On tilt for this weekend is a stacked fight card live from the UFC Apex. This fight card is headlined by two of the best Strawweight contenders in the UFC a fan favorite “The Karate Hottie” Michelle Waterson and the surging Marina Rodriguez. There’s a ton of great matchups put together for this weekend’s event. Ranked fighters are battling it out to move up the rankings to get one step closer to get a chance to fight for a title.
Amanda Ribas vs Angela Hill
The first fight up on the main card is a Strawweight bout between two of the divisions best Amanda Ribas and Angela Hill. Ribas took her first loss in her UFC career and is looking to get back on track while Hill is looking to keep her momentum going coming off a dominant win last time out. This should be a great closely contested fight between these two contenders.
Amanda Ribas had all of the hype surrounding her coming into a high-profile matchup with the now headliner Marina Rodriguez. She looked as if she was going to dominate Rodriguez in the early going but she slowed down after round 1, where Rodriguez was then able to take over. Ribas is a very well-rounded mixed martial artist being as she is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and has the striking to keep up with Hill on the feet.
Angela Hill will be looking to keep the ball rolling after her impressive victory over Ashley Yoder in her most recent bout. Hill’s output and movement on the feet make it difficult for any opposition to get a handle on her. She is going to need to use her diverse striking and movement to keep her back off the cage which is exactly where Ribas wants it. If Hill can keep this fight at range she has a chance to pull off the upset.
If we look at the resume of Angela Hill she tends to lose to the higher level of competition that she faces. She doesn’t have the style of fighting that sways judges as we have seen time and time again as she has lost 6 of the 11 decisions. Ribas has the style to win the judges and even has the opportunity to get the finish. Hill is susceptible to getting taken down as she has been taken down in 12 of her 17 fights in the UFC which bodes well for Brazilian Ribas. Expect Ribas to push the pace, pressure forward, go volume for volume with Hill, and land takedowns for the entirety of this fight to take a one-sided decision.
Amanda Ribas wins via unanimous decision
Diego Ferreira vs Gregor Gillespie
This is the hardcore fan’s favorite fight of the entire night. Two Lightweight contenders square off in what should be a grapplers delight between Diego Ferreira and Gregor Gillespie. This has the makings of the fight of the night written all over it.
Gregor Gillespie is making his return to the octagon after an 18-month layoff after taking the first loss of his career by the hands (and foot) of Kevin Lee. It is going to be interesting to see how Gillespie fares in his first fight back after that brutal knockout loss. If he comes back with no problems he should have little to no trouble implementing his normal wrestle-heavy game plan in this matchup.
The always game Diego Ferreira is going to have his hands full in this one against the former D1 All-American. The 3rd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will need to put his grappling credentials to good use in this matchup. Ferreira does have the distinct striking advantage in this fight but whether he can keep it there is the question.
Ferreira is going to have to dig deep and use his submission grappling to threaten from the bottom and use to sweep to get back to his feet when he is eventually taken down by Gillespie. It is best for Ferreira to keep this fight fought at range as his striking has been his best attribute as of late even taking it to Beneil Dariush in a close split decision loss.
Gillespie will need to use his feints and overhand right to get in range to level change to land his takedowns. When Gillespie gets the fight to the mat he looks to maintain a dominant position to land ground pound instead of attacking submissions. If he is able to get in range he should have little to no resistance with his takedown attempts. Things may get a little dicey when the fighters are fresh on the mat but ultimately Ferreira will succumb to dominant top pressure for the majority of this fight.
Gregor Gillespie wins via unanimous decision
Maurice Green vs Marcos Rogerio de Lima
In the second of two heavyweight fights on this fight night, we have a slobber knocker between Maurice Green and Marcos Rogerio de Lima. Both fighters are subsequently coming off of losses and are looking to get back into the win column. Being as both fighters’ backs are against the wall, expect an action-packed fight.
Marcos Rogerio de Lima is one of the smaller heavyweights on the roster standing at only 6’1″ but what he lacks in size he makes up in power. 13 of de Lima’s 17 wins have come by way of knockout as he utilizes his exceptional kickboxing to keep his opponents thinking when trying to enter the pocket. We have seen de Lima’s defensive wrestling be his biggest weakness in his overall game but there shouldn’t be a ton of grappling exchanges, as both de Lima averages less than 1 takedown per fight while Greene hasn’t landed a single takedown in his UFC career thus far.
Maurice Greene has gone through a rough patch in his UFC career losing 3 out of his last 4 bouts. All 3 of those losses have come inside the distance, which doesn’t bode well against a finisher like de Lima. Greene will have a sizeable advantage in reach (5″) and height (6″). He will need to utilize his size advantage to keep de Lima at the end of his strikes if he wants to be victorious in this matchup.
It is hard to be overly confident in either one of these fighters coming into this fight. With that said one thing we can be confident in is that de Lima should win this fight as long as it is played out on the feet. He is the much more polished striker that packs more punching power, which doesn’t bode well for Greene who has been knocked out 4 times (2 MMA, 2 kickboxing).
