UFC Fight Night: Marina Rodriguez vs. Michelle Waterson Main Event Picks

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UFC Fight Night: Marina Rodriguez vs. Michelle Waterson Main Event Picks
JACKSONVILLE, FL - MAY 09: Michelle Waterson (L) of the United States kicks Carla Esparza (R) of the United States in the Women's strawweight fight during UFC 249 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on May 9, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images/AFP

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has a jam-packed schedule and this Saturday we are getting what should be a very entertaining strawweight fight between Marina Rodriguez and Michelle Waterson. Here’s a complete preview, including updated betting odds and Sports Betting picks.

Third Change to the Main Event

Cory Sandhagen was supposed to fight T.J. Dillashaw in the main event but the former two-time UFC bantamweight champion had to be pulled from the bout due to a cut he received while drilling. “I’m sad to say that I have to be pulled from my fight on May 8 due to a cut received from a head butt while drilling. Rescheduling the fight as soon as possible,” Dillashaw explained.

A day later, the UFC pulled the new main event, the welterweight fight between Donald Cerrone and Diego Sanchez for undisclosed reasons. Sanchez was released from the UFC on Friday over his issues with his trainer Joshua Fabia.

Marina Rodriguez vs. Michelle Waterson

UFC Strawweight Main Event Bout

Saturday, May 8th, 2021 – 11:35 PM EDT at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas

UFC Fight Night takes place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. A limited number of fans will be in attendance because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With plenty of betting lines and markets currently available, use our Odds Calculator to find some value for our UFC picks on this fight.

Marina Rodriguez

Introduction, Background and UFC Career

Marina Rodriguez took Muay Thai classes in 2013, sparking her interest in mixed martial arts. She took part in sports since she was a kid and always displayed athletic ability, which eventually led to her quick rise in Women's MMA. Rodriguez is one of the most exciting additions to the Women's strawweight division of the UFC as she's been extremely impressive since her arrival to the company in 2018.

Rodriguez's professional career began in 2015 and with just two years of training she went 9-0 on the Brazilian circuit. The UFC noticed this and Dana White called her. She stopped Maria de Oliveira Neta in the first round at Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series Brazil on August 11th, 2018, raising her stock and then she went 3-1-2 in her next six fights, with wins against Jessica Aguilar, Tecia Torres and Amanda Ribas. In her last fight, she beat Ribas via TKO in the second round at UFC 257 on January 23rd.

Born: April 29th, 1987
Age: 34
Country: Brazil
Height: 5’6″
Weight: 115 lbs
Reach: 65″
Stance: Orthodox
Association: Thai Brasil
Class: Strawweight
Record: 13-1-2


Method of VictorySignificant StrikesTakedowns
6 wins by KO/TKO4.86 Landed33% Accuracy
1 win by Submission3.16 Absorbed59% Defended
6 wins by Decision

Octagon Strengths

  • Has already taken on a killers row of competition
  • Skilled Muay Thai practitioner
  • Has quickly made a name for herself (is already No. 7 in the strawweight rankings)

Octagon Weaknesses

  • Has only been fighting professionally since 2015

Michelle Waterson

Introduction, Background and UFC Career

Michelle Waterson was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado and is half Caucasian and half Thai. She spent the first two years of her life in Germany before moving back to the States and settling in Aurora, Colorado. Now she lives and trains in New Mexico. Waterson has many memories with her older brother and younger sister. It was her brother who got her into martial arts. She earned a black belt in American Free Style Karate when she was 10 years old and has also trained in Wushu, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing and wrestling.

Nicknamed 'The Karate Hottie,' she started modeling in 2004 after graduating high school. Waterson did a bikini contest at a car show and traveled all around the United States as a spokesmodel of International Allstars. She won her first professional fight via unanimous decision against Andrea Miller at ROF 28 - Evolution on February 16th, 2007. Waterson is a former Invicta FC atomweight champion and she has wins against Paige VanZant, Cortney Casey, Felice Herrig, Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Angela Hill.

'The Karate Hottie' suffered back-to-back decision losses against Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Carla Esparza (a controversial win by Esparza because of weird scoring) before beating Angela Hill via split decision at UFC Fight Night: Waterson vs. Hill on September 12th.

  • Born: January 6th, 1986
  • Age: 34
  • Country: United States
  • Height: 5’3″
  • Weight: 115 lbs
  • Reach: 62″
  • Stance: Orthodox
  • Association: Jackson Wink MMA
  • Class: Strawweight
  • Record: 18-8


Method of VictorySignificant StrikesTakedowns
3 wins by KO/TKO3.58 Landed34% Accuracy
9 wins by Submission4.00 Absorbed67% Defended
6 wins by Decision

Octagon Strengths

  • Black belt in American Freestyle Karate
  • Her punches are effective
  • Solid on the ground both offensively and defensively

Octagon Weaknesses

  • Can have issues when pressured heavily


Rodriguez and Waterson are two lethal strikers with contrasting styles. Waterson can excel in the striking department but Rodriguez is lethal at range and her Muay Thai offense has helped her dismantled all the women that faced her. The only loss of Rodriguez's career was against former UFC Women's strawweight champion Carla Esparza at UFC on ESPN 14 on July 25th and it took a solid grappling offense from Esparza to win via split decision. Esparza's face at the end of the fight made it hard to believe that Rodriguez win.

Waterson has to employ a grappling approach like Esparza did but she lacks wrestling offense. I can see why online betting sites favor Rodriguez. She can keep this fight at range and use her length and the damage behind her strikes to give 'The Karate Hottie' more than she can handle. Hopefully Rodriguez has worked on her cardio so we can make some money for Triple Crown Betting.

UFC Pick: Marina Rodriguez by Points +135 at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

Marina Rodriguez by Points+135
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