We're back with yet another prediction and pick for Main Card action at UFC Vegas 79: Fiziev vs. Gamrot. We head over to the Women's Strawweight (115 lb) Division for this next ranked matchup between talented strikers No. 8 ranked Marina Rodriguez will take on No. 12 ranked Michelle Waterson-Gomez. Check out our UFC odds series for our Rodriguez-Waterson-Gomez prediction and pick.
Marina Rodriguez (16-3-2) has gone 6-3-2 since joining the UFC in 2018. She had an impressive four fight win streak that saw her take down Mackenzie Dern, Amanda Ribas, Yan Xiaonan, and even Waterson-Gomez once already. Coming into this fight, however, she's lost back-to-back fights against Amanda Lemos and Virna Jandiroba. A win here would put her right back on track towards a title run. Rodriguez stands 5'6″ with a 65-inch reach.
Michelle Waterson-Gomez (18-11) has gone 6-7 under the UFC since 2015. While she'll always be remembered as an OG of women's MMA, she's had a hard time going 1-5 in her last six fights. She lost a unanimous decision to Rodriguez once before and has since lost back-to-back fights heading into this contest. This could be a decisive fight in the career of the “Karate Hottie.” Waterson-Gomez stands 5'3″ with a 62-inch reach.
Here are the UFC Odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
UFC Vegas 79 Odds: Marina Rodriguez-Michelle Waterson-Gomez Odds
Marina Rodriguez: -325
Michelle Waterson-Gomez: +250
Over 2.5 rounds: -350
Under 2.5 rounds: +250
How to Watch Marina Rodriguez vs. Michelle Waterson-Gomez
Stream: ESPN App, UFC Fight Pass
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET/ 4:00 p.m. PT (Main Card)
*Watch sports LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
Why Marina Rodriguez Will Win
Marina Rodriguez looked to be cruising into title contention easily with the run she went on, but her last two losses have been uncharacteristic to say the least. Typically, she's very aggressive and walks forward with tremendous pressure. She's a hard-nosed, pressure boxer that likes to overwhelm her opponents with her output. If Marina Rodriguez can control the striking distance, she'll have a great chance at winning this fight over three rounds with her boxing. The knock on her in the past has been her inability to finish fights with her hands, so she'll have to really pour it on in order to get a tough Waterson-Gomez out of there. Still, Marina Rodriguez will use pressure boxing and her supreme cardio to try and get this win.
A glaring issue for Rodriguez in recent bouts has been her wrestling defense and escapability from the ground. Against Jandiroba, she struggled mightily to get up from bottom position and couldn't mount any sort of offense any other way. It's worth noting that Waterson-Gomez is a skilled wrestler herself, so it'll be crucial for Rodriguez to patch up any holes in her grappling before this one. If she can keep this fight standing and control the pace, she should be able to outwork and much older Michelle Waterson-Gomez.
Why Michelle Waterson-Gomez Will Win
Michelle Waterson-Gomez is clearly past her prime as a fighter, but she continues to evolve her game and stay active in the Strawweight Division. She hasn't had much luck over her last three fights and despite feeling better with each passing training camp, she hasn't been able to keep up with some of the top contenders. Waterson-Gomez dropped a bout to Marina Rodriguez three fights ago. During that one, Waterson-Gomez was out-struck through five rounds as she could get a solid gauge of the distance. This time around, expect her to be much better about finding her range and connecting early.
To win this fight, Waterson-Gomez will have to mix up her striking looks and pepper the legs of Marina Rodriguez. Rodriguez isn't the most active with her legs and sometimes fails to check kicks – Waterson-Gomez should look to exploit the calf kick early and hinder the mobility of her opponent. From there, Waterson-Gomez can use her movement and quick karate striking to gain points over Rodriguez. Don't sleep on her in the grappling as she's extremely flexible and can find her way out of tough spots.
Final Marina Rodriguez-Michelle Waterson Gomez Prediction & Pick
This could turn out to be a fun fight if both women choose to stand in the center of the octagon and trade. While she's in the twilight of her career, Michelle Waterson-Gomez fights with a ton of energy and she's constantly evolving her game. She may be eating a few shots in this one, but she could see some success if she opens her striking up to the legs and keeps circling from Rodriguez. Marina Rodriguez will be the much more polished boxer and will see success if she stays true to her straight jab. Still, this seems like a spot Marina Rodriguez could drop if she's not careful. For the prediction, let's go with Marina Rodriguez to win in a decision.
Final Marina Rodriguez-Michelle Waterson-Gomez Prediction & Pick: Marina Rodriguez (-325); Wins by Decision (-155)