Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Strawweight veterans Michelle Waterson and Angela Hill will clash TONIGHT (Sat., Sept. 12, 2020) at UFC Vegas 10 inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
When Waterson transitioned from Invicta FC to UFC and moved up in weight class, it was difficult to tell where the former champion would land. After all, she was a champion at 105-pounds, but fighting bigger opponents is rarely easy. A few years later, we can say with relative certainty that “Karate Hottie” may never fight for the title, but she’s absolutely a worthy member of the Top 10. Alternatively, Hill came up on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) as a fairly inexperienced prospect, which saw her struggle on the mat against top-notch opposition. She’s improved quite a bit in the last couple years especially, as “Overkill” really seems to be hitting her stride inside the Octagon.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each woman:
Key Wins: Karolina Kowalkiewicz (UFC on ESPN 2), Cortney Casey (UFC on FOX 29), Felica Herrig (UFC 229) Paige VanZant (UFC on FOX 22), Jessica Penne (Invicta FC 5)
Key Losses: Rose Namajunas (UFC on FOX 24), Joanna Jedrzejczyk (UFC Fight Night 161), Carla Esparza (UFC 249), Tecia Torres (UFC 218)
Keys to Victory: As one would expect based on the nickname, Waterson does have some tricky kicks at range. Really though, she’s a much more effective grappler, combining sneaky takedowns with underrated top pressure — even when at a size disadvantage.
Nine of her victories come via tapout.
At first glance, this seems like a rough match up for Waterson. Hill is a longer and more effective striker, and her ability to throw in combination should prove valuable in tracking down an evasive “Karate Hottie.”
However, Waterson is genuinely quite good at scoring takedowns. She even dragged Jedrzejczyk down on a couple of occasions! Once on top, she is a very proven submission threat, a dangerous finisher when taking the back or isolating the arm.
Long story short: Waterson has 25 minutes to gain top position and land a submission.
Key Wins: Maryna Moroz (UFC on FOX 28), Loma Lookboonmee (UFC Fight Night 168), Hannah Cifers (UFC Fight Night 166)
Key Losses: Yan Xiaonan (UFC 238), Rose Namajunas (UFC 192), Tecia Torres (UFC 188), Nina Ansaroff (UFC Fight Night 120)
Keys to Victory: Hill is a Muay Thai striker with some pop in her strikes. She moves quite well, setting up her offense and counters alike with a very active stream of feints and false starts.
Anyone fighting Waterson has to recognize that the distance is different. Waterson is plenty willing to throw kicks from an unusually long range, one even she is unlikely to land from, and she’ll move around to maintain the distance. This often leads to low accuracy for both fighters, but Waterson is sometimes able to get the better of her foe largely because she’s experienced at closing that extra step of range.
In order to land effectively, Hill will have to fire in combination. As is the standard tactic when fighting Karate and movement-based fighters, Hill has to get her opponent backing up with punches and then herd her foe into kicks. Low kicks tend to be particularly effective — the chasing fighter can kick the trail leg left behind — and mixing in punches to the body would be effective as well.
If taken down, Hill has to be cautious. She’s likely to win large portions of this fight on the feet, but if she turns away too quickly and is strangled, she may throw away the bout. After all, it’s far better to lose a round than the entire fight!
Only one athlete leaves the cage with a Top 10 ranking.
Waterson has lost her last two bouts, which puts her in something of a precarious position. Waterson is one of the more popular names at 115 pounds, but if she comes up short yet again and loses her spot in the Top 10, she’s not going to keep finding herself in high-profile match ups.
Alternatively, getting back in the win column with a main event victory is an excellent way to begin a new title run.
The stakes are perhaps even higher for Hill, who is really trying to push herself as a possible contender. At 35 years of age, it’s unlikely that “Overkill” is going to drastically improve further. With that in mind, she’s currently riding a solid wave of momentum — debatable split-decision loss to Claudia Gadelha aside. If Hill capitalizes here, she climbs to new heights and could see herself in the cage with a Top 5-ranked foe next.
If not, consecutive losses kill momentum in a bad way.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 10 fight card this weekend RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+ 8 p.m. ET.
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At UFC Vegas 10, Michelle Waterson and Angela Hill will go to war in the main event. Which woman has her hand raised?