UFC Fight Night Rodriguez Vs Waterson Review
The last opus of Fight Night for The Ultimate Fighting Championship, served as an evening of lessons. There have been cases of a seasoned veteran in the ring guiding a fighter to victory. However, not to be outdone, youth and athleticism helped other fighters achieve impressive victories. Even the different ways in which the physical attributes of the fighters play into their styles proved to be relevant throughout the night. Some taller fighters have shown just how much length can be of a tactical advantage, while others have suffered from a lack of leverage and the inability to stay off the mat. Overall, fight fans were served with an assortment of styles to choose from that night. Let’s go.
Phil Hawes vs. Kyle Daukaus
After an equal first round filled with grappling, the action resumed significantly in the second round. Daukaus started the round with a nice combination but couldn’t gain momentum. Hawes pulled off a series of strikes and kicks that turned the momentum of the fight in his favor. A low shot from Hawes with just over a minute to go in the round may have served as a blessing for the breathless Daukaus, who used the referee’s warning as an opportunity to catch his breath.
In the third round, Hawes put the fight out of reach. His early withdrawal from Daukaus showed his physical dominance. He hit his opponent with strikes for the remainder of the round; Daukaus never made a sincere effort to get out of the mat and instead seemed to go into survival mode. The result was a unanimous decision victory for Hawes, who used the post-fight interview to challenge defending middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
Carlos Diego Ferreira vs. Gregor Gillespie
The first round was pretty even. It was an incredibly active round with high intensity grappling hooks, but none of the fighters were able to establish a clear advantage.
In the second round, Gillespie’s superior conditioning became evident. Fighting for the first time since November 2019, Gillespie managed to dominate after scoring an early withdrawal. He maintained the dominant position on the mat and started hitting Ferreira with punches. Eventually, the referee shouted the command “strike back” and Ferreira, who did not respond. This led him to stop the fight. After a year and a half of dismissal from the Octagon, Gillespie had come back triumphantly with a stoppage in the second round.
Maurice Greene against Marcos Rogério de Lima
Maurice Greene is 6’7 ” tall. While height can be an advantage at times, it certainly worked to his detriment against Marcos Lima. Greene clearly entered the game with a game plan centered on using his range advantage to keep Lima on the outside. Lima had other plans.
In the first round, Lima scored an early withdrawal; Greene didn’t have the power to get off the mat. Lima’s stocky figure and lower center of gravity clearly gave him a problem. After suffering a similar fate in the second round, Greene purposefully put his fingers in Lima’s eyes towards the end of the round. In retaliation, Lima hit Greene after the bell. This led to the referee issuing each of them a stern warning before the start of the third set.
Although both men were clearly angry in the third and final round, it turned out to be a replay of the previous two. Lima scored an early withdrawal and Greene appeared to accept defeat. Lima won an easy unanimous decision. It looks like Greene wants to consider kickboxing instead of mixed martial arts. Its length would serve him well there; it certainly didn’t help him in the octagon.
Neil Magny vs. Geoff Neal
Neal was able to counter Magny’s attack early in the first round. Neal clearly wanted to land big punches to carry Magny, but got tangled up in the bigger man’s wrestling tactics every time he stepped inside. Visibly frustrated, Neal tried to take Magny to the mat but was unsuccessful.
Magny would go on to demonstrate exactly how a taller fighter is supposed to use his height to his advantage throughout the fight. He remained aggressive throughout rounds two and three, keeping smaller Neal on the outside with the jab. Whenever Neal tried to launch the attack, Magny wrapped her long arms around him and thwarted his attempts. Magny sealed the deal with an impressive withdrawal towards the end of the third round. For his efforts, he was rewarded with a unanimous decision of the judges.
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone vs. Alex Morono
Cowboy is undeniably a legend in mixed martial arts. His longevity in both World Extreme Cage Fighting and UFC has earned the respect of fighting fans around the world. However, he’s 38 and isn’t as explosive as he was in his prime.
A hungry and newcomer by the name of Alex Morono seized the opportunity to face the legend and was rewarded with the biggest victory of his career. After instructing Cerrone to start the fight, pressure from Morono forced him to make a crucial mistake. Swinging with a wild left in an attempt to regain momentum, Cowboy missed a lot. Morono countered with a strong right that clearly hurt his opponent. Sensing that he had the opportunity to stop the fight, Morono hit Cerrone with a barrage of punches that caused the referee to stop the fight. Alex Morono’s side must be delighted with a trademark victory that is sure to give him a big boost in the UFC welterweight division standings.
Marina Rodriguez vs. Michele Waterson
Rodriguez used his three-inch height advantage so well that it forced Waterson to smile in frustration on more than one occasion throughout the fight. It was almost a visual signal that she was upgraded and that she knew it. To Waterson’s credit. she kept her foot on the gas the whole fight and even had some awesome moments. If Rodriguez had lost his cool or his focus, Waterson might have capitalized.
The first three rounds were a show of a skilled fighter with good timing who knows how to use the strike to his advantage. Rodriguez kept Waterson out with the jab. On those occasions that Waterson was able to come close, Rodriguez made him pay off with just-timed knees and kicks. In the fourth round, Waterson scored a huge takedown and remained in dominance throughout the round. It was easily his best round of the night and an impressive display of resilience. Waterson remained competitive in the fifth round, resorting to kicks to try to turn the tide in her favor, but it was too little too late. Rodriguez got the unanimous decision.
All in all, it was another fun night of UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Every approach to combat was on display and the art students came away with valuable lessons. If there’s one thing to take away from tonight, it’s that there is more than one way to be successful in the world of mixed martial arts. Athletes simply need to find the style that works best for them, and then hone their craft accordingly.