The main event of UFC on Fox 22 features two young ladies who could have easily chosen the life of being models. Instead they’ve chosen the road of the modern day warrior and have acquitted themselves more than well in that endeavor. Paige Vanzant and Michelle Waterson are two fighters who bring a high pace and a great deal of excitement to the strawweight division. Now they’re set to throw down in a fight that could be equal parts technical and chaotic.
Paige Vanzant was being written off as a flavor of the month when she lost to Rose Namajunas and went on to compete on Dancing With The Stars. Unfortunately for her detractors, Vanzant came back to action and turned heads with her jumping kick knock out of Bec Rawlings. Paige Vanzant has some decent footwork, but still seems to be relying on her athletic gifts rather than setting up her attacks. Not to suggest her KO over Rawlings was a fluke, but at times Vanzant finds herself out of position hitting only air and leaving herself exposed to counters. Her best weapon is her forward pressure, cardio, and aggression. If she hopes to win she’ll want to push Waterson back from the opening bell, use her size advantage and push the former atomweight champion against the fence. There she should work in the clinch and wear her down eventually push for the takedown and maintain top position.
As said before Michelle Waterson is a former champion who knows how to win. Coming from a traditional martial arts background, Waterson has a knack for fighting at her own range. Like Vanzant, Waterson is better when she’s pushing forward, but will want to use a different approach for this fight. If she’s too aggressive she’s likely to fall into the clinch with the bigger Vanzant. Instead, Waterson should aim to fight right outside her opponent’s range, get in with her strikes and get out without taking damage. Waterson has the speed and technical advantage. If she plays it smart she can use low kicks to slow down Vanzant, hard punches to the body then shock her opponent with high kicks as the fight moves into the later rounds.
Paige Vanzant has a knack for turning fights into a brawl and could do the same in this fight. But Michelle Waterson has the talent and ability to shut down Vanzant’s game and land some clean hard strikes. Look for Michelle Waterson to win by decision.
Who do you think wins the main event of UFC on Fox 22?
Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his Twitter and Facebook to keep up with his antics.
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