Thursday, January 27, 2022

Marina Rodriguez Eyes Fight With Rose Namajunas With Win Over Michelle Waterson

Marina Rodriguez is looking to become the top contender at strawweight on Saturday night at UFC Vegas 26.

Rodriguez is set to step up on short notice, up a weight class at flyweight, against perennial strawweight contender, Michelle Waterson. It’s an interesting matchup on paper, but given they only had just over a week’s notice, it adds to the intrigue of the fight.

The Brazilian in Rodriguez is coming off a TKO win over Amanda Ribas at UFC 257 to earn arguably the biggest win of her career. After the win, many called for her to get a top-five opponent, and although that won’t be the case, she does get a big name in Waterson and hopes a win over “The Karate Hottie” earns her a title shot against Namajunas.

“After winning this fight, I believe I am very close to a title shot,” Rodriguez told UFC.com. “I might have to beat one of the Top 3 first — Yan (Xiaonan), Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), or Zhang (Weili) — but it depends a bit on who the next challenger will be; that will determine quite a lot about my near future. But if none of them are up to fighting Rose (Namajunas), I know I am!”

Michelle Waterson, Marina Rodriguez

Although Rodriguez is calling for a title shot with a win, it’s likely the winner of Yan Xioanan vs. Carla Esparza would get the next title shot. However, if Rodriguez makes a statement with a stoppage, perhaps she gets the title shot. Or, she could get a big name like Mackenzie Dern or Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

Marina Rodriguez is 3-1-2 in the UFC. She has draws against Cynthia Calvillo and Randa Markos and a close decision loss to Esparza. Yet, she is a really good striker and her takedown defense has been getting better which could make her a problem for the strawweight division.

Rose Namajunas, meanwhile, is coming off a first-round TKO over Weili Zhang to become the new strawweight champ.

Do you think Marina Rodriguez will get a title shot with a win over Michelle Waterson?

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