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Sport UFC Vegas 26: Marina Rodriguez vs. Michelle Waterson preview and prediction

21:55  06 may  2021
21:55  06 may  2021 Source:   fansided.com

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Preview and prediction for Marina Rodriguez vs. Michelle Waterson at UFC Vegas 26.

  UFC Vegas 26: Marina Rodriguez vs. Michelle Waterson preview and prediction © Provided by Fansided

Though the two will be competing at flyweight instead of their normal strawweight, Marina Rodriguez and Michelle Waterson both have the opportunity to impress as they do battle in the UFC Vegas 26 main event on May 8.

The two were originally set to do battle at UFC 257 in January before Waterson was forced out of the fight.

At that event, Rodriguez scored a bonus-earning, second-round finish of Amanda Ribas, giving her a huge rebound win after losing her undefeated record to Carla Esparza.

Waterson was last in action at UFC Vegas 10 in September, narrowly edging out Angela Hill in a split decision in the headliner of that card.

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Who will win at UFC Vegas 26: Marina Rodriguez or Michelle Waterson?

Looking at the Tale of the Tape, Rodriguez comes into this bout with three-inch advantages in both height and reach. Per FightMetrics, Rodriguez has landed more significant strikes per minute on average, and absorbed less, giving her the better striking differential. And yet, she and Waterson's striking accuracy and defense percentages aren't too far off from one another.

And while Waterson is best known for her karate, she actually has the edge in the grappling department numbers-wise here. Scoring at least a takedown or two per 15 minutes and holding a slightly better takedown defense percentage.

On paper, this one seems like it's going to be an all-standing, all-striking battle. But when you consider Waterson's takedown abilities and fight style, we could see Rodriguez attempting to come in and Waterson have to either use her karate to keep Rodriguez at bay or capitalize on the opportunities to score takedowns.

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The thing is, Rodriguez has the physical advantage. This isn't just in terms of height and reach. This fight, despite both women being strawweight contenders, will be at 125. Waterson has been a 105 and 115 competitor throughout her career, so it'll be interesting to see how her body looks and feels as she weighs in — and what she'll weigh in at. Rodriguez is the kind of fighter who can make 125 and not have to drain her body.

On that note, sometimes Waterson's previously mentioned style can come back to bite her; look what happened in the fight with Joanna Jedrzejczyk and how banged up she got. And Rodriguez has some great power — just look at how she finished Ribas and left everyone in a bit of shock.

Many are going with Rodriguez in this one, and for good reason. But don't be surprised if Waterson is able to pull off a stunner against this less-experienced, although bigger-sized, opponent. If anything at a minimum, perhaps she survives the power and size and manages to go the distance in a loss.

Prediction: Rodriguez via unanimous decision

UFC Vegas 26 takes place on Saturday, May 8, 2021, live from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV. Follow along with FanSided who is on-site for all your live news and highlights.

UFC Vegas 26 results: Rodriguez wins, Cerrone TKO’d by Morono .
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This is interesting!