WATCH: UFC Starlet Paige VanZant Gets Finished In Round 1 Blow Out
The main event of an impressive card saw youngster Paige VanZant take on Michelle Waterson in front of a packed crowd at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.
22-year-old VanZant was coming off a Performance of the Night knockout victory of Aussie Bec Rawlings and came into this fight with a record of 7-2.
30-year-old Michelle Waterson had to wait until July 2015 to get her chance in the UFC but brought and excellent record of 13-4 into this fight. In the build-up to the battle, Waterson had a slight pop at VanZant, claiming that although she liked the young fighter as a person, her fighting skills were still “very green.”
VanZant couldn’t trash talk to save her life but, instead, she simply spoke of a belief in her fighting skills.
“Everyone thinks I’m super green, but I’m not,” VanZant said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour.
“I have confidence in my skill and I know I’ve worked hard for this fight, so I’m excited to go in there and show my athletic capabilities,” VanZant said. “I have skills that I showed in my last fight, my athletic capabilities, with that awesome head kick knockout, so I’m ready to go in there and show a little more fireworks.”
VanZant has found it hard to be taken seriously by some pundits after she starred in the 2016 edition of the hit TV show Dancing with the Stars (where she finished as the runner-up).
“The biggest [question] I get is, ‘Oh, did Hollywood steal you after ‘Dancing with the Stars?'” VanZant said. “Nobody asked Antonio Brown or Von Miller if they were going back to the NFL [after being on DWTS].
“Maybe it’s a stereotypical thing because I’m a girl in something I don’t necessarily belong in? I’ll take it as a compliment. I do belong in Hollywood, but I also belong in the UFC.”
The last time she was inside the Octagon, VanZant showed that she definitely belongs when she nearly took Bec Rawling’s head off with a switch kick, earning the $50k Performance of the Night bonus along the way but the big question everybody wanted an answer to was whether or not she could keep it up against a very tough opponent in Waterson.
After the massive build up, Michelle Waterson made short work of Paige VanZant, sinking in a rear-naked choke submission to get the job done at the 3:21 mark of round one.
“I was more excited than anything, it’s been a year and a half,” Waterson said.
Waterson, who trains at the famous JacksonWink gym in Albuquerque was out more than a year due to multiple hand injuries. But she showed no signs of ring rust, as she stalked VanZant, popper her with a punch, and scored a terrific throw.
From there, Waterson transitioned into the choke with referee John McCarthy stepping in to wave off the action.
“She’s known for that,” Waterson said. “I wanted to see if I could throw her, we worked really hard on chain submissions and just going with it when she’s trying to struggle.”
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