We get another lower level fight night card this week in terms of star power. This card lost the incredible main event scheduled between Thiago Santos and Glover Teixeira due to a positive covid test, and we have the women’s strawweight bout elevated to five round main event status. Even without the light heavyweight title shot eliminator fight, there’s still plenty of reason to watch. In addition to the select fight breakdowns, we get to see potential rising stars Julia Avila and Billy Quarantillo, along with an absolute banger between Khama Worthy and Ottman Azaitar.
In two out of three weeks, we’ve seen forces beyond the promotion’s control decimate the scheduled fight cards. I do think when looking back in a month or two, all the fight changes, particularly on last week’s nightmarish card will look like outliers when we look back in a month or two. That said, be sure to check on fight statuses pertaining to your wagers all the way up to fight time on Saturday.
Let’s get to our pair of fights to look at this week.
Angela Hill -125 vs Michelle Waterson
Fight is five rounds at 115 lbs and is +240 to end inside the distance.
While this is a fight that otherwise wouldn’t receive main event slotting, it is an interesting one nonetheless. We have two fairly rounded skill sets collided, albeit one tilting more towards the striking side and the other more towards the grappling side. Neither fighter is helpless in any area, but this fight should be viewed as striker vs grappler in the sense that, whoever dictates where the fight takes place will be the victor.
Angela Hill will be the better striker in this matchup. She is the cleaner and busier striker of these two ladies, and will have a slight length advantage as well. Hill will use movement and look to land on the legs of Waterson early and throughout and will be best served keeping the striking at range. Hill does have some savvy clinch strikes, namely elbows, but that should be a portion of this fight she should be eager to avoid.
Michelle Waterson is a sound enough striker, but does not put out the volume to match Hill and does not have the power to make up for the volume disparity. She is however the better wrestler of the two, and she should look to put her top game to work early and often in this fight. To clarify on Waterson’s wrestling, she is not to be confused as an elite like Tatiana Suarez, but she does time shots well and does well to land takedowns from the clinch, the reason Hill should avoid the clench. Once on top, Waterson is very good with controlling and is quite capable of a back take that could lead to a submission, or just grind out rounds on top.
Hill has done plenty of work on her ground game, and she will attack submissions from her back. She is still far from high level, and that was evidenced in her last fight against Claudia Gadelha. Gadelha controlled her on top in the first round and ran away with that round. No matter how you felt on the overall outcome, no one argued who won that first round. Hill was able to work back to her feet, but that was the end of the grappling in that fight. Waterson, unlike Gadelha, is not a fighter that will tire and abandon grappling, and that is where Hill could find herself in trouble in this fight. Waterson carries much better cardio, notably better than Hill, and should be the fresher fighter in the later rounds of this fight.
While I believe the striking of Hill could earn her one or even two of the first three rounds, I believe Waterson will be better and fresher later in the fight, and will have that grappling advantage throughout. That said, I believe the wrong fighter is favored in this fight and I would have a harder time arguing Waterson -200 than the line as it currently sits. I imagine money will roll in on Waterson throughout the rest of the week and I believe there is very strong value on Waterson as it sits. On a card where we will see a good deal of favorites priced 2 to 1 or higher book wins, the best value of the night lies with Waterson at +105 and she should certainly be a play.
Andrea Lee -315 vs Roxanne Modafferi
Fight is at 125 lbs and is +250 to end inside the distance.
Roxanne Modafferi should be admired for honing a real MMA skill set despite not being blessed with a large amount of god given ability. She has put together an awkward but often effective striking skill set that often lets her work her way into shots and opportunities to work the fight to the floor, where she absolutely prefers it, and where she will need this fight to take place if she is to have any real chance.
Andrea Lee’s striking is, simply put, world’s beyond that of Modafferi’s. Lee will be able to touch and hurt Modafferi early, often, at all levels, and for as long as the fight takes place on the feet. Now, I don’t believe Lee is a better wrestler in this spot, but she is close enough that takedowns won’t come easy for Modafferi. The takedowns may come, but giving up takedowns of any quantity are not at all a definite decider of this fight. Lee also is sound and more importantly, urgent in returning to her feet. Lee should be able to get up as many times as she is taken down and resume the striking barrage that will be unleashed on the fight.
Has Modafferi shocked the world as a large underdog before? Yes she has. Has she done so against a lady that has shown a real and complete skill set against higher level competition in the promotion like Lee has? No she has not.
While I am not eager to lay the required -315 on Lee, once the KO line for Lee is released, it might be worth a look. Her ITD line sits at +410 and we might see the KO line above +600, where I would be extremely intrigued. I can’t undersell the striking disparity in this fight.