Glowing with sweat and the shine of victory, Michelle Waterson, after her bout with Cortney Casey in April, said, “What I’ve learned from my MMA journey is that you can’t just bring certain tools to the fight, you have to bring your whole toolbox.”
UFC 229, set for October 6th, 2018, will showcase many high-profile names in MMA. Two well-respected and highly adaptable veterans of WMMA, Felice Herrig and Michelle Waterson, will finally face each other after years of fighting in close proximity.
Check out the below breakdown to see how these two ever-evolving vets stack up against one another.
Fighting out of Crystal Lake, Illinois, Felice “Lil Bulldog” Herrig has been in over 50 professional fights. She has more kickboxing matches than MMA fights, which would draw the conclusion that she is more of a striker. However, her MMA record boasts 14 wins with four of those coming by submission and only one by TKO.
Felice has shown the ability to adapt and evolve throughout her career. When Herrig battled Justine Kish in June of 2017, though Herrig did not submit her, she used her BJJ advantage to sap quite a bit of Kish’s energy. Kish came into the fight undefeated with Herrig as the underdog, but Felice pulled the upset with a unanimous decision.
Herrig went on to fight Cortney Casey at UFC 218. In this match, Felice was aware of Casey’s preference to grapple so Herrig kept the fight standing through most of the bout. However, Casey was aware of Herrig’s plan, creating a less than exciting bout as both fighters’ decided to throw quick punches and retreat throughout most of the fight. This ended up in a less than ideal split decision loss for Herrig, nonetheless a win that marked her fourth straight victory before running into Karolina Kowalkiewicz at UFC 223.
Fighting for Jackson-Wink MMA by way of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson’s nickname seems to say it all. Or does it? It would seem to imply that she is simply a specialist in striking. However, 60 percent of her victories have come by way of submission. Sprinkle in three TKO’s and what you have is a dangerously well-rounded fighter who knows how to successfully adapt to each individual fight.
Waterson has also shown the ability to evolve and adapt throughout her career. For example, most recently, when Waterson faced a much larger Cortney Casey in April, Waterson started out on her feet but realizing she wasn’t obtaining an effective result and utilized her wrestling. Over the next two rounds, Casey attempted four armbars with each submission attempt eating up significant time. Waterson not only defended well but punished Cortney for each attempt, giving her enough points to come out on the right side of a split-decision.
Both Herrig and Waterson fought in Invicta FC at a time when UFC President Dana White said that women would never fight in UFC. In the UFC, these two have fought many of the same competition (Paige Van Zant, Rose Namajunas, Cortney Casey). Only two years apart in age, and with the exact same amount of MMA fights under their belts (both have 21 fights; Waterson with one more win than Herrig) they are two sharks in a vortex that have been slowly spinning towards each other that finally get the chance to meet.
As if there aren’t enough interesting facts about this fight, we mentioned earlier that Waterson has nine submissions; however, Herrig has never been submitted. Waterson could be the first to make Herrig tap, but she will probably have better luck locking Herrig in the clinch. With her skilled fence work, Waterson can hope to tire her out while landing significant strikes but she will have to keep from catching too many ferocious elbows from Herrig.
Both of these fighters are supreme examples of natural selection, fighting with an evolutionary style that continues to adapt to its surroundings through grueling years of combative progress. On Saturday, October 6th, we will find out which fighter has advanced the most over the years to become the strongest survivor.
Who will you be rooting for