In September, the UFC moved Michelle Waterson’s bout against Angela Hill to the top of the UFC on ESPN+ 35 fight card. The promotion made that adjustment after the initial main event, Thiago Santos vs. Glover Teixeira, fell through after Teixeira tested positive for COVID-19. Waterson won that strawweight scrap via split decision.
On Saturday, Waterson faces Marina Rodriguez in the headliner of the UFC Vegas 26 fight card. The matchup is another short-notice main event. Waterson and Rodriguez replace the bantamweight matchup between T.J. Dillashaw and Cory Sandhagen. The UFC scratched that fight after Dillashaw suffered a cut while training. Waterson and Rodriguez compete at flyweight at UFC Vegas 26, despite both fighters being ranked inside the top 10 of the strawweight division.
Both women usually depend on their striking, but Waterson might want to consider using her takedown and ground skills in this matchup. Rodriguez showed the power of her striking in January when she scored a second-round knockout win over Amanda Ribas. Rodriguez spent most of the first round fighting off her back after Ribas landed a takedown during the first stanza.
Statistically, Rodriguez is the more effective striker. She lands more than one significant strike per minute more than Waterson at 4.86 strikes landed per minute. Rodriguez also has a higher striking accuracy and better defensive numbers than her opponent.
As for the ground game, Waterson tops Rodriguez in takedowns per 15 minutes, takedown accuracy, takedown defense and submission average.
UPDATE: Angela Hill vs Amanda Ribas has been cancelled when Ribas tested positive for COVID-19. The card is now down to 9 fights total for Saturday night.
Look below for a breakdown of how Rodriguez and Waterson compare in some important statistical categories.
UFC Vegas 26: Rodriguez vs. Waterson head-to-head
|Sig. Strikes Landed Per Min.||4.53||3.58|
|Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||3.16||4|
|Takedown Avg./15 min||0.36||1.52|
|Submission Average Per 15 min||0.2||0.9|