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Marina Rodriguez punishes Michelle Waterson, avoids late comeback attempt to win in UFC Vegas 26 main event – MMA Root



Marina Rodriguez survived a possible jaw injury and Michelle Waterson’s late comeback attempt, but still gave a punitive performance to win the UFC Vegas 26 main event.

After accepting the fight in a very short time, Rodriguez did not miss a hit in five rounds as he was fast and furious with his striking combinations that forced Waterson to demonstrate his ability to absorb a lot of damage. While Waterson managed to make a comeback in rounds four and five, Rodriguez was just over 25 minutes and the result was a unanimous decision for the Brazilian.

The scorecards read 49-46, 49-46, and 48-47, and Rodriguez grabbed his second win as he moved to 4-1-2 in his UFC career.

When the fight started, Waterson was quick to attack but Rodriguez flushed him back with a strong right hand that broke the former Invicta FC champion. There were only a few punches left for Rodriguez to be a bit more cautious with Waterson’s combos to avoid long, power strikes from the outside.

Waterson began to diversify his attacks by mixing a series of kicks, including a hard hit on Rodriguez’s front foot and another direct hit on the knee. Still, as Rodriguez began to move forward with more aggression, he threw punches and an ugly knee without riveting.

Rodriguez’s confidence continued to grow as she bullied Waterson around the cage with punitive combinations and then dominated the body and head, including various knees, from the rivet. Just before the closing of the second round, Rodriguez went on a series of punitive strikes that caused Waterson’s nose to drip blood.

The attack continued with Rodriguez opening a beautiful head shot at the start of the third round, and then throwing a series of punches while imprisoning Waterson in the cage. As he continued hunting for the finish, Waterson continued to find a way to survive by attacking the bullet leg with his kicks.

Waterson also managed to beat him for the first time in round four, eventually stopping Rodriguez’s attack and began to have a good floor and kick. While a comeback was enough for that round, Waterson had to know she needed a finish.

He nearly did it after he blew Rodriguez with a head kick, and then another to the body that caused the Brazilian player to wobble for a moment. Despite the damage inflicted, Rodriguez refused to back down with constant pressure, including another blistering punch combination and a kick to Waterson’s head that bounces off her face.

By the time the fight was over, Rodriguez clearly did enough to win, but couldn’t talk about the handiwork due to an injury he suffered in the fight – likely from the head shot Waterson did, which caused significant swelling in the jaw.

Still, Rodriguez had many reasons to celebrate as he won at his first UFC main event, and while this fight technically took place on the flyweight, the overall performance certainly points out that a new contender is coming to the 115-pound division.

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