The UFC's APEX Facility in Las Vegas will play host to UFC Fight Night 177 on Saturday night, with the women's strawweight bout between Michelle Waterson and Angela Hill the main event.
The original main event was supposed to be a light heavyweight collision between Glover Teixeira and Thiago Santos. However, Teixeira tested positive for COVID-19 and the fight was postponed.
The replacement main event is an intriguing fight. Both women have made waves but both are coming off tough losses. The winner has the opportunity to keep climbing the ladder in a division that needs contenders, while the loser is going to be in a tough spot.
Undefeated lightweight prospect Ottman Azaitar will take on Khama Worthy in the co-main event. Worthy took a slightly longer path to the UFC but is undefeated in the Octagon. Both have had strong starts, but only one will have a good case to see a ranked fighter in their next fight after Saturday night.
Here's a look at the complete offering for the night as well as a preview for the biggest fights on the card.
Main Card (ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET)
- Michelle Waterson (+105) vs. Angela Hill (-125)
- Ottman Azaitar (+110) vs. Khama Worthy (-137)
- Andrea Lee (-335) vs. Roxanne Modafferi (+240)
- Ed Herman (+195) vs. Mike Rodriguez (-250)
- Bobby Green (-265) vs. Alan Patrick (+205)
- Kyle Nelson (+195) vs. Billy Quarantillo (-250)
Prelims (ESPN+ at 5 p.m. ET)
- Julia Avila (-305) vs. Sijara Eubanks (+230)
- Kevin Croom (N/A) vs. Roosevelt Roberts (N/A)
- Roque Martinez (+221) vs. Alexander Romanov (-286)
- Jalin Turner (-335) vs. Brok Weaver (+253)
- Bryan Barberena (-278) vs. Anthony Ivy (+215)
- Justine Kish (+200) vs. Sabina Mazo (-265)
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Michelle Waterson vs. Angela Hill
Hill is as close as it gets to Donald Cerrone in women's MMA. The striker is more than happy to remain active and always seems to be down for a fight. Much like Cowboy, she's shown in 2020 that she's capable of putting together momentum with just a few wins.
Wins in January and February of this year landed her a co-main event slot alongside Claudia Gadelha. Even though she lost a split decision, she now finds herself headlining her first UFC card against another veteran of the division in Waterson.
Hill is a classic action fighter who will look to push the pace and hasn't seen a firefight she's not willing to engage in. For good or bad she loves to throw hands and attack with volume.
Conversely, Waterson tends to be more measured in her approach. She's not a defensive marvel by any stretch, but there's a patience and technicality to her overall game that you don't see from Hill.
Overkill proved she's a tough out against anyone in her fight with Gadelha, though. She fought to a controversial decision and handled the strong wrestling of the Brazilian. After getting taken down in the first round, she stayed upright and arguably won the first two rounds.
Still, Waterson's approach is different from Gadelha's and it's hard to draw comparisons between the two. These two have been characterized by uneven performances throughout their career. Who can mentally rise to the occasion will be the most important question in this one.
Prediction: Waterson via decision
Ottman Azaitar vs. Khama Worthy
It's never a great sign when the co-main event of a card features two fighters who don't even have Wikipedia pages, but here we are.
What this fight lacks in name recognition it makes up for in the potential for a firefight. Azaitar is a slugging boxer who has won nine of his 12 fights by way of knockout. Eight of those have come in the first round. The undefeated Azaitar has only been to a decision once.
Worthy is the small favorite despite a 16-6 record. He's seen better competition than his opponent. His two wins in the UFC came against high-level competition after a five-fight win streak earned him the opportunity.
Worthy is a strong counter-puncher and has some submission chops. However, much of what he does is reactive. That could be an issue as Azaitar has fight-changing power. If Worthy isn't on the top of his game in the early going, the fight could go south for him fast.
The veteran has been fighting well recently, but it's hard to ignore the five knockout losses he has in his career. Azaitar could add to that tally early.
Prediction: Azaitar via first-round TKO
Roxanne Modafferi vs. Andrea Lee
Roxanne Modafferi's UFC career has been up and down. She's alternated wins and losses since rejoining the organization in 2017.
By that basic pattern, she's due for a win, but she has her work cut out for her. This is actually a rematch of an Invicta fight from 2014, but that was six years ago. In 2020, Modafferi is now 37 while Lee is still squarely in her prime at 31.
Her UFC tenure started strong with a 3-0 record in her first three appearances but it has since taken a turn. She's lost back-to-back split decisions against Joanne Calderwood and Lauren Murphy.
The story of this fight is going to come down to where it takes place. Modafferi is the better grappler but is physically limited compared to her opponent. She's going to need to utilize some trips or other crafty tricks to get Lee to the ground.
If it's an extended kickboxing matchup, the advantage goes to KGB.
Each round starts standing, which puts the onus on Modafferi to impose her will. That's a lot to ask of someone who is now six years older than the last time she beat this opponent.
Prediction: Lee via decision