Michelle Waterson decisively proved what many people have believed for years last Sunday at TUF 21 Finale: That she absolutely belongs in the biggest MMA organisation in the world, the UFC.
While she has won main events and title matches in other organisations, and has arguably fought and defeated tougher opponents her victory over TUF 20 veteran Angela Magana has to go down as the biggest win of Waterson’s career. It didn’t go 100% smoothly, as Magana locked in a pretty deep armbar in the 1st round, but Waterson fought through it and escaped. As she said herself during her post-fight interview with Jon Anik “It was my UFC debut. I wasn’t going out like that!” It’s this mental toughness coupled with one of the most well-rounded skillsets in women’s MMA that make her one of the very best in the division. After that point, Waterson controlled the fight both on the feet and when it hit the ground, threatening with an armbar of her own, before eventually taking Magana’s back in the third round and using heavy ground and pound to open up the opportunity for the rear naked choke which she duly completed for her 8th career submission win. Any doubts that people had that Waterson would struggle moving up a weight class (something Waterson herself dismissed) have been well and truly squashed.
On a card containing some huge crowd-pleasers like Stephen Thompson and Jorge Masvidal, the return of Dan Miller and the strong partisan atmosphere of the crowd caused by the ATT vs Blackzilians rivalry, it speaks volumes for Waterson that the reception she received as she made her first UFC ring walk was the loudest of the night. “The Karate Hottie” is loved by the MMA community and it’s easy to see why. Out of 13 professional wins, 11 have come by way of knockout or decision and her exciting style of fighting coupled with her enthralling personality make her one of those fighters who are just inherently likeable. The former Invicta FC atomweight (105lb) champion is definitely a very welcome addition to the UFC roster and it’s already exciting strawweight (115lb) division and following her maiden UFC win, she has entered the division’s rankings at the #12 spot with her sights set on climbing to the top.
The question everyone is wondering about Waterson now is the usual one: “Who next?” Well, the UFC is far from short of options on that front. While any of several would make for great match-ups, perhaps the one that stands out the most is a rematch with #4 ranked Jessica Penne. The two met previously back in 2013 at Invicta FC 5 when Waterson scored an upset armbar victory over the then Invicta 105lb champion Penne in what was voted Women’s MMA Fight of the Year for 2013. It’s a loss that doesn’t sit well with Penne and she has been open about her desire to get her own back. While preparing for her ultimately unsuccessful title shot against UFC champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk back in June, she said during a media lunch that “That girl (Waterson) got lucky. I shouldn’t have lost to her; it was a one-in-a-million fluke.” She also added that she told Sean Shelby that as soon as Waterson is signed (at that point Waterson was not a member of the UFC roster) that she wanted to fight her. For her own part, Waterson has stated on a few occasions that she’d be more than happy to have a rematch and she’s confident the result would be the same. It seems an ideal situation for all parties, but it remains to be seen if the UFC choose to go down that route or if they look more favourably on a match between Waterson and someone like Randa Markos or Rose Namajunas.
For now though, Waterson will have to heal up (she faces a potential 6 months medical suspension for a possible broken hand) and she deserves time to enjoy her debut UFC win, a moment every fighter dreams about. No words could describe Waterson’s debut any better than the ones she said through a beaming smile during her post-fight interview: “This is home.”
*Live Updates* UFC Gdsank Official Results
The UFC hosted their second event in the country of Poland, as UFC Gdsank took place at the Ergo Arena. The card was headlined by a welterweight fight between Donald Cerrone and Darren Till.
Cerrone (32-9) was coming off a close unanimous decision loss to former 170-pound champion Robbie Lawler in July. It was the only time in “Cowboy’s” MMA career that he had suffered consecutive losses.
Till (15-0-1) improved his undefeated record in September, defeating Bojan Veličković by unanimous decision. It was a case of old school vs. new school in this headliner, as the up and comer Till hoped to secure the biggest win of his career over Cerrone.
MAIN CARD – UFC Fight Pass – 8PM BST
- Donald Cerrone (32-9) vs. Darren Till (15-0-1) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Darren Till def. Donald Cerrone via TKO (punches) Round 1 – 4:20
- Karolina Kowalkiewicz (11-2) vs. Jodie Esquibel (6-3) – Women’s strawweight bout
- Result: Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Jodie Esquibel via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Jan Blachowicz (20-7) vs. Devin Clark (8-2) – Light heavyweight bout
- Result: Jan Błachowicz def. Devin Clark via SUB (rear-naked choke) Round 2 – 3:02
- Oskar Piechota (10-0) vs. Jonathan Wilson (7-3) – Middleweight bout
- Result: Oskar Piechota def. Jonathan Wilson via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results
Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.
Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.
Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)
Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)
Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)
Bellator 185- How to Watch, Times and Fight Card
Bellator is once again heading to Mohegan Sun in Uncasville Connecticut, and this time they are bringing with them one of the most anticipated former UFC fighter turned Bellator stars’ debut. Gegard Mousasi will be making his first appearance in the Bellator cage against a former Bellator champion in Alexander Shlemenko. Although this event has lost some of its star power over the last several weeks, it is still stacked and you can bet that the main event will bring some fireworks.
Earlier in the month, it was announced that King Mo had suffered an injury that had forced him out of his co-main event fight with former middleweight champion Liam McGeary. Bellator worked quickly to secure a replacement opponent for McGeary in Bubba McDaniels. Unfortunately for McDaniels and the fans alike, McGeary had later suffered an injury of his own and the fight was removed from the card.
This left a spot open in the co-main event slot, which would be filled by a welterweight matchup between Brennan Ward and David Rickels. Just four days out from the fight, Bellator announced that Ward had also become injured and the fight has been removed from the card as well. The main card has been shuffled around and the welterweight bout between Neiman Gracie and Zak Bucia will now serve as the co-main event.
Main Card- Spike TV (US/Canada) Spike UK (UK)- 9 pm EDT, 6 pm PDT, 2 pm UK
- Middleweight Main Event: Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (56-9, 1 NC)
- Welterweight Feature Bout: Neiman Gracie (6-0) vs. Zak Bucia (18-8)
- Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Heather Hardy (1-0) vs. Kristina Williams (Debut)
- Lightweight Feature Bout: Ryan Quinn (13-7) vs. Marcus Surin (4-0)
- Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Ana Julaton (2-2) vs. Lisa Blaine (1-0)
Preliminary Card- Live Stream (MMA Latest New)- 7 pm EDT, 4 pm PDT, 12 pm UK
- 195 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Jordan Young (6-0) vs. Alec Hooben (5-3)
- Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Costello van Steenis (8-1) vs. Steve Skrzat (8-9)
- Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Vinicius de Jesus (5-1) vs. Joaquin Buckley (7-1)
- Lightweight Preliminary Bout: John Beneduce (2-1) vs. Dean Hancock (2-1)
- Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Timothy Wheeler (1-4) vs. Pete Rogers (2-4)
- 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Don Shainis (3-1) vs. Matthew Denning (5-6)
- 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Frank Sforza (6-0) vs. Vovka Clay (3-2)
- Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Kevin Carrier (Pro Debut) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (Pro Debut)
- Flyweight Preliminary Bout: John Lopez (6-4) vs. Billy Giovanella (9-5)
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