Marcos Rogerio de Lima wins via 1st round KO/TKO
Neil Magny vs Geoff Neal
Two of the UFC’s welterweight top 10 ranked fighters battle it out to see who truly belongs at the top of the division. Neil Magny and Geoff Neal are both some of the divisions best but are coming off of main event losses and looking to get momentum back on their sides.
Geoff Neal on the heels of his first loss in the UFC is looking to rebound in his second stint of trying to fight against Neil Magny. The last time these two were paired together, Neal had his health scare that almost took his life. He came back from that health crisis and looked in tip-top shape to fight in his first-ever main event against one of the division’s best strikers. Even though he came up short, he was able to hang in there for 25 minutes with Stephen Thompson which is something in itself. Neal has game planned for Magny once before and that should help him coming into this matchup.
Neil Magny is coming off of one of the most lackluster performances of his professional career against the surging Michael Chiesa. Magny was taken down, controlled, and even out-struck by Chiesa throughout the entirety of that matchup. He has another tough task in front of him taking on the powerful striker in Geoff Neal. Magny will have the height and reach advantages, as he does in most fights. He will need to utilize those advantages to keep Neal on the outside because once inside the pocket that is where things can get dangerous.
This is just a bad stylistic matchup for Neil Magny. Geoff Neal has the power to hurt Magny as Ponzinibbio did back in 2018 and the takedown defense (92%) to keep it on the feet. The smaller octagon in the Apex will be a disservice to the size advantages that Magny has in this fight. Neal will look to push the pace and put on the pressure and catch Magny before it hits the judges.
Geoff Neal wins via 2nd round KO/TKO
Donald Cerrone vs Alex Morono
After a bunch of drama that perspired this week, Diego Sanchez withdrew from his fight with Donald Cerrone. Now stepping in just about 5 days’ notice is Alex Morono who is looking to capitalize off of Sanchez’s misfortune. This is arguably the biggest fight of Morono’s career so he will be looking to take it to Cerrone to get the biggest win of his career.
Donald Cerrone hasn’t won a fight since May 2019 but over that stretch of time, he has fought the who’s who of the lightweight and welterweight divisions. Cerrone has the advantages when it comes to fighting against the higher level of competition as well as having a full fight camp coming into this fight. Even though Cerrone may be at the tail end of his career, he has looked his best in the most recent two bouts against Anthony Pettis and Niko Price. If the Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone that fought the likes Al Iaquinta, Anthony Hernandez, and Mike Perry shows up it’s going to be a long night for Alex Morono.
Alex Morono steps in and saves the day to take on UFC legend Donald Cerrone. Morono is just 1-2 in his last 3 fights and is looking to get the biggest win of his entire career this Saturday against Cerrone. Morono is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt but he uses that area of expertise to keep the fight on the feet which is where he tends to brawl with his opposition. What he has going for him is that he is the younger and fresher fighter and the wear and tear that Cerrone comes with could be a major factor.
If Morono wants to have to chance to score the upset in this matchup he is going to need to start fast and bring the fight to Cerrone. Cerrone is notoriously a slow starter which has been his downfall over the last few years, so if he is looking to get the win here he is going to have to change that. Ultimately other than youth and the wear and tear, Cerrone has all the advantages in the striking and grappling departments which should help him run away with this matchup.
Donald Cerrone wins via unanimous decision
Michelle Waterson vs Marina Rodriguez
Due to some unforeseen circumstances, the return of TJ Dillashaw against Cory Sandhagen has been postponed until Dillashaw recovers from a gruesome injury during training. That announcement brought us this brand new main event between two contenders in the women’s straweight division in Michelle Waterson and Marina Rodriguez. Neither one of these two were scheduled to fight on this card but they both stepped up for the opportunity to headline this weekend’s fight card.
Marina Rodriguez comes into this short notice on the heels of the most impressive win of her career against Amanda Ribas. Rodriguez has some of the deadliest striking in the strawweight division but that comes with some drawbacks. Her takedown defense has been her Achilles heel in her time in the UFC but with Waterson having a karate background this fight should play mainly on the feet. Being as this fight will be at 125 lbs and not 115 lbs, Rodriguez will have a distinct size advantage which should help her drastically in this matchup.
Michelle Waterson is coming off of a hard-fought decision win against Angela Hill her last time out. It was a decision that could have gone either way honestly but nonetheless, a win is a win. Waterson has been a mainstay in the women’s strawweight division but she has a tall task at hand here against the surging Rodriguez. Waterson will need to mix in some grappling in order to drain the gas tank of Rodriguez and drown her in the later rounds.
Waterson has the experience advantage here going the full 25 minutes on 3 separate occasions in the UFC. This will be Rodriguez’s first main event and first 5 round fight of her entire career. She is going to maintain her gas tank and not over-exert herself in the early portion of this fight or things will get dicey the later the fight goes. Waterson had troubles grappling against the smaller Hill going 1-18 on her takedown attempts and if she struggles here against Rodriguez she could be in for some trouble. Rodriguez has the volume and power advantages and as long as she keeps this fight on the feet and conserves her energy she could run away with this fight.
Marina Rodriguez wins via unanimous decision