TUF 21 Finale Fight Breakdown: Michelle Waterson vs. Angela Magana

michelle waterson One of the main card bouts at the TUF 21 Finale is a three-round women’s strawweight bout between Michelle Waterson and Angela Magana. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Waterson is a -600 favorite (bet $600 to win $100) while Angela is a +450 underdog (bet $100 to win $450). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Waterson at -505 and Magana at +335, and action has come in on Waterson so far. I agree with the action coming in on Waterson as I expect her to dominate this fight. Here’s why. Waterson (12-4) is the former Invicta FC atomweight champ. She is moving up to strawweight for her UFC debut. The 29-year-old American is one of the most popular fighters in the women’s divisions. She is nicknamed “The Karate Hottie” because of her looks and because of her excellent striking attack. She has been training in karate her whole life and it’s translated well into MMA for the most part, and she’s one of the few fighters in her division with true knockout power. Training at Greg Jackson’s gym, she has worked on her entire MMA game over the years. Her grappling is quite solid now and she was even able to submit Jessica Penne in a big upset a few years ago to win the Invicta title. In total, 10 of her 12 wins have come by stoppage, so she’s definitely a finisher. Moving up to 115, she may have some problems with bigger wrestlers, but she does have a submission game to fall back on. And if her fights stay on the feet, it’s hard to imagine many strawweights being able to outstrike her. Waterson is coming off of a huge upset loss in Invicta, a loss that should motivate her to achieve huge things as she makes her UFC debut in what many are calling a “tune-up” fight against Magana. Magana (11-7) was a cast member on TUF 20 and has since gone 0-1 in the UFC with a decision loss to Tecia Torres. The 31-year-old American is primarily a grappling-based fighter, with six submission wins to her credit. However, she’s hit or miss on the ground and has been tapped out four times herself. She has a lot of experience and even has wins over Barb Honchak and Jessica Aguilar during her decade-long career. On the feet she doesn’t have much in the way of striking, and tends to freeze up, which we saw in the Torres fight. She’s lost three-straight fights at the moment and this is a must-win fight for her, but going up against Waterson, it’s not an easy matchup at all. Magana will have the size advantage heading into the fight, but she’s at a skill disadvantage, and considering the hype on Waterson the high line for this matchup is not surprising. I just think Waterson outclasses Magana on the feet in this fight. I expect it to play out very similarly to Magana’s last fight against Torres, where she was outstruck on the feet for three rounds. I just Waterson’s a much better striker and as long as Magana doesn’t get her on the ground and submit her I don’t see how she doesn’t win this fight. Waterson is -600, but it’s for good reason I believe, so if you want to mix her in with your UFC and TUF 21 parlays this weekend I wouldn’t hesitate to. I know Waterson lost as a big favorite in her last fight, and she burned me there, but I feel like this is a much different matchup, one that the UFC booked for Waterson to win impressively and one I see her coming through with flying colors in.

Written by Adam Martin.

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