Tonight strawweight sensation Paige Vanzant (7-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) will fight in front of her hometown as she faces off against Michelle Waterson (13-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC), in the five round headliner of UFC Fight Night Sacramento.
Vanzant who caught the eye of many at the start of her UFC career winning her first three bouts including her impressive performance against veteran Felice Herrig at UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Rockhold. Since then Vanzant’s profile has only risen after appearing on popular television show ‘Dancing With the Stars’ which has helped her in becoming one of the most recognisable fighters in the UFC.
The 22-year old enters the fight off the back of a stunning second round KO victory over TUF 20 standout Bec Rawlings back in August. Her display that evening saw her claim Performance of the Night honours and also saw her bounce back from a disappointing loss to Rose Namajunas at UFC Fight Night 80. This victory was one of 12 Guage’s most impressive performances of her career and a win tonight will see her halt the aspirations of a rising star in the UFC whilst taking her record to 5-1 in the orginisation.
Meanwhile Waterson has won seven of her last eight fights, most recently marked her UFC debut with a submission victory over Angela Magana at The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale in July 2015. This victory saw get Waterson back to winning ways after losing the Invicta women’s atomweight title to Herica Tiburcio at Invicta FC 10. This fight will be the “Karate Hottie” first appearance inside the Octagon after injury forced her out of a planned fight with Tecia Torres in December 2015 and an Aisling Daly injury saw a potential match up at UFC Fight Night 93 scrapped. Tonight’s bout will mark Waterson’s return to the Octagon after a 17 month lay-off.
A win tonight would see Vanzant continue her impressive form since returning back to the sport whereas Waterson currently ranked 11th will look to take her fellow Americans rank 7 position. This highly anticipated bout between two strawweight stars has all the potential to be worthy of headlining tonight’s card and walk away with the ‘Fight of the Night’ honours.