MMA Record: 7-5
UFC Record: 3-4
Notable Wins: Randa Markos, Jessica Aguilar
Notable Losses: Felice Herrig, Claudia Gadelha, Pearl Gonzalez
Last Fight: Decision loss to Felice Herrig
Fighter Profile: Casey was somewhat of an unknown prior to joining the UFC but has looked solid in the Octagon so far despite just a 3-4 record. You have to keep in mind she has fought a very high level of competition in the UFC so far. Generally she has performed at fighter at a similar level an even has a notable submission win over Randa Markos in the UFC. She is a very game fighter who is willing to stand in the pocket and trade and go for submissions on the ground. However, she has that gatekeeper feel about her and I don’t thnk she is someone who will fight for the belt.
MMA Record: 14-6
UFC Record: 2-2
Notable Wins: Paige VanZant, Jessica Penne
Notable Losses: Tecia Torres, Rose Namajunas
Last Fight: Decision loss to Tecia Torres
Fighter Profile: Waterson is the former Invcita FC atomweight champion but has not performed at a championship level so far in the UFC as she’s currently riding a two-fight losing streak. You have to remember she has been fighting top-level talent in her losses such as Torres and the champ Namajunas, but in her career most of her wins have been against sub-par opponents if you really look back at it She definitely is a skilled fighter with her striking and submissions but it looks like she may be on the downside of her career right now considering she’s lost three of her last five fights. I’m not of the belief that she’s completely done, and still think she sticks around the UFC for a few more fights, but my championship-level expectations to her have faded considering her recent outings.
Fight Breakdown: I view this as a very competitive battle in the women’s strawweight division. Casey has really perfomed above expectations so far in the UFC considering no one really knew who she was before. She’s a very game fighter who has beaten a solid list of opponents so far in her young UFC career and even in defeat she looks good. On the other hand, Waterson has performed below expectations considering she is a former world champion in Invicta. She looked great in her first two UFC fights but not so good in her last two. But again, you have to look at the level of competition, and losses to Namajunas and Torres aren’t bad at all. Ultimately in this matchup, I think Waterson is a bit more skilled on the feet and I believe the striking edge wins her this battle. I could see Waterson slowing down as the fight goes on and Casey taking the last round, but I think Waterson does enough on the feet in the first two rounds to win a decision.
Prediction: Waterson by decision