Michelle Waterson gave a valiant effort in the UFC on ESPN 24 main event but ultimately came up short, falling to Marina Rodriguez via unanimous decision on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Despite being significantly undersized, the former Invicta FC atomweight queen hung tough against her Brazilian opponent. “The Karate Hottie” had her best moment in Round 4, when she landed a takedown and spent the better part of three minutes battering Rodriguez with punches and elbows from top position.
Waterson also caused Rodriguez’s jaw to swell after landing a high kick in the final stanza, but she wasn’t able to match the muay Thai striker’s weapons consistently enough in a bout that was contested largely on the feet. The Jackson-Wink MMA representative has lost three of her last four Octagon appearances but has been competitive in falling to Rodriguez, Carla Esparza and Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
After her latest effort, the 35-year-old New Mexico resident released a statement on the bout.
“Thank you for the dance [Marina Rodriguez], one hell of a fight,”Waterson wrote on Instagram. “Thank you [UFC] for giving me the opportunity to perform under the lights! Thank you to all my friends, family, and fans for always having my back!! Every time I step into the octagon, I step out a better person. I’ll be back! Love you all.”
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