After an exciting night of fights at UFC Vegas 26, fans were treated to a fast co-main event and a brutal main event that went the distance.
In the co-main, Alex Morono — a late replacement for now-former UFC fighter Diego Sanchez — finished Donald Cerrone in the very first round. Afterward, Marina Rodriguez took home the win against a very tough Michelle Waterson in a five-round slug-fest that highlighted the skill sets of both fighters.
Donald Cerrone vs. Alex Morono
Morono opened with fight with a big swing, and Cerrone dodged it and pushed Morono to the fence. Morono managed to reverse the position, and both fighters traded strikes and knees from the clinch before Morono punched his way out and returned the fight to the center. Morono continued to throw big punches at Cerrone, only slowing down when Cerrone landed a solid body kick. Cerrone threw another body kick to counter Morono’s punches and then shot forward to drive Morono against the cage. Morono reversed the position, and the fighters soon broke apart, giving Morono the opportunity to land more of his heavy strikes.
With about 45 seconds left in the first round, Morono countered a right hand from Cerrone with a big right hand of his own that sent Cerrone stumbling back. Morono saw his opportunity and chased after Cerrone, battering him with punches and knees. Though Cerrone tried to fight back, he was forced into a completely defensive position, and the referee stopped the fight at 4:40 into the first round.
Alex Morono was declared the winner via TKO.
Michelle Waterson vs. Marina Rodriguez
Rodriguez went for a leg kick, and Waterson landed a left hand to the head. Both fighters started to pick up the pace after feeling each other out, with Waterson focusing on kicks to the leg, body, and head while Rodriguez was quick to jump in and throw quick combos and then jump back out to avoid danger. A big leg kick from Waterson wobbled Rodriguez, but the latter recovered quickly and sprawled on a takedown attempt from her opponent. Waterson righted herself and threw a kick that Rodriguez caught and capitalized upon with a kick and punch combo. Rodriguez continued to control the center of the cage, and in the final seconds of the round, she countered Waterson’s efforts to drive her against the cage with some powerful knees until time ran out.
Rodriguez started round two with a couple of body kicks, and Waterson countered with some kicks of her own. Rodriguez again focused on controlling the center, landing a few solid punch combos on Waterson before driving her into the fence. Waterson briefly broke away before Rodriguez again managed to close the distance and push her opponent against the cage, getting in a big knee to the body before they separated. Waterson was persistent with her kicks while Rodriguez managed to force her against the cage for a brief time, landing a few strong knees for good measure. With about thirty seconds left in the round, Waterson went for a single-leg, and Rodriguez countered by throwing some huge punches and knees, pushing Waterson’s face away and appearing to land an elbow before the buzzer sounded.
Waterson slipped trying to throw a kick in the opening seconds of the third round, but managed to roll back up to her feet before Rodriguez could capitalize too much on the opportunity. Waterson managed to force Rodriguez’s back to the fence for a brief time, going in for a shot after they’d separated, and Rodriguez punished her for it with a series of fast, heavy punches. Rodriguez fell after a kick from Waterson, and Waterson landed another big leg kick as her opponent got back to her feet. Waterson continue to throw her signature kicks, but Rodriguez’s punches were causing the most damage as she closed the distance to land fast combos. As time wound down, Rodriguez again finished the round strong with some strong punches and elbows.
Both fighters maintained a consistent pace as the fourth round began, and after an exchange of strikes, Waterson finally got the takedown she’d been looking for in the previous rounds of the fight. Waterson ended up in Rodriguez’s guard, pushing her against the fence and keeping one of her legs pinned as she rained down punches and elbows. Rodriguez began looking for a kimura grip, but wasn’t able to do anything with it as Waterson maintained control and landed as many elbows as she could before the fight moved into the fifth and final round.
Waterson’s kicks proved to be effective as the fighters went at it again, throwing an impressive combo that ended with a head kick and then a back kick to the body that wobbled Rodriguez. Still, Rodriguez recovered quickly and landed a big right hand on Waterson. Both fighters were showing the best of their respective skill sets in the final minutes of the fight, with Rodriguez being relentless with her punches and defending a takedown from Waterson, who was still dangerous with her kick combos and punches. With under a minute to go, Rodriguez picked up the pace even more, forcing Waterson’s back to the fence and battering her with a combination of punches, knees, and a head kick that significantly staggered Waterson. Still, Waterson stayed strong, and neither fighter was able to finish the other before time ran out.
Marina Rodriguez was declared the winner by unanimous decision.
- Carlston Harris def. Christian Aguilera via anaconda choke (Round 1)
- Park Jun-young def. Tafon Nchukwi via decision
- Mike Trizano def. Ludovit Klein via decision
- Phil Hawes def. Kyle Daukaus via decision
- Gregor Gillespie def. Carlos Diego Ferreira via TKO (Round 2)
- Marcos Rogério de Lima def. Maurice Greene via decision
- Neil Magny def. Geoff Neal via decision
- Alex Morono def. Donald Cerrone via TKO (Round 1)
- Marina Rodriguez def. Michelle Waterson via decision