UFC in Vegas 26: Rodriguez vs. Waterson First Look: Odds, Betting Picks and Predictions

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UFC in Vegas 26: Rodriguez vs. Waterson First Look: Odds, Betting Picks and Predictions
Aug 10, 2019; Montevideo, MO, Uruguay; Tecia "The Tiny Tornado" Torres (red gloves) vs. Marina Rodriguez (blue gloves) during UFC at Antel Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

The UFC is back in Vegas, and with Diego Sanchez leaving the company on short notice, we have a new main event. Two of the UFC’s domineering women will throw down in the octagon. Read on for our complete betting guide taking a first look at Marina Rodriguez and the challenger Michelle Waterson in the UFC in Vegas 26 main event, including updated UFC odds and our free expert betting predictions.

UFC Vegas 26 Takes Another Blow

The Ultimate Fighting Championship is never too far away from dramatics. Once T.J. Dillashaw & Cody Sandhagen were withdrawn from the Vegas 26 card, we were blessed with Donald Cerrone versus Diego Sanchez in their replacement. That was until Diego Sanchez was released by the company yesterday evening. Altercations that haven’t yet been confirmed led to his dismissal, and now Sanchez is a free agent.

The second main event in one week has now been replaced with a women’s strawweight contest between ‘The Karate’ Hottie Michelle Waterson and Marina Rodriguez. However, this stand-in main event is subject to change, should the UFC find a viable replacement for Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone.

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

Marina Rodriguez vs. Michelle Waterson

UFC Strawweight Main Event Bout

Saturday, May 8th, 2021 – at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas

Marina Rodriguez (13-1-2)

Marina Rodriguez is one of the most exciting new additions to the UFC women’s strawweight division, and since her arrival to the company, she has impressed on every occasion.

Her interest in mixed martial arts stemmed from the muay thai classes she took part in (2013). Always taking part in sports since a child, her athletic ability was prominent in such a quick rise to the top of female MMA.

Marina’s professional career began in 2015, and with a mere two years of training, she accomplished a 9-0 record on the Brazilian circuit. Dana White came calling, and Marina would blast her way through the opposition on ‘Dana White’s Contender Series’. She won the bout via first-round technical knockout, raising her stock almost instantly.

Marina Rodriguez MMA Accomplishments

  • UFC Performance of the Night (One time) vs. Amanda Ribas

Best Available Odds: (Visit our BetOnline Review)

Michelle Waterson (18-8-0)

A career in modelling just wasn’t satisfying for Michelle Waterson; instead, she chose to fight? Each to their own, and who can blame her – as the ‘Karate Hottie’ soon picked up American Freestyle karate like it was her destiny.

Michelle’s good friend Donald Cerrone helped her transition from a ring girl into an octagon girl as she hung up the round cards for MMA gloves and displayed her talents for the world.

Once she proved herself for Invicta FC and became the Atomweight Champion, she officially signed with the UFC in 2015 and has been a top contender ever since.

Michelle Waterson MMA Accomplishments

  • Invicta Atomweight Champion (One time, one defense)
  • UFC Performance of the Night (One time)
  • UFC Fight of the Night (One time) vs. Angela Hill

Best Available Odds: (Visit our BookMaker Review)

How can Waterson win?

It’s not looking suitable for Waterson in the striking department, where she often excels. Her opponent next week is lethal at range with a muay thai offence that has left damage on everybody she’s faced.

Figuring out a game plan for Waterson in this bout is difficult; I’d like to suggest a grappling approach similar to Carla Esparza, but I’m doubtful that the ‘Karate Hottie’ can provide a decent enough wrestling offense to achieve this.

How can Rodriguez win?

A background in muay thai is her calling, with a sleek enough jiu-jitsu game to keep the opposition on their toes should they want to grapple. Marina Rodriguez is 34 years old, but her time in the sport has been spent dismantling the women that face her.

If you take a glance at Carla Esparza’s face after their fight, you wouldn’t believe that Rodriguez didn’t walk away with the decision in her favour. The only loss during her career was against Esparza, and that took a solid grappling offence to achieve.

Should Marina keep this fight at range, her length, viciousness, and striking output could be more than what Waterson can handle.

Waterson vs. Rodriguez Prediction

Few UFC fans will be disappointed with the newly instated main event for UFC in Vegas 26. Still, from a personal standpoint, I am incredibly excited to watch two lethal strikers with two contrasting styles.

A wide karate-based stance of Waterson versus a tight distanced muay thai style of Rodriguez could provide a ‘fight of the night’ kind of matchup.

With that said, I must favour Rodriguez; the damage behind her strikes combined with her significant size advantage could potentially leave ‘The Karate Hottie’ face down on the canvas.

UFC Pick: Marina Rodriguez to win -175 with BetOnline (Visit our BetOnline Review)

Marina Rodriguez-175
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  • Marina Rodriguez vs. Michelle Waterson (UFC Strawweight main event bout)
  • Ben Rothwell vs Philipe Lins (UFC Heavyweight bout)
  • Amanda Ribas vs. Angela Hill (UFC Women’s Strawweight bout)
  • Neil Magny vs Geoff Neal (UFC Welterweight bout)
  • Diego Ferreira vs. Gregor Gillespie (UFC Lightweight bout)
  • Phil Hawes vs. Kyle Daukaus (UFC Middleweight bout)

*The pick reflects the line now the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, do not forget to refer to our live odds.