Dubai: It’s not often that women get the chance to fight in a UFC main event but a highly motivated Michelle Waterson and Angel Hill grabbed the opportunity to showcase what the female roster and put on an absolute thriller at UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Both fighters were all heart as they traded punches, elbows, knees and kicks through five electrifying rounds that earned them a Performance of the Night bonus, with victory going to Waterson via a split decision, 48-47, 49-46, 47-48.
It was hard work, with Waterson suffering a large haematoma on her forehead and swelling under her right eye, but Hill could not hurt the heart or resilience of the 34-yearold Florida native.
Having absorbed tons of punishment during the first two rounds as Hill’s power punches dominated the action, Waterson used her trademark kicks and grappling to get back into contest from where she began to push the pace and impress the judges for the 18th win of her career and sixth in the UFC Octagon.
“You fight for so long and it’s so hard… Coming out of losses and just feeling like you’re constantly climbing and sometimes you don’t get to see the instant gratification,” she said after the fight.
There are moments when you feel like you can’t go anymore. There are moments when you just feel like you’re tapped out and then there’s the next level. You have to trust in yourself, you have to trust in your skills, your abilities and you have to trust in your body to take you there. You just have to bite down on your mouthpiece and go.
“I hate hearing the split decision calls, but I knew I had the grip pushing forward. I’d like to get to the top as fast as possible. I’ve been chomping away for a really long time and I want to get there.”
Meanwhile, in the Morocco’s Ottman Azaitar’s sent out a strong message to his lightweight rivals with a first-round demolition of Khama Worthy.
“The game plan was to go for three rounds – don’t think about the knockout. Start easy, slowly, because we knew what he was going to do,” Azaitar said. “He always makes counters only, (so) I wanted him to come (forward).”
Michelle Waterson defeat Angella Hill via unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 47-48)
Ottman Azaitar def. Khama Worthy via TKO
Roxanne Modafferi def. Andrea Lee via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Ed Herman def. Mike Rodriguez via submission
Bobby Green def. Alan Patrick via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Billy Quarantillo def. Kyle Nelson via knockout
Sijara Eubanks def. Julia Avila via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
Kevin Croom def. Roosevelt Roberts via submission
Alexandr Romanov def. Roque Martinez via submission
Jalin Turner def. Brok Weaver via submission
Bryan Barberena def. Anthony Ivy via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Sabina Mazo def. Justine Kish via submission