This week’s UFC card was originally meant to look very different but after cancellations we are left with a main event between Marina Rodriguez and Michelle Waterson and a co-main consisting of Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone and late replacement Alex Morono. There are some hidden gems on this card with Neil Magny facing Geoff Neal and exciting prospects Phil Hawes and Amanda Ribas featuring. This week I look to the main and co-main as well as a heavyweight slug as fights to profit on. Let’s dive into the action below.
Waterson is better than a lot give her credit for. She is incredibly tough and often comes out on top in scraps. She doesn’t have a gaping weakness in her game but does largely prefer to fight a karate style on the feet and she has been smothered by top grapplers in the past. In the UFC, Waterson has only lost to Tecia Torres, Rose Namajunas, Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Carla Esparza, none of whom are lackluster opponents. Her opponent Rodriguez kicked off 2021 with a bang stopping the highly touted Amanda Ribas. That sole fight showcased her heavy hands and some serious advances in her already strong striking game. However, Rodriguez also has proved to be registered mute on the ground in her past and I would lean towards Waterson being the better of the two on the mat.
What we are likely to have is a stand-up fight. Waterson does incredibly well at keeping such fights at her kicking range while staying out of the way of counters. Rodriguez will need to get in the pocket and trade but I don’t see her being able to consistently. I really like the odds on offer for Waterson here. She has only lost to top level opposition, most of which had an extensively better ground game and that isn’t the case here. Although Rodriguez look phenomenal in her win over Ribas, that fight stylistically was perfect for her. Back the underdog Waterson to win by decision with a saver on her winning by submission in case Rodriguez decides to get into extended grappling with the American.
Cowboy has been very good to me over the years as a tip, largely because I jumped off him when he had a string of horrific stylistic match ups thrown his way. He was going to slaughter Diego Sanchez and even though that fight is now off I still strongly believe Cerrone gets the win over a durable Morono. Cowboy proved he can still take a shot despite some bad recent damage in his most recent fight against Niko Price. Morono has average wrestling and any exchanges in the clinch or the ground would likely end in Cerrone coming out on top.
So what about a pure striking fight? That is what I see this being, likely fought from kickboxing range and if that is the case Donald Cerrone will clearly come out on top. Cowboy may have failed to win a fight in his last five but Morono steps in on short notice and he doesn’t pack enough of a punch to trouble Cerrone’s chin. Donald might even be able to stop Morono as the strikes accumulate and won’t it be great to see the beloved Cowboy back in the winners list.
I often don’t like tipping Heavyweight fights but this one is too good to refuse. Maurice Greene is a fantastic personality and loves a back-and-forth slog. De Lima I truly believe has one of the worst ground games in MMA, amateur and professional and he’s Brazilian, baffling. When he’s not getting submitted, he is knocking the soul out of his opponents.
He is one of the hardest hitters at Heavyweight and is a natural Light Heavyweight if he got his diet in check. Luckily for de Lima in this match up, Greene poses basically no takedown threat and was torn up on the feet by Gian Villante of all people. Put simply de Lima sends him into orbit with a thunderous punch likely in the opening minutes so be in position to profit from a nasty knockout.
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