UFC Vegas 79: Marina Rodriguez Batters, Bloodies Tough-As-Nails Michelle Waterson-Gomez

Marina Rodriguez and Michelle Waterson-Gomez, UFC Vegas 79
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 23: (L-R) Marina Rodriguez of Brazil punches Michelle Waterson-Gomez in a strawweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on September 23, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

A pair of strawweights looking to get back in the win column at UFC Vegas 79, with Marina Rodriguez, once considered a contender at 115lbs, looking to snap a two-fight skid against “Karate Hottie” Michelle Waterson-Gomez.

Waterson-Gomez, a former Invicta atomweight champ, had lost three straight herself.

It was Waterson-Gomez getting things going with a very early takedown. She settled into Rodriguez’s guard as the Brazilian looked to shrimp back to the fence. At times, Rodiguez closed her guard, and stayed active enough off her back to stall any progress being made by “The Karate Hottie,” who briefly backed off then looked to re-engage, with the threat of upkicks looming. That, however, allowed Rodriguez to scramble to her feet; the pair traded knees in the clinch, but Rodriguez clearly had more behind hers.

Perhaps with that in mind, Waterson-Gomez went right back to a takedown attempt, but despite getting a hold of Rodriguez’s leg, she couldn’t finish it. Instead, Rodriguez locked up a Thai clinch and fired some nasty elbows to the body and head! Waterson-Gomez was bloodied and covering up, firing back blind when she could before charging into a desperation takedown. Rodriguez escaped, then began battering Waterson-Gomez again, bloodying her further with elbows in a nasty visual. While the fight probably could have been stopped there, the tough-as-nails Waterson-Gomez did just enough to continue, covering up, occasionally firing back, shooting for a takedown, and throwing the odd kick. But her face was a mess, a mask of blood, and Rodriguez battered her with more elbows.

Towards the end of the round, the ref brought in the cageside doc to take a look at a cut on Waterson-Gomez, but the fight was allowed to continue, with Rodriguez landing her own takedown in the final seconds.

A clear 10-8 round had Waterson-Gomez in a hole. But she returned for round two, and clinched up about a minute in. Rodriguez put her opponent’s back to the fence, and eventually fired a knee; Waterson-Gomez dropped to her back rather than take that knee, but Rodriguez wasn’t bout to waste time on the ground and let her up. Moments later, following a punch landed by Michelle, they were back in the clinch. Waterson-Gomez tried to get the fight down, dragging Rodriguez on top of her, but that led to the finish, with Rodriguez in mount dropping elbows and punches.

Official Result: Marina Rodriguez def. Michelle Waterson-Gomez by TKO (elbows and punches), Round 2, 2:42