It’s not as simple as this, but one Albuquerque fighter’s loss is another’s gain.
Albuquerque and Jackson-Wink MMA strawweight Michelle Waterson will face Brazil’s Marina Rodriguez May 8 in Las Vegas, Nevada on a reconfigured UFC Fight Night card. Waterson confirmed the news, first reported locally by cageminds.com, on social media.
Gone from the card, as reported on Wednesday, is Albuquerque’s Diego Sanchez, who was scheduled to face Edgewood’s Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in a grudge match between former Jackson-Wink teammates.
According to online reports, the UFC is seeking a new opponent for Cerrone (36-15).
No explanation has been given for Sanchez’s withdrawal. On Tuesday, Sanchez trolled the UFC on social media, accusing the organization of leaving him and his coach stranded in Las Vegas on their way home from Sanchez’s Sept. 26 loss to Jake Matthews in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Then, Thursday, came multiple reports that Sanchez (30-12) — winner of the UFC’s inaugural The Ultimate Fighter competition in 2005 and an immensely popular UFC fighter ever since — had been released by that organization.
“Free at last!” Sanchez posted on Instagram Story.
As recently as Wednesday, Cerrone and Sanchez both gave the impression on social media that their fight was on.
“Best training camp of my life,” Sanchez posted on Instagram. Meanwhile, Cerrone posted a video promising to exact revenge for perceived Sanchez insults.
Now, the fight is off. Off as well is the planned May 8 main event between TJ Dillashaw and Cory Sandhagen, due to an injury suffered by Dillashaw.
In stepped Waterson (18-8), available after having withdrawn from a Jan. 23 fight against Amanda Ribas due to family concerns. Rodriguez (13-1-2) stepped in for Waterson that night and defeated Ribas by second-round TKO (punches).