Despite multiple withdrawals from the upcoming UFC Vegas 26 card, which shuffled the bouts around quite a bit ahead of fight night, one fighter is happy about the changes. Featuring in her first ever main event, flyweight striker Marina Rodriguez is happy to be given the chance to showcase her skills in the top spot against veteran Michelle Waterson.
In an interview with Ag Fight, Marina pointed out how excited she was about the opportunity, even if she knows it comes with the added pressure of being a headliner. Nevertheless, the Brazilians claims to be thrilled and wants to use the chance to score a knockout win and show the world who she is.
“To be picked to fight in the main event is very gratifying. You know that the company trusts you, they know you’ll deliver a great fight and that motivates me to show our work. All eyes will be on this fight. Firstly, I need to do a good job. To win by knockout would be perfect. My focus is to put on a good performance and the knockout will come naturally.”
“In a five-round fight, on short notice like this one, you need to be strategical.” Rodriguez said. “You can’t be hasty. The strategy is all about finding the right moment and connect my shots where I need to. That’s what I’m going to do and the knockout may come naturally. I need to be relaxed, technical, but I can’t deliver a boring fight. Waiting around is not like me. At the right moment I’ll land a shot and the knockout may come.”
Paired up against a more experienced fighter in Waterson, Rodriguez knows that a win could put raise her stock in the company. However, the Brazilian does not want to think too much ahead of the fight, focusing solely on the task of beating the ‘Karate Hottie’ first.
“Even though Michelle is behind me in the rankings, she’s very experienced. She has a gigantic name in the UFC. If I can knock her out and get back-to-back knockouts on my record, I’m sure my name is going straight to the top. I’m focused on the fight. Let’s see how it goes and what comes next. It’s going be the result of what I can accomplish in there.”
In her last outing, Rodriguez (13-1-2) scored a TKO win over hot prospect Amanda Ribas, back in January. The win came right after the 34-year-old’s first and only professional loss, a split decision to former strawweight champion Carla Esparza, back in July 2020.
Now, Rodriguez is expected to take on Waterson at UFC Vegas 26’s main event, on May 8. The card is scheduled to take place at the UFC Apex, in Las Vegas, Nevada.