Michelle Waterson seeks a return to her 2018 form against the rapidly improving, flamboyant striker, Angela Hill. `12 August 2020.

UFC Fight Night 177: Waterson vs Hill Predictions & Results

Five rounds of war between Glover Texeira and Thiago Santos was sacrificed for this card. Instead, we have five rounds of Michelle Waterson throwing front kicks that miss the target by a mere six feet as the commentators roar on about her karate credentials. In all fairness, a five-round showdown between Waterson and Hill is a tasty affair. Waterson needs a win after decisively losing her last two against Carla Esparza and Joanna Jędrzejczyk. Angela Hill, on the other hand, has been gaining incredible momentum. Wins over Hannah Cifers and Loma Lookboonmee showcased vast striking improvements. Dropping a decision loss to former title challenger, Claudia Gadelha, in her last fight; Hill’s intense work rate and output should probably have seen her hand raised.

The rest of the card is filled with some pretty fun names. Bryan Barberana, the blood God himself, returns against Anthony Ivy in what should be a quick Welterweight shootout. Personal favourite, Bobby Green, takes yet another match during the pandemic against rugged Brazilian wrestler, Alan Patrick. Also, everybody’s most hated fighter, Brok Weaver, returns in a striking match-up against the towering Jalin Turner. All in all, this card screams bloody affairs, and I love it.

UFC Phoenix bonuses: Vincente Luque and Bryan Barberena earned Fight of the  Night - MMA Fighting
Fan favourite, Bryan Barberena, returns to the Octagon on Saturday night and searching for his first win in two years – how time flies. 18 February 2019.

Main Event

Women’s Strawweight (115)

Michelle Waterson (17-8) vs Angela Hill (12-8)

Did you know Michelle Waterson has a kickboxing background? It is surprising, since the commentators rarely mention it, but Waterson can kick really high! Waterson is a solid striker alright, when her shots land. Therein lies the issue. Feinting from several metres away, throwing loose front kicks into thin air, refusing to engage for long periods – Waterson is an extremely frustrating fighter to watch. A low-output combined with a kicking game that rarely lands means that Waterson often finds herself on the wrong end of decisions.

Waterson does excel in one area, however. The clinch. Often entering the clinch against her own volition, Waterson uses the clinch as a defensive escape. When pushed against the cage, Waterson often engages in the clinch to nullify an opponent’s striking threat. Once inside, Waterson outworks her opponent with dirty boxing before landing a sharp knee or elbow when exiting. If Waterson can secure a takedown off the back of her strong clinch game, then her top game should be strong enough to hold Hill down.

Angela Hill is a fabulous striker who varies her combinations and regularly targets the body, a rare sight across the MMA world. Hill employs a concoction of spinning strikes, lengthy combinations, and highlight-reel kicks that hurts an opponent as well as keeping them second-guessing her next move. Hill has struggled throughout her career with wrestling. Possessing a flakey takedown defence, it reared its ugly head once again during her fight with Claudia Gadelha during the first two rounds. To be fair, Gadelha is a fabulous wrestler, but the blueprint to beat Angela Hill has been available to all since the start.

Predicted Result: Hill Decision

Hill’s size advantage should be enough to prevent Waterson from securing regular takedowns. Moreover, a higher output will ensure that if the fight is to go to the scorecards, Hill will sweep the cards.

Michelle Waterson lands face-altering kick on Felice Herrig. : MMA
Michelle Waterson lives up to her adopted nickname of Karate Hottie by altering Felice Herrig’s face, 7 October 2018.

Result: Waterson def. Hill // Decision (split – 47-48, 48-47, 49-46)

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Co-Main Event

Lightweight (155)

Kharma Worthy (16-6) vs Ottman Azaitar (12-0)

This could be the most electric first-round of Lightweight action in 2020. Worthy is a kill or be killed fighter, and in regards to the ‘be killed’ aspect, Worthy is often stopped in the first round. Azaitar is a first-round knockout machine, with five first-round knockouts in his last seven. If this fight goes beyond the first-round, Worthy is surely the favourite, but five minutes is a long time in the smaller Apex octagon.

I didn’t have the highest hopes for Worthy entering the Luis Pena match. I felt his victory over Devonte Smith largely stemmed from a huge underestimation on Smith’s part. Boy was I wrong. Worthy out-hustled Pena on the feet, regularly landing powerful strikes, before sinking a guillotine choke on the skilled grappler. An efficient counter puncher, Worthy has the skillset to lie low for the first-round and take over from there-on. Unfortunately, Worthy is very easily drawn into a fire-fight. Early exchanges with a heavy-handed striker like Azaitar will be the end of Worthy’s career resurgence.

Azaitar’s chin has held up to the mark so far, granted, it has not been tested much over his twelve fight career. Banking on his chin as a reliable defence, Azaitar instead focuses all of his attention on breaking down his opponent as early as possible. Against a more calculated counter-puncher or wrestler/grappler, Azaitar may falter. The intensity of Azaitar’s strikes will not hold up in the later rounds. Yet if Azaitar can engage with Worthy in the first round, there will only be one winner.

