Based on what happened in Vegas, perhaps three New Mexico fighters should have stayed in New Mexico.
In the main event of a UFC Fight Night card on Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada, Albuquerque’s Michelle Waterson lost by unanimous decision to Brazil’s Marina Rodriguez in a five-round flyweight fight.
In the co-main event, Edgewood welterweight Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone lost by first-round TKO to Houston’s Alex Morono.
Heavyweight Maurice Greene, Waterson’s teammate at Albuquerque’s Jackson-Wink MMA, lost by unanimous decision to Brazil’s Marcos Rogerio de Lima.
Waterson (18-9), who normally competes at the 115-pound strawweight limit, agreed to fight Rodriguez at the flyweight limit of 125 because the fight was made on short notice after an earlier planned main event had to be cancelled.
Rodriguez (14-1-2) also normally fights at strawweight, but the extra weight appeared to work in the Brazilian’s favor. Bigger and heavier-handed, Rodriguez was dominant in standup through the first three rounds.
In the fourth, Waterson scored a takedown two minutes into the round and kept Rodriguez on the ground the rest of the way.
Then, in the fifth, Waterson landed a head kick that caused Rodriguez’s jaw to swell and appeared to hurt her with a body kick. But Rodriguez responded with some hard strikes and won the round on all three official scorecards. The cards read 49-46, 49-46 and 48-47 for Rodriguez.
Cerrone (36-16) appeared to be outmatched in standup from the start. Then, caught by a right hand behind the ear from Morono (19-7), he staggered back and was overwhelmed by punches until referee Marc Goddard stepped in at the 4:40 mark.
Having lost five of his last six – the other a no-contest – the 38-year-old Cerrone faces a murky UFC future.
In a postfight interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Cerrone said he doesn’t intend Saturday’s to be his last fight but acknowledged, at least regarding the UFC, it might not be up to him.
Earlier, Greene found himself virtually helpless against de Lima.
De Lima (18-7-1) scored one takedown in each of the three rounds, and that’s all he needed – maintaining ground control for more than 12 of the fight’s 15 minutes. Greene (9-6), outweighed by 27 pounds, was unable to get out from under. Though he took relatively little punishment, he inflicted almost none. The official scores were 30-26, 30-26 and 30-27.