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Round 1: Overseeing this match is referee Chris Tognoni. Casey with the obvious size advantage, she’s trying to walk Waterson down, but is having to deal with leg kicks. Casey is head-hunting and just missing. Clinch by Casey and Waterson fights her way out. Casey tags Waterson with a hard left. Waterson hops away to recover. Straight right for Casey connects and backs Waterson up again. Waterson hesitant to commit to anything with Casey loading up her strikes. With 90 seconds to go, Waterson gets a trip and she’s focused on holding Casey down. Active guard by Casey. She’s looking for an armbar from bottom position. Waterson gets out. Waterson manages to squeeze in some ground-and-pound at the end.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Casey.
Round 2: Casey coming forward, lands a couple of rights and a kick to the body. She’s pressuring Waterson against the fence. Waterson lunges with an overhand right, she’s looking less springy in round two. Casey backing Waterson up again with punches, but Waterson is able to get the takedown. She’s striking from top position, but still wary of Casey’s guard. Triangle armbar attempt by Casey. Waterson slips her head out. Short punches by Waterson, but Casey throws the legs up again to put Waterson on the defensive. Waterson survives another belly down armbar attempt. Back to the feet. Hard kick to the body knocks Casey onto her butt to close out the round.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Casey. Overall 20-18, Casey.
Round 3: High kick for Waterson lands, followed by a kick to the body. Casey still firing straight punches, Waterson countering with low kicks and body kicks. They clinch against the fence, neither woman able to get much of an advantage. Waterson scores with a knee and short elbow in close. They move back to the center of the Octagon. Casey struggling to get in now without getting countered. Waterson with the body lock and she drags Casey to the canvas. Casey sweeps and goes for another belly down armbar. Waterson stays patient and spins back into top position. Waterson punches her way out of an ankle lock. Back on the feet, it’s Waterson scoring with kicks again. Casey noticeably slow. Another takedown attempt by Waterson, but Casey successfully sprawls. She spins to take Waterson’s back and nearly lands some illegal elbows. Ground and pound by Casey. She’s going for a rear-naked choke, no luck, transition to an armbar. It’s nearly there, but Waterson is saved by the buzzer.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Casey. Overall 30-27, Casey.
Official result: Michelle Waterson def. Cortney Casey via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)