UFC Fight Night 161 start time -- Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Michelle Waterson: Fight card, predictions, odds

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What a wild week it has been as we get set for the UFC Fight Night 161 festivities in Tampa, but throughout all of the drama, we are getting the main event we were promised. Former women's strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk stepped onto the scales on Friday and weighed in at 115.5 pounds, making the marquee bout with Michelle Waterson official. This on the heels of reports earlier in the week that "Joanna Champion" had informed officials that there was no way she would be able to make the required weight. No matter how crazy it's been, though, the main event fight is on. 

With the drama -- or "mind games" as Waterson (17-6) theorized -- in the rear-view, what we're left with is the fight. And it's a good one as Waterson brings her three-fight winning streak and No. 7 spot in the CBS Sports Divisional Rankings to face No. 6 ranked Jedrzejczyk (15-3) as the former longtime champ looks to get right after a 1-3 run over her four most recent fights.

The winner of the fight is likely next in line to fight newly-crowned strawweight champ Weili Zhang, though Jedrzejczyk would argue that, despite losing the belt to Rose Namajunas in 2017, she is still champ.

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"I know I will step into the Octagon with Weili Zhang to fight for the title and I don't even see her defending the belt once," Jedrzejczyk told MMA Fighting. "People say to me, 'but you're not the champ anymore.' I'm not the champ? I'm still the champ. Of course I'm the champ. If I don't have the belt physically, I'm still the champ."

This card features plenty of long awaited returns for fight fans, including in the co-main event. Continuing in the long legacy of the Gracie family, Kron Gracie is looking to secure his second UFC win on Saturday when he takes on Cub Swanson. Swanson is riding a four-fight losing streak, but has faced nothing but elite talents at 145 pounds.

Plus, its the debut of James Vick at 170 pounds after a brutal losing streak for the lightweight veteran. He takes on the always durable Niko Price. And, Mackenzie Dern, who gave birth just four months ago, is back for a strawweight showdown with Amanda Ribas.

Here's the fight card for UFC Fight Night 161 with the latest odds from MGM.

UFC Fight Night 161 card, odds

FavoriteUnderdogWeightclass

Joanna Jedrzejczyk -370

Michelle Waterson +300

Women's strawweight

Kron Gracie -170

Cub Swanson +140

Featherweight

Niko Price -165

James Vick +135

Welterweight

Mackenzie Dern -140Amanda Ribas +110Women's strawweight
Luis Pena -170Matt Frevola +140Lightweight
Eryk Anders -165Gerald Meerschaert +135
Middleweight

UFC Fight Night 161 viewing information

Date: Oct. 12, 2019 | Start time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Amalie Arena -- Tampa, Florida
Stream: ESPN+

Prediction

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Michelle Waterson: It's hard to know exactly where Jedrzejczyk is at in her career right now. The 1-3 run in her last four fights is ugly at first glance, but Namajunas may have just had her number in their two fights and the other loss came in a jump to flyweight for a title shot against one of the two best women in the sport right now in Valentina Shevchenko. There's the win over Tecia Torres sandwiched in there, but Torres has come up short against most of the top end of the division -- except for Waterson. Waterson looked good against Karolina Kowalkiewicz, but there's a reason these are the biggest underdog odds on Waterson since she fought Jessica Penne back at Invicta FC 5 in April 2013. Waterson is likely outgunned here, but she pulled off the upset in the aforementioned fight with Penne, so never count her out.  Pick: Jedrzejczyk via UD 

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