Predicted Result: Azaitar TKO Round 1

Worthy’s chin has been broken far too many times, at lower competitive levels, to be able to soundly predict that he will make it out of a first-round shootout.

UFC 241: Khama Worthy drops, upsets friend Devonte Smith
Khama Worthy shocked the odds when he knocked out betting favourite, Devonte Smith, in the first round back on the 17 August 2019.

Result: Azaitar def. Worthy // TKO (punches) Round 1 1:33

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Main Card

Women’s Flyweight (125)

Andrea Lee (11-4) vs Roxanne Modafferi (24-17)

Saturday’s rematch between these two women occurs six years on since their first fight in Invicta back in 2014. Losing the first bout, Andrea Lee has since rounded her skillset to able to compete with Modafferi across all realms of the octagon. Andrea Lee is a fine offensive striker, utilising a distance-gauge jab and landing punches in bunches. Moreover, Lee has vastly improved her wrestling and can control opponents on the ground for extended periods. Lee, however, is defensively open. In striking exchanges, Lee’s concrete feet and tendency to switch off leads to her often taking unnecessary damage. On the mat, Lee can be swept just as easily as she transitions.

Modafferi is MMA’s sweetheart, a big goof who has made the absolute most of her limited athletic abilities. Modafferi is slow, but she has the tools to exploit the giant holes in Lee’s game. Strong jiu-jitsu will ensure Modafferi can remain active on her back, and her boxing is solid enough to keep striking totals on a level playing field.

Predicted Result: Lee Decision

A close fight in their rematch, but one in which the athletic aptitude of Lee should see her through. Powerful striking, aggressive wrestling and an adequate gas tank will just pip Modafferi’s more calculated game.

Result: Modafferi def. Lee // Decision (unanimous – 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Light Heavyweight (205)

Ed Herman (24-14) vs Mike Rodriguez (11-4)

This will be what we call in the business, a slow burner. Rodriguez is slow, his own nickname is “slow” for God’s sake. But Herman… oh my. Regardless, Herman is a solid veteran who deserves some respect put on his name. Deceasing Patrick Cummings in the first round, and decisioning the very limited Khadis Ibragimov, Herman is taking on his first challenge for a couple years. Herman dropped a split decision to Gian Villante in his last real test though…

Rodriguez’s first-round obliteration of Marcin Prachnio looked impressive, but Prachnio had never looked comfortable in the UFC. An unbreakable Muay Thai clinch in which Rodriguez utilised his height to rain down disgusting elbows will surely be the game plan once again. Herman’s lack of speed may be his downfall if he cannot break from Rodriguez’s clutches.

Predicted Result: Rodriguez TKO Round 3

Herman is a wily veteran, but he is extremely slow, and will struggle to press the advantage even against a gassed Rodriguez in the later rounds.

Result: Herman def. Rodriquez // Submission (kimura) Round 3 2:41

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ✔️

Lightweight (155)

Alan Patrick (15-2) vs Bobby Green (26-10-1)

Alan Patrick is a wrestling, decision machine. Without his wrestling base, Patrick looks lost at sea in the octagon. Perhaps this read as harsh, but damn. Patrick’s refusal to up the pace beyond decrepit graveyard levels makes me a big anti-fan. On the mat, Patrick’s top game is tight and enjoyable to watch. Patrick fighting on the outside is a big ol snoozefest.

Okay, maybe my slander of Patrick is because of my love of Green. And dare I say, the new and improved Green! Green’s performances during the pandemic have been phenomenal. Preventing Clay Guida from wrestle-humping him, and totally out-striking the dangerous, Lando Vannata, Green has provided the most composed performances of his career. A very strong TDD, and a vast counter-punching advantage, leaves Green as favourite if he can maintain his composure for the full fifteen minutes.

Predicted Result: Green Decision

Patrick isn’t getting any younger, and a sharp decline in athleticism means Green can cruise through the fight, picking off his man at range.

Result: Green def. Patrick // Decision (unanimous – 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Featherweight (145)

Billy Quarantillo (14-2) vs Kyle Nelson (13-3)

Billy Quarantillo enters the octagon after his frenetic three-round war with Spike Carlyle, a match which you NEED to watch if you haven’t already. Quarantillo’s boxing defence managed to hold up throughout the three rounds, but more important was his ability to secure emergency takedowns when imminent danger arose. Out-scrambling the immensely powerful Carlyle on the ground, Quarantillo also has a deadly arsenal of submissions in his locker.

Nelson is poor mans Spike Carlyle. Running out of the blocks head-first, Nelson is tailor made to be taken down and submitted. Quarantillo’s striking defence did leak often during his last fight, however, and Nelson does have the power to end the fight in the first-round. Doubt it though.

Predicted Result: Quarantillo Submission Round 2

Quarantillo will wear down Nelson with a suffocating top game and lock in a choke before the final bell.

Result: Quarantillo def. Nelson // KO (punch) Round 3 0:07

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Preliminary Card

Women’s Bantamweight (135)

Julia Avila (8-1) vs Sijara Eubanks (5-4)

Julia Avila is a decent fighter in a limited division. Destroying Gina Mazny in twenty-two seconds, Avila didn’t need technique as she bombard Mazny with a multitude of hooks and accompanying screams. Avila has fast hands, decent power and can bully opponents in the clinch once her striking has pushed them back to the cage. Debatable credentials on the floor but they will not be troubled by the striking-first Sijara Eubanks.

