Michelle Waterson came up with the biggest win of her career as she submitted Paige VanZant in the first round of their main event bout at UFC on Fox 22 in Sacramento.
Michelle Waterson celebrates after beating Paige VanZant in a UFC Fight Night mixed martial arts fight in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. Waterson won by submission in the first round. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
The Karate Hottie used her side kicks to keep VanZant at distance, but it was her side headlock takedown that set up the submission victory via rear-naked choke.
This was a huge victory for Waterson that legitimizes her in the strawweight division. She should get a top-10 opponent in her next fight and a shot at the title in the near future if she remains successful. The quick finish also won Waterson one of the Performance of the Night bonuses.
Here is a look at all of the results from the even. Just below the chart is a look at the rest of the night’s biggest winners and losers.
Matchups Weight Class Results Bonus Bojan Velickovic vs. Sultan Aliev Welterweight Aliev by split decision (30-27×2, 28-29) Hector Sandoval vs. Fredy Serrano Flyweight Sandoval by unanimous decision (30-27×2, 29-28) Eddie Wineland vs. Takeya Mizugaki Men’s Bantamweight Wineland by first-round TKO Leslie Smith vs. Irene Aldana Women’s Bantamweight Smith by unanimous decision (29-28×2, 30-27) FOTN Josh Emmett vs. Scott Holtzman Lightweight Emmett by unanimous decision (29-28×3) James Moontasri vs. Alex Morono Welterweight Morono by unanimous decision (29-28×3) Bryan Barberena vs. Colby Covington Welterweight Covington by unanimous decision (30-27×2, 30-26) Cole Miller vs. Mizuto Hirota Featherweight Hirota by unanimous decision (30-27×3) Henrique da Silva vs. Paul Craig Light Heavyweight Craig by second-round submission (armbar) POTN Alan Jouban vs. Mike Perry Welterweight Jouban by unanimous decision (30-27×2, 29-28) Urijah Faber vs. Brad Pickett Men’s Bantamweight Faber by unanimous decision (30-26×3) Sage Northcutt vs. Mickey Gall Welterweight Gall by second-round submission (rear-naked choke) Paige VanZant vs. Michelle Waterson Women’s Strawweight Waterson by first-round submission (rear-naked choke) POTN
Alan Jouban, left, has his arm raised after he defeated Mike Perry, right, by unanimous decision in a UFC Fight Night mixed martial arts bout in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
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After trading trash talk with Mike Perry, Alan Jouban schooled his opponent in the Octagon. Jouban’s poised approach and accurate striking subdued the usually aggressive Perry and proved there was a wide margin between him and his would-be rival.
Jouban had been known as a brawler himself, but he showed another side to his game. If Jouban can continue to show such an impressive fight I.Q., he could become a factor in the welterweight division.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert Mickey Gall claimed another high-profile victim. Gall’s ground game was too advanced for Sage Northcutt and he followed up his victory over CM Punk with another victory.
We know Punk was a joke as a mixed martial artist, and we’re not exactly sure Northcutt will become. He’s still just 20 years old. That said, Gall is becoming a recognizable name because of the fame of his opponents.
At some point, he’s going to face someone who is a proven fighter. We’ll see how well he does in the Octagon in that challenge. For now, he’s riding high.
Urijah Faber waves after beating Brad Pickett by unanimous decision in a UFC Fight Night mixed martial arts fight in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
In the last fight of his illustrious career, Urijah Faber went out on top. Facing another veteran in Brad Pickett, Faber looked as good as he has in years. He had an extra bounce in his step and he found a home for his power strikes.
A left hook dropped Pickett in the first round. Faber came close to stopping him, but Pickett’s veteran guile and toughness allowed him to survive the bout.
It would have been storybook if Faber finished Pickett with a guillotine or rear-naked choke, but the clear unanimous-decision win made for a nice ending to a Hall-of-Fame career.
He’s still just 20 years old, but Northcutt is taking some confidence-damaging losses. Gall’s ground game was so much better than Northcutt’s, it had to be a bit discouraging. Northcutt still has tons of room to improve, but someone needs to make sure he continues to believe in himself.
Best-case scenario, his career begins to look a little like Max Holloway. In the worst-case scenario, Northcutt fades into obscurity and gets forced out of the promotion after another loss.
Paige VanZant reacts after losing to Michelle Waterson in a UFC Fight Night mixed martial arts fight in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. Waterson won by submission in the first round. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
She was set up to shine on Saturday, but VanZant flopped in front of her hometown fans. Because of her beauty and bubbly personality, VanZant will almost always have to prove herself to fans. That’s unfair, but a reality.
She is a real fighter at heart, but her hands and feet are pretty slow. It makes her have to fight as a brawler/grappler who must create a scramble to be effective. That’s not an approach that figures to work against the best strawweights in the world.
There’s something sobering about having one’s ceiling revealed. I believe we saw that with VanZant on Saturday.
At one point, Takeya Mizugaki was looked like a potential title contender. He has fallen a long way since those days. Eddie Wineland destroyed him with a couple of hard right hands inside the first round in the featured Fight Pass prelim. Mizugaki has now lost four of his last five fights with all the losses coming by stoppage.
He might want to consider a change.
Mike Perry reacts after celebrates Hyun Gyu Lim in a welterweight mixed martial arts bout at UFC 202 on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
Platinum Mike Perry was made to look like rusted copper on Saturday.
In Perry’s previous fights, he looked like a guy with the potential to become one of the premier strikers in the UFC. Jouban’s defense and movement made Perry look like a cross between Chris Leben and an old Diego Sanchez.
That’s an exciting fighter, but i’s also one who will never score a win over a skilled and well-rounded martial artist. Hopefully, Perry can bounce back with some new tricks in his bag.