TUF 21 Finale Newcomer Breakdown: Michelle Waterson

michelle watersonPrior to each UFC card, Jay Primetown takes a close look at debuting fighters. In the latest installment, we look at former Invicta Atomweight champion Michelle Waterson as she takes on Angela Magana at the TUF 21 Finale in Las Vegas, Nevada. Michelle “Karate Hottie” Waterson Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colorado Age: 29 Height: 5’4” Reach: N/A Weight Class: Atomweight Camp: Jackson’s MMA Career Record: 12-4 Key Wins: Jessica Penne Key Losses: Herica Tiburcio Background The former model turned MMA fighter started training in karate at age 10. She holds a black belt in American Free Style Karate along with experience in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, and WuShu. She had been fighting at atomweight in Invicta FC and will be moving up in weight to fight in the UFC. Strengths

  • Really good footwork
  • Variety of kicks
  • Can mix in kicks to head and legs
  • Decent submission game with a good armbar
  • Good transitions on the mat


  • Size a concern as she most recently fought at 105
  • Can be taken down by solid wrestlers
  • Has trouble with aggressive strikers



  Matchup with Angela Magana In Waterson’s UFC debut, she faces the self-proclaimed Queen Bee herself, Angela Magana. Of her seven losses, Magana has lost four of them by submission. On the feet, Waterson has a significant speed advantage both in movement and footwork. Look for Waterson to land a few strikes than to work in takedowns. Once she has Magana on the ground, she will work to an advanced position where she can give Magana her fifth submission loss of her career. At  +275 at time of publication, Waterson by sub presents a nice opportunity. While I think Waterson has some significant flaws, this matchup is tailor made for her to get a win and do so in decisive fashion. UFC Ceiling Michelle Waterson is seasoned fighter and a former Invicta champion. There’s no question she has talent, but physically I have my doubts she can compete with the division’s best at strawweight. In a grappling exchange, she’s capable of holding her own due to flexibility and variety of submissions. On the feet, she doesn’t have the power or the physique to challenge the division’s more powerful strikers. Add to that, she’s coming off a loss to a fighter that isn’t even five feet tall. I think Waterson’s career in the UFC will disappoint compared to expectations. Fight Film Check out Michelle Waterson in some of her most recent fights: Michelle Waterson vs. Lacey Shuckman   Michelle Waterson vs. Jessica Penne

Written by Jay Primetown

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