Michelle Waterson and Angela Hill left it all on the line in the main event of UFC Vegas 10, with Waterson taking home a split decision victory.
Angela Hill became the first African-American woman to headline a UFC card at UFC Vegas 10 when she took on Michelle Waterson. This was originally a three-round fight, but was bumped to five when the main event between Glover Teixeira and Thiago Santos fell through. Both fighters were coming off of losses and were looking to get back on track.
For Hill, it was a controversial loss to Claudia Gadelha that snapped a three-fight win streak. On Waterson’s side, she had lost two straight decisions against former champions Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Carla Esparza, the latter of which was a debatable decision.
Angela Hill landed a solid shot early on then ate a couple of leg kicks from Michelle Waterson. Hill landed a slick elbow then a counter right. Hill landed another right hand then ate a leg kick. Waterson drove in with a takedown and nearly got Hill down, but Hill was able to stay on her feet to get to the fence. Hill stuffed a takedown and landed a knee to the body, then Waterson landed a front kick to the face. Hill then pushed Waterson to the fence, keeping her there until the final seconds of the round.
Waterson landed a combination to start the second round and Hill answered with a right hand. Waterson connected with a kick, then Hill got in close for a combination. Hill stuck the jab in then avoided a takedown. A counter right hand cracked Waterson followed by another. Hill kept Waterson off with a jab, then avoided another takedown from Waterson. Waterson got in deep on a single-leg, but Hill was able to stay standing, clinching with Waterson against the fence. A big right hand landed for Waterson, who failed on another takedown attempt and was thrown to the cage by Hill.
Waterson started the round with a few jabs then Hill came in with a combination. Hill landed another slate of punches and Waterson was spewing blood from her nose. She got a hold of Hill and muscled her down in the middle of the cage in half guard. Hill wriggled her way to the fence and tried to work her way up, but gave up her back in the process. They scrambled and Waterson had her back again briefly before falling back into half guard. The round ended with Waterson in full guard, but right before the end of the round, Hill landed an illegal upkick while Waterson was still on the ground. No point was taken but a stern warning was given.
Waterson started the fourth round with a few jabs then ate a combination from Hill. Waterson came up short on a pair of takedown attempts and back to the center they went. A right hand landed for Waterson and Hill answered with a jab. Hill avoided a straight double-leg takedown by Waterson, then was briefly brought down, avoiding any serious time her back. A side kick to the body then the face landed for Waterson, followed by another to the body. Waterson landed an axe kick, forcing Hill to clinch up. On the exit, Waterson landed another side kick to the body and Hill landed a pair of shots at the buzzer.
A double-jab body kick combination started the final round for Waterson. She dug in for a single leg, but couldn’t get it. Hill countered with a body knee and a right hand on the exit. A front kick landed on the chin of Hill, who was getting outworked by Waterson in the latter half of the fight. A short left hand landed for Hill then a right cross for Waterson. A quick combination capped off by a leg kick came in for Waterson followed by a brief clinch exchange. Hill stuffed another single leg, then ate a side kick. A right straight landed for Hill, then a left for Waterson. Hill landed a right hand at the end of a combination, then another. Hill found a second wind near the end of the round, then ate an uppercut from Waterson. Waterson blitzed in and landed an axe kick, then Hill unloaded, driving Waterson to the fence and landing knees and an elbow to cap off the fight.
The third round was the turning point, as Waterson dug as deep as we’ve ever seen her dig to take home the victory.
Michelle Waterson def. Angela Hill by Split Decision (49-46, 48-47, 47-48)