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UFC on Fox 29 results: Michelle Waterson wrestles past much bigger Cortney Casey for split-decision win

UFC Fight Night: Johnson v Reis Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Strawweight fighters Michelle Waterson and Cortney Casey squared off inside the Octagon tonight (April 14, 2018) at UFC on Fox 29 from inside Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, broadcast live on big Fox. Waterson, “The Karate Hottie”, was trying to bounce back from two consecutive losses, while “Cast Iron” Casey had most recently loss a contentious split decision to Felice Herrig.

Waterson came out throwing inside low kicks and circling away from the larger Casey’s power punches. Waterson jabbed and threw an outside leg kick, while Casey moved forward looking for a counter right overhand. They clinched momentarily before Waterson managed to break away. Casey landed a big right hand and left hook. She chased Waterson to the cage and clinched, but Waterson dug for an underhook and moved away. Casey landed another massive right hand, chased Waterson into the clinch again. Waterson once again got control, threw an elbow and broke away. Waterson looked wary, switching to southpaw and looking to maintain distance. Waterson threw a right hand, ate a counter, fell down, but when Casey tried to get on top Waterson stood up and landed a nice takedown, landing in Casey’s guard. Casey looked for the armbar from bottom, but Waterson defended and got back to a neutral angle. Waterson landed a couple hard right hands from the top. Before the round ended Waterson broke off and allowed Casey back to her feet.

Waterson went back to her inside leg kicks in the second round. Casey came after her with a barrage of hooks. ending in the clinch again, where she ate a couple elbows before Waterson broke away. Casey looked for a combination that fell short. Waterson landed a left hook, Casey landed a right hand over the top. Waterson changed tactics and ducked for a single, which she finished effortlessly. She landed a couple nice right hooks from Casey’s guard. Casey tried to work to the fence, putting her feet on Waterson’s hips and going for a triangle-armbar, which Waterson defended. She held on for the omoplata, which proved completely fruitless and gave Waterson a more dominant position. Waterson got back to guard but Casey caught another armbar, but again couldn’t finish it. Finally Casey used the space to get back to her feet. Waterson sent her flying across the cage with a push-kick as the round ended.

Waterson landed a lead leg high kick as Casey moved forward in the third round. Casey stalked forward, looking for those heavy straight punches. She landed a combination and once again ended up in the clinch, with Waterson using the underhook to spin her and control her. Casey spun her against the cage for a moment, but lost control and Waterson broke away. Waterson looked for a throw, dug in with over-under control and tripped Casey to the mat, but Casey immediately went for an armbar, going belly down to try to finish, but Waterson defended again. Casey went for a heel hook, but Waterson moved in to stifle it. Casey created space and stood but as she did Waterson landed a big right hand. Waterson landed a side kick, then ducked for a single. Casey stuffed it, Waterson transitioned to a double-leg but Casey sprawled out of that too. She moved to Waterson’s back, landing big elbows on a turtled Waterson. Casey took her back with thirty seconds to go, and transitioned to an armbar, breaking Waterson’s grip and extending the arm, but couldn’t quite finish it before the final bell! What a contest.

As the scores were read, Cortney Casey applauded her ecstatic opponent. Waterson, breathing heavily, said in the post-fight interview,

“It is really hard to pull yourself out of the ground when you’ve dug a pretty deep hole. I told myself to embrace adversity and look fear in the face and say, bring it!”

She thanked her team and her family for their support. She said of the wrestling, it’s MMA- you have to learn to adapt.

Official result: Michelle Waterson def. Cortney Casey via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

For complete UFC on Fox 29 results, including play-by-play, click here

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