Michelle Waterson stole whatever hype that was left surrounding Paige VanZant.
Waterson made her move in the Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s strawweight division, as she rendered the Team Alpha Male standout unconscious with a first-round rear-naked choke in their UUFC on Fox 22 headliner on Saturday at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. VanZant (7-3, 4-2 UFC) blacked out 3:21 into Round 1.
The former Invicta Fighting Championships titleholder kept VanZant at bay with sidekicks to the body and sneaky right hooks before engaging her in the clinch. From there, Waterson (14-4, 2-0 UFC) executed an exquisite head-and-arm throw, immediately advanced to the back and secured position with a body triangle. VanZant struggled to free herself from the choke that followed, but her efforts proved unsuccessful and referee John McCarthy was forced to swoop in for the rescue when her arms went limp (online betting).
Gall Choke Submits Northcutt
Tristar Gym prospect Mickey Gall submitted Sage Northcutt with a second-round rear-naked choke in their welterweight co-main event. Northcutt (8-2, 3-2 UFC) bowed out 1:40 into Round 2, as the youngest member of the UFC roster lost for the second time in three appearances.
Gall (4-0, 3-0 UFC) neutralized the Texan with takedowns and positional control for much of the first round, achieving full mount in the closing seconds. Northcutt, 20, seemed to have the Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt reeling with punches in the middle stanza. However, Gall broke out of a clinch and dropped him with an overhand right to the side of the head. He then sprawled out of a takedown, wheeled to Northcutt’s back, laced his legs into a body triangle and cinched the choke.
The 24-year-old Gall has finished all four of his opponents with rear-naked chokes.
Retiring Faber Decisions Pickett
Former World Extreme Cagefighting champion Urijah Faber closed the book on his extraordinary career with a unanimous decision over Brad Pickett in a featured attraction at 135 pounds. Faber (34-10, 10-6 UFC) swept the scorecards with matching 30-26 marks.
Pickett (25-13, 5-8 UFC) was in trouble from the outset. Faber floored him with a lightning-bolt left hook in the first round and swarmed for the finish, punishing the Brit while transitioning from the back to full mount. Pickett somehow withstood the assault, but the tone was set and the crowd’s fire was lit. Outside of a steady diet of calf kicks to Faber’s lead leg, he struggled to string together meaningful offense. The Team Alpha Male patriarch bottled up Pickett with takedowns, piling on the punishment with ground-and-pound and threatening with his patented guillotine choke over the final 10 minutes.
Jouban Hands Perry First Loss
Black House standout Alan Jouban outstruck Mike Perry across three rounds to take a unanimous decision in their three-round welterweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it for Jouban (15-4, 6-2 UFC): 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27.
Perry (9-1, 2-1 UFC) staggered the Louisiana native with an overhand right in the first round but spent the majority of his time single-shot headhunting. Jouban capitalized on his approach, leaning heavily on kicks to the body and lead leg. He also sat down Perry with a stinging straight left in the third round and racked up points with clean, accurate punching combinations.
Jouban, 35, has won three fights in a row.