Sijara hits hard for the first round, and that is about it. A decisive decision victory over Sarah Moras is a great scalp on her resume, but Eubanks’ dire gas tank and long spells of inactivity often means she is on the wrong end of the decision.

Predicted Result: Avila Decision

The UFC has double booked Avila, a terrible practice which not only offends the opposing fighter but also tempts fate. Regardless, Avila is a far better striker than Eubanks.

Result: Eubanks def. Avila // Decision (unanimous – 29-27, 29-27, 29-27)

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Lightweight (155)

Roosevelt Roberts (10-2) vs Kevin Croom (21-12)

Love me some Roosevelt Roberts. A first round humbling to the veteran hands of Jim Miller should be viewed as a natural learning step in his young MMA career. Roberts never had the chance to show his crisp striking against Miller, but it is a key component of Robert’s skillset. Using his length, Robert’s straight shots often hit the mark, whilst a strong clinch game aims to punish opponents rather than secure a takedown. Roberts also has a guillotine choke that threatens potential takedowns or labouring opponents in the clinch.

A last-minute replacement, Kevin Croom is a win one lose one fighter. Regularly stopped in his career, perhaps the high point of his career was a first-round slam loss to Justin Gaethje back in 2011.

Predicted Result: Roberts TKO Round 2

Roberts is massive for the weight and should be able to use the distance to punish the biscuit chinned Croom.

Result: Croom def. Roberts // Submission (guillotine choke) Round 1 0:31

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Heavyweight (205)

Alexander Romanov (11-0) vs Roque Martinez (15-5-2)

Return of the Romanov! Moving on a cancelled fight last week, the big Moldovan bear is back to win our hearts once again. Head first rushing offence with the sole aim to ground an opponent and beat them to a pulp is Romanov’s sole strategy. It may lack nuance, but it is hella entertaining to watch.

Martinez owns a fine record, yet unfortunately, it has come against lowly competition. A debutant and retirement home killer, Martinez will be banking on landing a heavyweight game-changing haymaker.

Predicted Result: Romanov KO Round 1

GET ON THE ROMANOV TRAIN, old school heavyweight brawler-wrestler.

Result: Romanov def. Martinez // Submission (arm-triangle choke) Round 2 4:22

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Catchweight (165)

Brok Weaver (15-5) vs Jalin Turner (9-5)

Brok Weaver is roundly hated by the MMA community. Videos online showing his involvement in a dog-fighting scandal, compounded with his milking of an illegal knee to steal a (according to the rules – legitimate) victory against Rodrigo Vargas, means Weaver is a targeted man. A swarming offensive striker, Weaver actively searches for the clinch to wear down opponents and break them mentally. Not UFC calibre, but a heel at least.

Jalin Turner enters the contest one week after his cancelled bout with Thiago Moises. A much more favourable match-up for Turner, he should be able to utilise his long levers to dominate Weaver on the outside, similar to the Roberts-Weaver fight. Massive for the weight, Turner should be able to bully his way out of the clinch, and keep the fight at a distance.

Predicted Result: Turner TKO Round 3

Really looking forward to this fight, both fighters like to bring the pain.

Result: Turner def. Weaver // Submission (rear-naked choke) Round 2 4:20

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Welterweight (170)

Bryan Barberena (14-7) vs Anthony Ivy (8-3)

A Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba-Barbarenaaaa. The Blood God returns after a year long lay-off following his punishing third round stoppage loss to Randy Brown. Barberena is a limited striker, but the man is PPV entertainment. Not an athlete by any sense of the word, Barberena has a willpower on the level of a mythical being.

Anthony Ivy looked dumbfounded during his first round loss to Christian Aguilera. Ivy looked scared and totally out of his depth, which is weird for a power puncher with a wrestling background. If Aguilera was able to pressure Ivy, expect Barberena to have his way.

Predicted Result: Barberena TKO Round 2

Ivy will land some powerful shots, but Barberena’s chin should have had enough time to recover after his last two brutal wars.

Result: Barberena def. Ivy // Decision (unanimous – 29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Women’s Flyweight (125)

Sabina Mazo (8-1) vs Justine Kish (7-2)

Completely disinterested in this fight. Both women act as though they are striking with pure, unrivalled aggression, yet neither manage to do a lick of damage to their opponent. The one exception is Mazo’s head-kick which is quite a beautiful strike, but that is it.

Predicted Result: Mazo Decision

Three rounds of shouting and sloppy striking, meh.

Result: Mazo def. Kish // Submission (rear-naked choke) Round 3 3:57

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Prediction Accuracy

UFC Fight Night 177: Waterson vs Hill

Winner: 7/12

Method: 5/12

Round: 6/12

2020 MMA Season

Winner: 98/161

Method: 79/161

Round: 68/161

Takeaway comments: Dana White giving Mike Rodriguez the Win Money is extremely lol, sets a pretty dangerous precedent though.

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