UFC on Fox 24: Johnson vs Reis is held in Kansas City on April 15.
It is shaping up to be a critical moment of truth for the strawweight division. “Karate Hottie” Michelle Waterson faces off against “Thug” Rose Namajunas. For true MMA fans who have followed the journeys of these two very talented strawweight fighters, this is a highly anticipated event. The one we will all be watching with eyes wide open.
Michelle Waterson will enter the UFC octagon for the third time in her strawweight career. But that is not to be mistaken for lack of experience; her record is outstanding. Fighting out of the Jackson Wink MMA Fight Team from Albuquerque, NM, the super-mom has previously held the atomweight championship belt in Invicta FC. Waterson, of Thai descent, grew up practicing Karate before adding Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to her arsenal. This has molded her into a very technical striker and effective grappler. She is no stranger to the big lights and roaring crowds. Henceforth we can expect to see her in fine form against a very capable opponent, Rose Namajunas.
“Thug” Rose has proven herself to be a quality top contender in the strawweight division, time and time again. She has accumulated wins over the likes of Paige Vanzant and Tecia Torres. Also, like Waterson, she has fought for Invicta FC before transitioning into the UFC end of 2014. Namajunas was a contestant on TUF Season 20: A Champion Will Be Crowned. She fought her way to the show’s finale and competed against well-known wrestler Carla Esparza. The latter has who won the strawweight title, and the show, by submitting Namajunas in the third round.
Regardless, “Thug” Rose continued to work her way through the higher ranks of the division. A very well-rounded grappler and striker, Namajunas is an exciting fighter to watch. She is a very durable and technical fighter with a history of beating opponents with creative submissions. In addition, she is very capable of a high work rate which often outclasses her opponents.
The bout is the co-main event of the evening and will be closely watched by all viewers. But particularly by current strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk. She told FOX Sports on Tuesday, “I believe that the winner of the fight between Michelle Waterson and Rose Namajunas will be my next opponent. I will be watching this fight”.
Conclusively, this is a very exciting and important match up for the ever-growing strawweight division. It is safe to say this generation of female fighters has most certainly established themselves within the UFC and will surely continue to impress the fans. Since coined late 2014, the division has grown substantially in both skill and quality. With match-ups as thrilling as Waterson vs Namajunas, fans definitely have plenty to look forward to.