- Date & Location: Saturday Sept. 12 @UFC Apex, Las Vegas, NV.
- Odds: Michelle Waterson (+105) vs. Angela Hill (-135) via Bovada
- Prediction: Hill by decision
The UFC is once again at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. This week’s event, UFC on ESPN+ 35, features a main event bout between top-15 ranked strawweights, Michelle Waterson and Angela Hill.
Waterson is on a two-fight losing skid. Those decision losses have come to two former strawweight champions, Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Carla Esparza. Waterson’s most recent win was a decision over Karolina Kowalkiewicz in March 2019. Hill has been busy over the past 12 months. Saturday marks her fifth fight in a year. She is 4-1 in those outings. Her most recent loss was a split-decision setback to former strawweight title challenger Claudia Gadelha.
Hill is the No. 13 ranked fighter in the official UFC strawweight rankings and Waterson comes in at No. 8.
WATERSON vs. HILL ODDS
|Fighter||Odds (via Bovada)|
WATERSON vs. HILL PREDICTION & PICK
Waterson won the Invicta FC atomweight title in 2013. She defended the 105-pound belt once before she lost the title in late 2014. After that setback, Waterson signed with the UFC and moved to the 115-pound weight division, where she had fought for five years before she moved down to atomweight.
Waterson opened her UFC career on a 2-2 run. She won her next three fights before she ran into Jedrzejczyk. Jedrzejczyk fought for the UFC title after she defeated Waterson.
Hill, who won and defended the Invicta FC strawweight title before she signed with the UFC in 2017, had a rough start to her UFC career. She went 3-5 in her first eight outings. In September 2013 she put together three straight wins before she faced Gadelha.
I think this fight is going to resemble the five-round bout Waterson had with Jedrzejczyk where Hill will use her reach and her kicks to keep Waterson at distance. Those techniques will keep Waterson swinging and missing from the outside. Waterson landed just 58 of 160 strikes against Jedrzejczyk.
Waterson has nine career submission wins, but all of those came prior to 2017. Hill has lost by submission twice in her career. She has a takedown defense of 72 percent. With that, Hill has a good chance of staying off the mat.
BETTING VALUE WITH HILL
Hill puts out a high volume of strikes. She averages 5.76 significant strikes landed per minute and even though she absorbs a high number of significant strikes as well at 5.17 per minute, she has good defense as she avoids 64 percent of the strikes coming her way. Hill goes heavy with head strikes, but she can take things to the body when she has that option.
Hill has two knockout wins in her past four outings, so there is a chance she will stop Waterson with strikes, but if Jedrzejczyk didn’t end her bout opposite Waterson, I don’t think Hill will either.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
Waterson has one five-round fight on her record and Hill has two, but I don’t think cardio will be an issue in this contest. Waterson has also faced tougher competition throughout her UFC career, but both fighters were champions in Invicta so I don’t think pressure will be an issue, especially since there will be no crowd at UFC Apex.
If the mental game is going to play a role here, I would give that advantage to Hill. She has been busier than Waterson and has had more success. Hill’s fight vs. Gadelha could have easily gone the other way and she could be on a 4-0 run.
FIGHT STATS: WATERSON vs. HILL
|Michelle Waterson||Category||Angela Hill|
|3.31||Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||5.76|
|3.79||Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||5.17|
|1.68||Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes||0.47|
|1.1||Submission Average Per 15 Minutes||0.2|
WHAT’S AT STAKE
With the rankings the way they are and the fact that both Waterson and Hill are coming off losses, the biggest stakes are movement in the rankings. Waterson has been close to a title fight before. If she wants to regain her position in the hunt for UFC gold, she needs to defeat Hill. As for Hill, a win over a fighter like Waterson should help her make a significant leap up the strawweight rankings.