Saturday's UFC Fight Night felt at times as though it would completely fall apart, with fight after fight dropping off the card. The show will go on, however, with Marina Rodriguez taking on Michelle Waterson in the main event from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Rodriguez vs. Waterson was finally settled on for the main event after the originally planned main event between TJ Dillashaw and Cory Sandhagen was delayed after Dillashaw suffered a cut in training. Other potential main events also fell through when a bout between Holly Holm and Julianna Pena as well as a planned fight between Donald Cerrone and Diego Sanchez were canceled. In Cerrone's case, he remains on the card, now facing late-replacement Alex Morono in the welterweight co-main event.
Despite both women normally competing at strawweight, the fight between Rodriguez and Waterson takes place in the women's flyweight division.
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"I'm excited about it," Waterson told Morning Kombat of the late-notice opportunity to main event. "I got the news and I got the opportunity and it was playing with my emotions. Everything was kind of up in the air, 'Yes, you're fighting. No, you're not fighting.' Then, I got the opportunity and they said main event May 8. I just remember thinking that I could look at this like a last-minute unsure thing, or I could look at this as destiny and it being meant to be as a challenge that's going to allow me to rise to the occasion and allow me to capitalize on the moment."
Rodriguez enters the fight riding the momentum of a big TKO win over Amanda Ribas in January, a victory that got her back in the win column after suffering the first loss of her career when she was on the wrong side of a split decision against Carla Esparza in July 2020.
Waterson is also looking to build a winning streak. After losing back-to-back fights, Waterson managed to edge out a split decision victory over Angela Hill in their September 2020 clash.
The card as a whole took on even more water on Friday at the weigh ins. Two more fights were canceled as Ryan Benoit had a scary incident at the scales. Benoit collapsed and could barely stand as he made the walk to the scale. Doctors made the call to pull him from his bout with Zarrukh Adashev due to dehydration concerns. Plus, Philipe Lins withdrew from his scheduled bout with Ben Rothwell due to an illness. The card will proceed with 10 fights.
There are still fights of interest, however. Look no further than a featured bout at 170 pounds when Geoff Neal takes on Neil Magny. Neal is coming off his first loss under the UFC banner in December when Stephen Thompson outpointed him by decision. Before that, he had ripped off six straight wins with five of those being stoppages. Magny, meanwhile, amassed a three-fight win streak of his own in 2020 before Michael Chiesa outpointed him in January.
Here's the fight card for UFC Fight Night with the latest odds from William Hill Sportsbook.
UFC Fight Night card, odds
Marina Rodriguez -210
Michelle Waterson +175
Donald Cerrone -190
Alex Morono +160
Geoff Neal -190
Neil Magny +160
|Marcos Rogerio de Lima -200||Maurice Greene +170||Heavyweight|
|Gregor Gillespie -170||Carlos Diego Ferreira +145||Lightweight|
|Amanda Ribas -180||Angela Hill +155||Women's strawweight|
UFC Fight Night viewing information
Date: May 8 | Start time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: UFC Apex -- Las Vegas, Nevada
TV Channel: ESPN | Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Michelle Waterson vs. Marina Rodriguez: While Waterson remains something of a fan favorite, she has looked increasingly vulnerable in the past few years of her career. Rodriguez's biggest issue is that she often doesn't make a clear statement in her fights, resulting in two draws and a split decision loss in her previous six bouts. Rodriguez has simply performed better than Waterson in recent years and the odds reflect the expectation that she will be able to simply outwork Waterson round over round to edge out the win. Pick: Rodriguez via unanimous decision
Who wins Rodriguez vs. Waterson? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight at UFC Fight Night, all from the incomparable expert who's up more than $19,000 on MMA in the past 27 months, and find out.