A flyweight showdown between top-ten UFC strawweight contenders, Michelle ‘The Karate Hottie’ Waterson and Marina Rodriguez is slated to take main event honours on short notice this weekend at UFC Vegas 26 at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The pairing of former Invicta FC atomweight best, Waterson and the #6 ranked Rodriguez replaces the cancelled main event pairing between streaking contender, Cory Sandhagen and former two-time division titleholder, T.J. Dillashaw, after the latter suffered a laceration above his right eye. Initially reported by Cole Shelton, UFC president, Dana White confirmed the matchup to Yahoo! Sports reporter, Kevin Iole.
Headlining on short notice again at UFC Vegas 10 last September, Waterson managed to take home a close split decision win over former Invicta FC strawweight pacesetter, Angela Hill over five rounds.
Returning to the winner’s enclosure at UFC 257 on ‘Fight Island’ in January, Muay Thai ace, Rodriguez handed compatriot, Amanda Ribas her first promotional defeat in the form of an eye-catching second round knockout win.
Coincidentally, Waterson and Rodriguez headline a main card that opens with a strawweight bout between former foes, the above-mentioned duo of Ribas and Hill.
Speculation began to mount regarding the future of the entire event, after the promotion failed to announce the entire fight card during their broadcast of UFC Vegas 25 on Saturday night — which was rounded out by a massive knockout win for Jiri Prochazka over former two-time title challenger, Dominick Reyes at light heavyweight.
The Fight Night event lost its originally slated co-headliner to boot last week, after former lightweight title challenger and The Ultimate Fighter 1 middleweight tournament victor, Diego Sanchez was removed from his proposed retirement bout with Donald Cerrone and ultimately handed his release from the organization after a sixteen-year stint.
On short notice, off the back of his unanimous decision loss to recent PFL debutante, Anthony Pettis last December, Fortis MMA trainee, Alex Morono replaces Sanchez and meets with Cerrone.
Also featuring on the main card, a lightweight pairing of Diego Ferreira and wrestling standout, Gregor Gillespie takes place. In a rescheduled welterweight clash, 170lbs staple, Neil Magny returns from a UFC Fight Island 8 headlining loss to Michael Chiesa, tackling kickboxing talent, Geoff Neal.