UFC Fight Night Odds, Picks & Predictions: Rodriguez vs. Waterson
Bet of the Card: (2u) Fight Doesn’t Go the Distance @ +178 (to Return 5.56 Units)
(1u) Amanda Ribas via Submission @ +380 (to Return 4.8 Units)
Main Card - Strawweight (115lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 10:15 p.m. EST.
- Angela Hill has lost 3 times by submission in her career, and Amanda Ribas will be the strongest grappler that Hill has faced to this point.
- Amanda Ribas has only gone to 3 decisions in her 12-fight career (per Tapology.com).
This is a short betting card for me this week, but I’m coming out swinging with two plays on the main card opener.
This is a classic clash of styles. We’ve got the dangerous submission grappler in Amanda Ribas, and the precise, volume striker, Angela Hill. Typically, when these contrasting fighting styles meet, it creates fireworks wherever the fight takes place. When standing, expect the more accomplished striker to bring the aggression and put a hurting on the grappler, and when on the mat, look for the grappler to advance positions and either rain down ground’n’pound, or lock-up a submission. This is exactly what I see being in-store for us on Saturday night.
Ribas has a massive advantage on the ground here. She’s won 2 of her 5 UFC fights via submission, whilst also dominating Randa Markos on the mat, and remaining safe against elite BJJ practitioner, Mackenzie Dern, from within her guard. With a takedown accuracy of 58% (per UFCStats.com), Ribas has already proven that she’s one of the best wrestlers in the division, even though that isn’t her strongest area of grappling. When on top, she is extremely dangerous. Her 1.6 submission attempts per 15 minutes (per UFCStats.com) is already high, and that’s a nerfed figure considering she went to a 15-minute decision with 0 submission attempts against Dern.
Conversely, Hill is one of the best strikers in the division (pictured below). Her pace, and particularly her volume, make her a standout at 115lbs. She may not pack the most power, but that’s not to say that she isn’t able to hurt her opponents, should she get them on the back foot and apply pressure. Against most fighters, I’d generally overlook Hill’s chances of getting a finish, but Ribas has been TKO’ed twice in her career, once to Polyana Viana on the Brazilian regional scene, and also in her last fight against Marina Rodriguez. Now, although those aren’t bad losses, it’s not a great look getting KO’ed multiple times as a young, high-level women’s strawweight fighter.
I see plenty of room for this fight to end inside the distance, either because Ribas has got Hill to the mat and is putting her in constant threat of being submitted, or because Hill is able to clip the seemingly chinny, Ribas, and swarm on her to put her away. For this reason, I’ll be taking the “fight doesn’t go to decision” prop at +178 for a couple units, as I’d have this lined much closer. As an additional play, I’m also taking Ribas to win via Submission. Her advantage over Hill on the ground is the biggest skill discrepancy in this fight, and should she be able to implement her wrestling, I’d expect many opportunities for her to lock-up submissions, making the near-4-to-1 price tag, clear value.
(1u) Marina Rodriguez Moneyline @ -200 (to Return 1.5 Units)
Main Event – Women’s Flyweight (125lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 12:45 a.m. EST.
- Marina Rodriguez will benefit from a 3-inch height (5' 6" vs. 5' 3") and 2-inch reach (65" vs. 62") advantage over Michelle Waterson.
- Rodriguez has a positive striking differential of 1.43, whereas Waterson has actually absorbed more significant strikes in the UFC than she’s landed (4.00 vs. 3.58) (per UFCStats.com), which is rarity for ranked fighters within the promotion.
Due to the late-notice postponement of Cory Sandhagen vs. T.J. Dillashaw, we’re now getting this main event instead *sigh*.
Marina Rodriguez will have a distinct edge in the striking due to her volume, power, and size. What I don’t like about her however, is her lacklustre takedown defense and her tendency to get fatigued in three round fights.
Despite Waterson’s disadvantage on the feet, she is still tough and more than able of hanging with talented strikers. She doesn’t always look upon her grappling as much as she should, but when she does, it’s often to good effect. Her wrestling, although not great, is good enough against non-grapplers, such as Rodriguez. When on the mat, Waterson is capable of submitting people, but over the past few years, she’s not chased after submissions as aggressively as in her early UFC fights, even when she’s in need of a finish to get the win.
The biggest deciding factor for me in this fight, is that it’s taking place at flyweight (125lbs), as opposed to their usual weight class, strawweight (115lbs). This should benefit Rodriguez massively, as Waterson was already undersized for strawweight, and now she’ll be fighting up a weight class from that, against a fighter who stands a lot more to gain from the seriously reduced weight cut.
Ultimately, I see Rodriguez getting the win, likely by decision due to Waterson’s toughness, although a KO/TKO finish is always a possibility with a fighter of Rodriguez’ striking prowess. Waterson does have the tools to make this close at times, and even win rounds, but over the course of a five-round fight, she should drop at least three along the way, if not get finished. I’m taking Marina Rodriguez on the moneyline for just 1 unit, the last-minute switch to a five round fight has me a little cautious.
Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.
Event: UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez vs. Waterson / UFC on ESPN 24/ UFC Vegas 26 / #UFCVegas26
Location & Venue: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Date: Saturday, May 8th, 2021
Start time: Main Card: 10 p.m. EST, Prelims 7 p.m. EST.
Where to watch: Main Card on ESPN, Prelims on ESPN+
UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez vs. Waterson Full Fight Card Predictions
UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez vs. Waterson Main Event Prediction
(W) Strawweight (115lbs): Marina Rodriguez vs. Michelle Waterson – Rodriguez via Decision
UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez vs. Waterson Main Card Predictions
Welterweight (170lbs): Donald Cerrone vs. Alex Morono – Cerrone via Decision
Welterweight (170lbs): Neil Magny vs. Geoff Neal – Neal via Decision
Heavyweight (265lbs): Maurice Greene vs. Marcos Rogério de Lima – de Lima via KO/TKO
Lightweight (155lbs): Diego Ferreira vs. Gregor Gillespie – Gillespie via Decision
(W) Strawweight (115lbs): Amanda Ribas vs. Angela Hill – Ribas via Submission
UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez vs. Waterson Prelim Card Predictions
Heavyweight (265lbs): Ben Rothwell vs. Philipe Lins – Lins via Decision
Middleweight (185lbs): Phil Hawes vs. Kyle Daukaus – Daukaus via Submission
Featherweight (145lbs): Mike Trizano vs. Ľudovít Klein – Klein via Decision
Flyweight (125lbs): Ryan Benoit vs. Zarrukh Adashev – Adashev via Decision
Middleweight (185lbs): Jun Yong Park vs. Tafon Nchukwi – Nchukwi via Decision
Welterweight (170lbs): Christian Aguilera vs. Carlston Harris – Harris via Decision
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.