SACRAMENTO — So much for Team Alpha Male’s perfect night.
Michelle Waterson spoiled the party at downtown Sacramento’s new Golden 1 Center Saturday night, as she made short work of Paige VanZant in the strawweight main event of UFC on FOX 22. A rear-naked choke submission got the job done at the 3:21 mark of round one.
“I was more excited than anything, it’s been a year and a half,” Waterson said.
With the result, Sacramento’s most famous gym finished 3-1 on the night, an evening which included the emotional retirement fight for founder Urijah Faber.
Waterson, a JacksonWink competitor and former Invicta atomweight champ, was out more than a year due to multiple hand injuries. But she showed little sign of ring rust, as she stalked VanZant, popper her with a punch, and scored a terrific throw.
From there, Waterson transitioned into the choke. VanZant is known for her toughness and fought it off like a pro, but as her faced turned red and then purple, referee John McCarthy stepped in and waved the fight off.
“She’s known for that,” Waterson said. “I wanted to see if I could throw her, we worked really hard on chain submissions and just going with it when she’s trying to struggle.”
Waterson (14-4) has won two straight and eight of her past nine. She’s scored 12 of her wins via finish. VanZant (7-3) has dropped two of her past three.
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