UFC 303: Gillian Robertson Has Near-Flawless Performance, Michelle Waterson-Gomez Retires

Michelle Waterson-Gomez and Gillian Robertson, UFC 303
Michelle Waterson-Gomez and Gillian Robertson, UFC 303 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Eddie Law/Cageside Press

Canada’s Gillian Robertson, still on the right side of 30 and 2-1 as a strawweight in the UFC, took on veteran Michelle Waterson-Gomez on the early preliminary card of UFC 303 on Saturday.

Robertson was fresh off a win over Polyana Viana in Toronto back in January at UFC 297, while “The Karate Hottie” Gomez-Waterson had lost four straight, with two of those losses against Marina Rodriguez.

While Michelle flashed stance switches and stayed mobile early, it was Gillian Robertson pressing, and nearly landing a takedown off a caught kick. Robertson kept her guard high, fired a kick up top, and looked to land her right hand. About 90 seconds in, Robertson clinched up, falling back on her bread and butter despite holding her own on the feet. The takedown came with ease, and Robertson was soon in side control, working on an arm-bar. When the arm-bar wasn’t there, Robertson moved to mount, trapped an arm, and secured a crucifix, dropping elbows! Waterson-Gomez survived, but had Robertson on top, in North-South. She swung back around, sat in mount, and dropped elbows and punches, forcing Waterson-Gomez to cover up.

Then came the arm-bar. Waterson-Gomez defended, Robertson rolled with the submission, but ultimately they went to round two.

Robertson closed the distance immediately in round two, and landed a quick takedown with authority. Waterson-Gomez held onto half-guard, momentarily, but Robertson soon moved into side control, looking for another crucifix. From there, she flowed into mount, landing more elbows. Waterson-Gomez regained half-guard, but Robertson was still in control, elbowing the thigh, and soon enough, she was back into mount, two minutes still on the clock. Just a dominant showing from Gillian Robertson through the first half of the fight.

Continuing to flow on top, Robertson moved to side control, then mount. And again, at the end of the round, Robertson went after an arm-bar, only to run out of time.

Round three started with Waterson-Gomez finding herself caught in a guillotine, after looking for a takedown of her own. Robertson used that to regain her feet, then put “The Karate Hottie” back down herself. From there, it was all-Gillian, all the time. In the most dominant showing of her UFC career, Robertson proved to be levels above on the ground, while what little was seen of her striking appeared to be improved as well. In the final two minutes, Robertson worked from half-guard, continued to work to improve position and find a finish, and never gave Michelle Waterson-Gomez any breathing room. Michelle was showing swelling under one eye, and simply didn’t have any answer for the grappling of Gillian Robertson.

After the fight, a tearful Waterson-Gomez took off the gloves, while the UFC played some of her career highlights. A former Invicta FC atomweight champ, “The Karate Hottie” leaves the sport as a pioneer, fighting at a time when women had yet to break into the big leagues. “I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for the UFC, and all you fans that continued to push me. Fighting runs through my veins, it made me who I am,” Waterson-Gomez exclaimed, saying she’ll now be on the other side, with her family, cheering on others.

Official Result: Gillian Robertson def. Michelle Waterson-Gomez by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)