You wouldn’t have known it from the show they put on.
Video Credits: UFC – Ultimate Fighting Championship
In a five-round slugfest, the pair set individual records for most significant strikes landed in a UFC fight as Waterson was able to come away with a split decision win and end a two fight skid.
“Coming out of losses and just feeling like you’re constantly climbing and sometimes you don’t get to see the instant gratification, so it’s nice to feel that,” Waterson said after the fight.
“There are moments when you feel like you can’t go anymore. There are moments when you just feel like you’re tapped out and then, there’s the next level.
“You have to trust in yourself, you have to trust in your skills, your abilities and you have to trust in your body to take you there. You just have to bite down on your mouthpiece and go.”
Hill came out as the more aggressive of the two fighters, immediately pushing the pace and finding a home for her right hand time and time again – causing some swelling on Waterson’s forehead after the first round. The second round followed suit, thought Waterson had more moments of her own, Hill still had the better of the exchanges. Waterson was throwing with volume, but Hill was happy to walk through Waterson’s strikes to fire back with power.
After appearing to go down 2-0, Waterson took advantage of the sole takedown she would land in 18 attempts during the fight. Taking Hill to the canvas with more than 3 minutes left in the third round, Waterson dominated the rest of the round.
After Waterson got the better of the fourth round thanks in large part to her kicking ability, all signs pointed to an explosive final five minutes with both women looking to make their mark in the eyes of the judges. Both women landed hard shots with punches and kicks, and in the final minute the two unleashed, throwing at volume to try and finish as the dominant fighter; the fight ending with Hill throwing elbows and knees at Waterson against he cage.
Needing the scorecards to decide it, the three judges all scored the fight differently. Derek Cleary scored it 48-47 Waterson, with her winning the final three rounds. Chris Lee scored it 48-47 Hill, with her winning rounds one, two and five, while Sal D’Amato scored it 49-46 Waterson, with her winning all but the first round.
While the main event stole the show, there was controversy earlier on the card in the light heavyweight bout between Ed Herman and Mike Rodriguez. Rodriguez was the dominant fighter in the bout and looked to have it wrapped up in the second round when he landed two knees to the midrift of Herman, the second of which sent Herman slumping to the floor.
However, referee Chris Tognoni stepped in before Rodriguez could close out the fight, adjudging the second blow to have hit Herman in the groin and thus allowing him to recover.
Replays showed the strike was far from hitting Herman in the cup.
Regardless, Herman played it off and took the time to regather, going on to win the bout via submission with a kimura in the third round.
UFC boss Dana White addressed the fight during the post-show press conference, ripping into Tognoni’s mistake.
“That was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. That kid (Rodriguez) wins by knockout, technical knockout, and loses the fight. It’s one of the worst things I’ve ever seen.”
Rodriguez’s team announced within minutes of the result that it was going to file an appeal of the fight, while White said he would be paying Rodriguez his win bonus for the fight.
“We’re giving Mike his money, too. He won the fucking fight.”
Full results for UFC Vegas 10:
Michelle Waterson beat Angela Hill via split decision (48-47, 49-46, 47-48)
Ottman Azaitar beat Khama Worthy via first-round TKO
Roxanne Modafferi beat Angela Lee via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Ed Herman beat Mike Rodriguez via third-round submission
Bobby Green beat Alan Patrick via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Billy Quarantillo beat Kyle Nelson via third-round KO
Sijara Eubanks beat Julia Avila via unanimous decision (29-27 x3)
Kevin Croom beat Roosevelt Roberts via first-round submission
Alexander Romanov beat Roque Martinez via second-round submission
Jalin Turner beat Brok Weaver via second-round submission
Bryan Barberena beat Anthony Ivy via unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)
Sabina Mazo beat Justine Kish via third-round submission