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The co-main event comes in the Women’s Strawweight division, as Michelle Waterson takes on Amanda Lemos. A loser of three of the last four fights, albeit against stiff competition, Waterson returns to the octagon looking to rebound. Still ranked tenth, Waterson remains in a position to earn another crack at a top five opponent. With title aspirations fading, it’s now or never for the 36-year old. Meanwhile, Lemos comes into this fight looking to move past her defeat to Jessica Andrade in April. Despite being a setback, the UFC still holds the Brazilian in high regards. There is a reason she is slotted in the co-main and it’s an excellent opportunity to prove that she belongs amongst the division’s best.
Excellent matchmaking in this fight, as both women have a chance to prove they belong in the top ten. A former Invicta FC Atomweight champion, Waterson has done well for herself fighting up a weight class since joining the UFC. Obviously facing a size disadvantage and not being able to properly use her grappling as well as she would like, the karate based Waterson has mainly done her damage with striking. Not the most powerful or defensively sound, Waterson tries to keep distance and fire off her diverse arsenal. If Waterson manages to land a takedown, her grappling can lead to periods of important control time. However, Lemos is not easy to takedown. A fearsome striker, Lemos is the Strawweight’s all-time leader in knockdown average, shortest fight time average and most knockdowns at five. Statistically top ten in several other categories, Lemos in only seven UFC fights, has made her impact in short order. Physically strong, Lemos has been able to keep herself upright and at times, take foes down. The one knock on Lemos is cardio. She fades the later the fight goes, which is a vulnerability that can be exploited against the right foe.
If the UFC added an Atomweight division, Waterson would certainly be a Champion. Prior to entering the UFC, Waterson was mowing down the competition. With ten of her twelve wins coming via finish, seven of which were via submission, Waterson had developed into a shark inside the cage. Having to move up to Strawweight, has seen Waterson go 6-5 in the UFC. In my opinion, she’s about to be 6-6. Lemos is stronger, hard to takedown and has immense power as I noted. All ingredients in which, against someone with no power like Waterson, will lead to a rough night at the office. With that said, I predict Lemos wins via TKO.