The experts predicted that Brazilian MMA fighter Amanda Lemos would defeat Michelle Waterson-Gomez on Saturday, believing Lemos’ punching power would be the difference.
It wasn’t, but she did.
Lemos (12-2-1) defeated Albuquerque’s Waterson-Gomez (18-10) by second-round submission (guillotine choke) Saturday on a UFC card in Elmont, New York.
It was a disappointing return to the Octagon for Waterson-Gomez, who had not fought, due to injury and other professional commitments, since May 2021.
At the outset of the scheduled three-round strawweight (115-pound) fight, Waterson-Gomez showed great respect for Lemos’ punching power. Her cautious tactics drew some boos from the crowd at Long Island’s UBS Arena, which to that point in Saturday’s card had watched some truly fraught action.
But with a minute left in the first round, with neither fighter having accomplished much previously, Waterson-Gomez took Lemos down and controlled her until just four seconds remained before the buzzer.
Two of three official judges scored the round for Waterson-Gomez.
In the second round, however, a takedown attempt proved the Albuquerque fighter’s undoing.
Lemos, in defending the takedown, wrapped an arm around Waterson-Gomez’s neck and took her to the ground. Waterson-Gomez, unable to break the choke hold, tapped out at the 1:48 mark of the second.
Initially, referee Kevin McDonald didn’t see Waterson-Gomez’s tap. Lemos, having felt it on her back, released the choke. Waterson-Gomez acknowledged to McDonald that she had indeed tapped out.
Lemos, who for a time had trained with Waterson-Gomez at Albuquerque’s Jackson-Wink MMA, said via a translator that securing the guillotine choke was not a mere improvisation.
“She ducks her head a lot and I’m taller,” she said, “so we prepared a lot (to employ the guillotine).”
Of Waterson-Gomez, Lemos said, “She’s a class act, a great fighter.”
Waterson-Gomez, heretofore known as Michelle Waterson, announced on Thursday she now wishes to be called Michelle Waterson-Gomez. Her husband of 10 years, Josh Gomez, is a former amateur and professional boxer.
STILL THE BOSS: In Wichita, Kansas, Las Cruces amateur boxer Joscelyn Olayo-Munoz defeated Houston’s Alanis Artiga by unanimous decision on Saturday to claim the 101-pound Junior Division women’s title at the USA Boxing Junior Olympics and Summer Boxing Festival.
Artiga had no answer for the Olayo-Munoz’s lightning-fast hands and deadly accuracy.
Three of the five judges scored the bout 30-27, giving Olayo-Munoz all three rounds. Two judges scored it 29-28.
Olayo-Munoz, 15, nicknamed “Jos the Boss,” is fast becoming to New Mexico amateur boxing what Albuquerque’s Holly Holm was to the pro version of the sport: a champion with too many titles to count.
As of Saturday, there’s one more.