After their most recent event was badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the UFC will be hoping for some better luck this week.
They’re back in Las Vegas for UFC Fight Night 177: Waterson vs. Hill, and with thirteen fights on tap, there’s plenty of potential for this week to provide us more chaos.
Until then though, it’s time to look at this show, which seems like a mixed bag of some decent fights with little in the way of name value.
Here are the predicted outcomes for UFC Fight Night 177: Waterson vs. Hill.
#1 UFC Strawweight Division: Michelle Waterson vs. Angela Hill
This clash in the UFC’s Strawweight division wasn’t the initially planned main event for this card. Instead, it’s been elevated into a five-rounder due to the fight between Glover Teixeira and Thiago Santos being scrapped following a positive COVID-19 test for Teixeira.
Will the change from a three-round fight to a five-round one make a big difference? Actually, it’s quite possible. Hill has gone five rounds twice in the past, but never in the UFC before, while Waterson has been involved in two UFC main events, and while only one has gone the distance, she’s far more used to the spotlight than ‘Overkill’.
Overall, judging by the style of both women, you’d have to expect a striking-heavy bout here. Hill is almost a pure kickboxer, and has been ever since she emerged onto the UFC scene back in 2014 as part of TUF 20.
Still very raw at that stage, ‘Overkill’ washed out of the promotion quickly following a pair of losses, but rebounded quickly by winning Invicta’s Strawweight title in 2016. That was enough to earn her a UFC return, and she’s since been one of the 115lbs division’s most reliable action fighters, going 6-6 in the years that have followed.
However, she’s not evolved that heavily if we’re honest. Sure, she’s improved on the ground and has picked up a couple of TKO’s on the ground, and she’s also improved in terms of her takedown defense. But she’s still vulnerable to a fighter willing to work hard in the clinch to get her down, and has a tendency to slow down in the later part of fights.
That’s why I believe Waterson is a pretty bad match for her. ‘The Karate Hottie’ has had her own issues throughout her UFC run – largely with slightly more powerful ground-based fighters capable of grounding her – but only Joanna Jedrzejczyk has really managed to outstrike her standing.
Waterson is also very used to being the smaller fighter in the Octagon, but she’s actually the same height as Hill and is only giving up a single inch in reach. That means that given Waterson’s kickboxing skill, there’s practically no chance that ‘Overkill’ can keep her at the end of her strikes.
Hill could still be in with a chance if Waterson would be willing to actually trade off with her, but that isn’t likely either. ‘The Karate Hottie’ is a highly underrated grappler, with some excellent takedowns from the clinch and a venomous submission game when the fight does hit the mat.
The most likely outcome here then is that Waterson will use her strikes to get inside and clinch with Hill, probably throwing her from there. And once she’s got Hill grounded then I expect that she’s probably got enough skill to take the back, lock in a choke, and finish things from there.