Fight’ thing in Abu Dhabi last year.


That’s a cracking card, isn’t it? One of the better Fight Nights in a while for me. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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Ben Rothwell is always somebody i find fascinating. Remember when he got a bit of a streak going and he invented a new fighting style? Basically stand square to your opponent and keep switching stances, he proper hyped it up as a game changer and said everyone would be doing this in years to come. He was being talked about being a future title contender considering he had win over notable names on his CV.


Then he fought JDS who just out boxed him over 5 rounds.


It was a fascinating example of 'the fundamentals' over new skool! JDS never looked strained at all, if anything he looked like he found it funny after the fight. Then Rothwell just disappeared. Think he failed a drug test and he just hasn't really been on the radar since.

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Rothwell's a weird cat. He basically trains himself as well from what i remember. Has his own rinky dink school that he trains his students in and trains himself. Reminds me of a proper McDojo style throwback.

When he went on that little streak you spoke of though, the promos he cut after fights were wrestlecrap levels of brilliant. Would even walk out to the Conan the Barbarian music 😄


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Dillashaw is out of the fight with Sandhagen. He's cut his eyebrow from a headbutt during training. Sounds like something Ken Shamrock would have done. 

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Edit - why am I now reading that Michelle Waterson vs Marina Rodriguez is the frontrunner to become the new main event for this? Shit the bed. Why not just bump Magny vs Neal, Ferreira vs Gillespie or Cerrone vs Sanchez up? If they’re going to book a completely new fight to headline this show, at least make it better than the undercard. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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It’s an odd one. There’s a lot of Fight Nights that would’ve been absolutely fucked losing the main event, this wasn’t one of them. There’s 3 fights on the main card that wouldn’t look out of place on top. I said that in the opening post even before TJ pulled out. Why they’re looking at Waterson vs Rodriguez I don’t know. I don’t even hate the fight itself but if you put it on the main card here it’d be in last place as far as fights I’m invested in. It won’t even be the best women’s fight on the main card, I like Ribas vs Hill more. Oh well. 

I’m glad it sounds like they’re just rescheduling the Sandhagen vs Dillashaw fight though. It’s a weird one timing wise but I like the matchup. Much rather they stick with that fight than scramble and chuck a replacement at Sandhagen. 

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It’s similar with Holly Holm. Doesn’t matter how many fights she loses, she’s headlining Fight Nights until she retires. Even last year, I remember there was a point when Holm vs Irene Aldana was actually scheduled to be the main event above Thiago Santos vs Glover Teixeira before Santos vs Glover got delayed and ended up headlining another card. I don’t get it. I can’t imagine they’re pulling significantly strong numbers but I don’t know. Nor care really. They’re both Jackson-Wink fighters. Maybe old Greg’s got it written into the bastard contract or something. 

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Sorry to triple post but just seen this. No surprises who’s offering to replace Diego Sanchez.

Not sure how realistic this is though given that he’s gone 5 rounds twice now over the last month or so against Brunson and Vettori. Don’t know what the status of any medical suspensions are currently. This is the type of fight he should be up for stepping in for. It’s much more his kind of fight style-wise than Vettori was. That felt like a terrible move beforehand and it was only confirmed when Vettori shut him down for 5 rounds. This would be an upgrade on the original Cerrone vs Sanchez fight. 

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