This is the UFC Tampa live blog for Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Michelle Waterson, a strawweight bout at Saturday’s UFC event at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla.
Jedrzejczyk, the former UFC strawweight champion who has lost three of her last four fights, faces Waterson, who has won three straight, in the main event.
Check out the UFC Tampa live blog below.
Round 1: Feints from both, and Jedrzejczyk attacks the legs early. The ex-champ looses a combo, and Waterson drives for a takedown. She breaks off and lands a combo inside, prompting Jedrzejczyk to clinch up against the cage. Waterson reverses on the fence and tries elbows in close. Jedrzejczyk tries to slide away, and Waterson breaks off the cage. Jedrzejczyk goes back to her kicks, and she lands a few stiff punches when Waterson gets in range. Waterson ducks under again, and this time, Jedrzejczyk is ready. Waterson again presses her against the fence, and she’s reversed. Knees and elbows in the clinch, and Jedrzejczyk resists a turn against the fence. They trade position again, and Jedrzejczyk is pressing Waterson into the cage. Less than one minute to go, and Waterson’s attempt to turn off a knee is routed. Jedrzejczyk is landing knees and elbows in close and continuing to control position. Suddenly, she wheels to the back and ends the frame trying to drag Waterson down.
MMAFighting scores the first round 10-9 for Jedrzejczyk.
Round 2: Jedrzejczyk back to work with low kicks, and she’s winning the volume game early. Waterson connects with a glancing shot on the approach, but Jedrzejczyk soon reasserts her favored range. Waterson sneaks in a high kick, and she tries again to set up a takedown. Jedrzejczyk stuffs it. Waterson sneaks in another head kick, but Jedrzejczyk doesn’t flinch and then stuffs another takedown. Waterson settles for cage control and peels off with an elbow. Back to distance, but only briefly as Waterson grabs a leg and drives to the fence. Jedrzejczyk works knees in close and turns Waterson. More elbows in close from Jedrzejczyk, and then knees. Waterson fires a kick that’s blocked on her way out, and they go back to open range. Jedrzejczyk settles back into her rhythm and pops Waterson with a front kick to the face. Nice left hook inside from Jedrzejczyk, and the pace of the striking opens up. Waterson is bleeding badly from her nose at the bell.
MMAFighting scores the frame 10-9 for Jedrzejczyk, who’s up 20-18.
Round 3: They trade kicks early, and Jedrzejczyk again is the more active fighter. Waterson advances with a hard body kick and is countered with a left hand. Waterson walks into a left hook again. For every attack she tries, Jedrzejczyk has a response and adds another shot to follow up. Waterson tries to power into the clinch and winds up defending her back as Jedrzejczyk latches on. Jedrzejczyk drags her to the mat and sets up for a D’Arce choke. Waterson manages to pull free, and Jedrzejczyk backs off as they get back to their feet. Jedrzejczyk goes back to her usual rhythm. Waterson’s kicks fall short, and Jedrzejczyk goes back to the attacks she’s been firing the entire fight. Waterson grabs onto the clinch suddenly and leaps onto the back. Jedrzejczyk is in trouble with Waterson in back control, squeezing for the standing rear-naked choke. Jedrzejczyk fights off the initial attempt, and Waterson is forced to let go as gravity betrays her. Now Jedrzejczyk fires off a final flurry as the round comes to an end.
MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 for Jedrzejczyk, who’s up 30-27.
Round 4: Waterson tries to fight into the clinch and is chased off with a combo. Another try, another combo. Jedrzejczyk is getting loose, and Waterson looks outgunned. Activity is once again Jedrzejczyk’s game, and her charge is turned as she hits the fence. Jedrzejczyk not backing off, and Waterson is cornered. More kicks from Jedrzejczyk, and Waterson’s high kick doesn’t register. Combos slam into Waterson. She tries her best to deliver her own shots, but they don’t have the same sting, and they’re met with double in return. Jedrzejczyk still appears fresh, and she’s beginning to wear down Waterson, who grabs for a leg and hangs on as she drives to the fence. Jedrzejczyk turns her and holds the body lock, dragging the fight to the canvas twice. Waterson pops up and takes a big elbow to the face. Jedrzejczyk grabs the clinch and lands hard knees up the middle. Waterson comes back with her own elbows, and time runs out.
MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 for Jedrzejczyk, who’s up 40-36.
Round 5: They hug before the last round, and Jedrzejczyk starts up again. She looks as fast as the first round. Waterson sneaks in a front kick amid a blitz of punches. Jedrzejczyk advances again and waits until Waterson fires before closing distance with a combo. Waterson again backed up to the fence. Jedrzejczyk leaps in with a kick and stuffs Waterson against the fence. Waterson turns her and they fight in the clinch. Jedrzejczyk turns Waterson and fires off a combo as she backs up. Waterson again trapped, and again, she charges into a takedown and hops on the back in transition. This time, Jedrzejczyk has control of the arm, and Waterson needs to work to get into position. Jedrzejczyk defends, and Waterson is forced off the back. Jedrzejczyk turns her and fires a punch as they break. Again, Waterson dives for the shot, and she can’t get it. Spinning elbow attempt for Waterson, who needs a miracle to take this. Jedrzejczyk still in her face, firing combos. Big punch combo lands for Jedrzejczyk, who charges into the clinch. She gets to Waterson’s back and hooks in a leg as the final bell sounds.
MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 for Jedrzejczyk, who gets the 50-45 shutout.
Official result: Joanna Jedrzejczyk def. Michelle Waterson via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46)