UFC Tampa ended in a fun way with Joanna Jedrzejczyk looking like a champion once again with a strong 25-minute display against Michelle Waterson.
Michelle Waterson came into UFC Tampa with a lot of momentum, riding a three-fight win streak to get herself into the title picture. But waiting for her is the greatest champion in strawweight history, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who returns to 115 pounds after a title fight at 125.
Michelle Waterson caught a kick early on and shot hard for a takedown. Joanna Jedrzedczyk fought it off, but ate a combination as she was pushed against the cage. They went back and forth against the cage, with Waterson eventually pushing off and landing a shot on the exit. Waterson ate a hard right straight, then Joanna pushed the fight to the cage. She held Waterson there, landing a hard elbow to score the most notable strike of the round. Joanna attempted multiple times to drag Waterson to the canvas, but the fight never got there.
Joanna started the second round with a steady dose of leg kicks, going to the body once. A right hand landed for Waterson as she was trying to check the leg kicks coming in from the former champion. Waterson shot in for a takedown but couldn’t get it. Joanna worked some dirty boxing in the clinch. Shortly after they separated, they went back to the clinch after another Waterson shot. Joanna’s striking was clean and steady as Waterson was looking for a big shot, hitting Joanna with a pair of head kicks. After another clinch exchange, Waterson ate a heavy front kick to the head. The round ended soon after, with Waterson wearing a lot of damage.
— UFC (@ufc) October 13, 2019
Leg kicks were the recipe once again for Joanna in the third, just peppering away at Waterson’s lead leg. Joanna kept firing and landing, then during a brief clinch exchange, Joanna countered a throw attempt with a d’arce attempt. It was fairly deep but Waterson used the cage to roll out of it. After some time on the feet, Waterson shot for a takedown and got it, taking the back of Jedrzejczyk. She cranked for the choke but couldn’t get it under the chin, eventually falling off the back. When they separated, the fighters exchanged wildly to close the round.
— UFC (@ufc) October 13, 2019
Joanna continued to look great in round four. She was mixing up her strikes beautifully, continuing to batter the legs of Waterson. The striking disparity between the two fighters was ever apparent in the fourth. Waterson was getting beat up thoroughly, especially in the clinch late in the round. Knees landed consistently for Joanna.
Joanna’s right foot appeared damaged, but she was fine with kicking with her left foot. Waterson shot for a takedown, but couldn’t get it. Then she shot again and got the back once again. This time, Joanna defended quickly and squashed the threat. Joanna unloaded great strikes to close out the fight, and Waterson was game till the end.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk def. Michelle Waterson by Unanimous Decision (50-45 x2, 49-46)