Updated: Jan 14
The UFC will stay in Vegas this weekend for a Fight Night featuring women’s flyweights Marina Rodriguez and Michelle Waterson. Originally, we were supposed to see a five round fight between T.J. Dillashaw and Cory Sandhagen, but Dillashaw was forced to withdraw with an injury. We were also supposed to see Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone fight Diego Sanchez, but after a series of disputes with Sanchez’s camp, Cerrone was given a new opponent. If you haven’t heard the drama involving Sanchez, it is worth a read, but we will not get too deep into that here. Sanchez was an entertaining fighter in his prime and it is sad to see him so clearly taken advantage of.
For this post, we will focus on the main card and provide early week previews and picks. Circumstances, including weigh-ins and other health concerns during this pandemic, can greatly impact not only each fight on Saturday, but where they end up on the card. We will keep all of you up to date with relevant information through our social media accounts and then in our Game Picks on Saturday. Picks mentioned in this post are NOT our final picks.
Let’s start with the main event, Rodriguez vs Waterson. Rodriguez is the betting favorite to win the fight with odds currently at -210. Rodriguez will enter the ring with a three inch reach advantage and is definitely the more powerful and proficient striker. Although a natural striker, Waterson’s best path to victory may be through her ability to wrestle. In Rodriguez’s only career loss, a split decision, we saw Carla Esparza finish five takedowns. Still, Rodriguez remained active on the ground in that fight and cut Esparza with an elbow from bottom. Of note, Esparza also recently won a split decision over Waterson. This main event is well matched and we expect a very exciting main event. If we had to pick, we would lean Rodriguez to win.
In the co-main, we have a welterweight fight between UFC veteran Cowboy Cerrone and Andrew Morono. Cerrone is the betting favorite at -190. Although there is speculation throughout the media about how hard Cerrone is training for this fight, he is the better fighter in every aspect of the sport. We have no doubt that Cerrone, who is now winless in his last five fights, will bring his best to octagon in a fight that he may need to win to stay with the promotion against Morono, who is also coming off a loss and likely also needs a win desperately. Unless an injury occurs or something changes, we like Cerrone to win. Also, since this is only a three round fight and Morono does not threaten much by way of power, we very much like this fight to go to a decision, regardless of who wins.
The “co-co” features two more welterweight fighters who are coming off losses in Neil Magny and Geoff Neal. In January. Magny lost a unanimous decision to Michael Chiesa that exposed weaknesses in his grappling. Just before then in December. We saw Neal lose a unanimous five-round decision to Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, in which he lost all five rounds and struggled to land the heavy strikes he likes to throw. In this coming fight, Neal is the betting favorite at -185. We are not rushing to bet on either fighter, but Magny +160 seems like a slightly more intriguing number.
Next, we have a heavyweight fight between two of bottom-dwellers in the division, Maurice Greene and Marcos Rogero de Lima. Rogero de Lima is the betting favorite at -200, but there’s no way you can confidently bet that line on a fighter who gasses out after the first round. Cardio is a major issue for Rogero de Lima and we cannot say that Greene, who is known for smoking cigarettes while on the The Ultimate Fighter, will bring much more of it. The bottom of this heavyweight division is just ugly. This one doesn’t warrant a pick.
The fifth of six fights on this main card is between All-American wrestler Gregor Gillespie and Carlos Diego Ferreira. Gillespie is the betting favorite to win this lightweight bout at -170. Gillespie has not fought In over two years and that was a knockout loss to Kevin Lee. We do not know how Gillespie will bounce back from getting KO’d, but we do know he doesn’t look comfortable getting hit. It’s because Gillespie, who is now 34 years old, has barely fought and when he does fight, he normally beats on lesser competition. Things don’t appear so easy this time out. Ferreira is a warrior. He recently lost an exciting fight to rising star Beneil Dariush, who called Ferreira one of his hardest opponents to date. If you can’t tell, we are leaning towards the underdog in this fight.
Last here, but first on the main card, we have a very exciting women’s strawweight fight between Amanda Ribas and Angela Hill. This fight could easily be the co-main event and it is probably our most anticipated fight of the evening. Ribas is the betting favorite at -175. She was actually scheduled to fight Waterson earlier this year, but Waterson pulled out with an injury and Marina Rodriguez stepped in. Rodriguez earned a knockout finish in the second round. In her most recent fight, Hill won a very dominant unanimous decision over Ashley Yoder. She has fought some of the best fighters in the division, including Waterson, and is definitely the more experienced fighter. Hill is also the far superior striker, so the question in this fight is whether Ribas can take it to the ground, but that may prove difficult with Hill’s improving takedown defense. At +150, we like the underdog in this fight.
*Please do not confuse our opinions expressed here as our picks for the card. We will post all picks for this event and all UFC events in the Game Picks section of the website.
**Also, let us know if you like this UFC preview! Would you want to see a full card breakdown in the future?