UFC Vegas 26 was intended to look a whole lot different from the event that went down tonight. A myriad of match-ups were cancelled and shuffled in the weeks, days and minutes leading up to this one. What we were left with was a 9-fight card headlined by Marina Rodriguez and Michelle Waterson.
And those women went the distance in their five-round main event, which was contested at flyweight (not their familiar strawweight). The fight was an entertaining affair with plenty of good striking exchanges. But Rodriguez had the edge on Waterson for most of those battles. She ended up winning a unanimous decision.
Rodriguez had Waterson well beat for portions of the first three rounds, thanks to her blitzes that had Waterson reeling against the cage. However, Waterson would storm back and look like the more impactful fighter in the fourth and fifth round. In the fourth she got Rodriguez down and held her there for a long portion of the period. In the fifth round she landed a flush head kick and then hurt Rodriguez with a side kick to the body.
However, despite that late flurry, Rodriguez had done enough to get a decision on every judge’s scorecard. With this win coming soon after her TKO of Amanda Ribas, Rodriguez showed she’s a good bet to get into the UFC strawweight title picture sooner rather than later.
In the main event Donald Cerrone lost in the first round to Alex Morono. Cerrone, who was supposed to be facing Diego Sanchez (before Sanchez was Faria’d out of his UFC contract), looked a step slower than Morono for the four minutes the fight lasted.
Morono finished the fight after catching Cowboy behind the ear with a huge overhand right before following up with punches and knees against the fence. The loss gives the 37-year-old Cerrone a record of 0-5 (1 NC) in his last six contests, with four of those losses coming by way of TKO.
Also on the main card Neil Magny sealed a comfortable decision victory over Geoff Neal with his patented high work-rate. He peppered Neal with shots throughout the contest, not slowing down once. Whereas Neal caught Magny early with a nice combo, but slowed to a crawl as the fight wore on. A big reason for Neal slowing down was all the exhausting clinch work that went on and some of that was of Neal’s own making. With that result Magny goes to within one win of holding the UFC record for welterweight victories.
Before that fight was an absolute dud of a heavyweight contest. Marcos Rogerio de Lima completely owned Maurice Greene for 15 minutes, taking the American down and laying on him for the majority of the fight. Greene showed no skill or enthusiasm for trying to get up. De Lima showed no killer instinct, opting to methodically land ground strikes, in between rests, to do just enough to keep the fight on the ground. The bout ended in a heavily lopsided decision victory for De Lima.
Polar opposite to that fight was the Diego Ferreira vs. Gregor Gillespie bout that came before it. Those guys went a mile a minute with scrambles and reversals coming thick and fast. The pace wore on Ferreira, who came into this fight on the back of a dreadful weight cut, and his ability to scramble out of Gillespie’s takedowns and threaten him with submissions waned and then eventually disappeared late in the second round. That’s when Gillespie was able to take the Brazilian down, for the umpteenth time, and this keep him grounded. Once he had Ferreira stuck in place he was able to tee off and get the big TKO win.
Opening the main card was a fun fight between Phil Hawes and Kyle Daukaus. It was close in the first and Daukaus hurt Hawes at the beginning of the second, but Hawes then went into overdrive, securing takedowns and landing big shots to take a decision victory.
Official decision: Marina Rodriguez def. Michelle Waterson by unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46).
Alex Morono def. Donald Cerrone by TKO (punches), round 1 (4:40).
Neil Magny def. Geoff Neal by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27).
Marcos Rogerio de Lima def. Maurice Greene via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27).
Gregor Gillespie def. Diego Ferreira via TKO (punches), round 2 (4:51).
Phil Hawes def. Kyle Daukaus by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)