UFC on ESPN: Rodriguez vs. Waterson Preview

Fans are already getting geared up for UFC 262 next week, but there is a strong card to satiate the appetites of MMA fans in the run-up this weekend. Women’s strawweight contenders Marina Rodriguez and Michelle Waterson will headline the evening, but a lot of fans will be tuning in to see fan favorite Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone too.

UFC on ESPN: Rodriguez vs. Waterson will take place from the UFC Apex Training Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 8, 2021. Prelims will start at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN+ with the main event being broadcast on both ESPN and ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET.

UFC on ESPN: Rodriguez vs. Waterson Betting Odds

Michelle Waterson +182

Marina Rodriguez -212

This is an important fight for Marina Rodriguez as she looks to climb the ladder in the strawweight division. She won her first ten fights before joining the UFC, but Rodriguez has a record of 3-1-2 since her UFC debut. Rodriguez had to settle for draws against Randa Markos and Cynthia Calvillo, and she lost to Carla Esparza by split decision in Abu Dhabi last summer. However, Rodriguez had an impressive second round TKO of Amanda Ribas at UFC 257 that earned her a Performance of the Night bonus.

Waterson was 12-3 before joining the UFC in 2014. She has been a middling fighter since that time, amassing a 6-5 record in this promotion. Waterson has lost to all the top fighters like Esparza, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, and Rose Namajunas, and her split decision victory over Angela Hill last September was pretty controversial. That makes Waterson the play as a moderate favorite.

Donald Cowboy Cerrone -188

Alex Morono +163

It’s been a rough last couple years for Cowboy Cerrone. The former UFC lightweight title contender hasn’t won since May 2019. Cerrone suffered four straight losses to Tony Ferguson, Justin Gaethje, Conor McGregor, and Anthony Pettis, and the fight with Pettis was the only one that went the distance. He didn’t look sharp in a no contest against Niko Price last September, so this might be one of his last times in the Octagon.

The last time Morono entered the Octagon, he suffered a unanimous decision defeat to Pettis. He has yet to secure a big victory over a quality opponent, so he is an underdog according to the UFC betting odds. Cerone’s recent struggles and his age make Morono an intriguing play.

Geoff Neal -185

Neil Magny +160

The Haitian Sensation was knocked off by Michael Chiesa the last time he was in the ring. Neil Magny’s unanimous decision loss to Chiesa meant that he fell to No. 9 in the welterweight rankings. A loss to Geoff Neal on Saturday might lead to Magny falling out of the rankings completely as he doesn’t have the knockout power that both fans and executives love in this class.

Neal won seven straight fights before his unanimous decision loss to Stephen Thompson in December. He picked up wins over Frank Camacho, Belal Muhammad, Niko Price, and Mike Perry before that defeat, and he finished six of his last seven opponents within two rounds. That has led to Neal being the favorite.

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