UFC Vegas 26 goes down this weekend, with a number of intriguing matchups on offer. In the main event, Marina Rodriguez takes on Michelle Waterson in a flyweight fight. The card was originally scheduled to be headlined by Cory Sandhagen and TJ Dillashaw, but the fight was scrapped after the former bantamweight champion had to withdraw due to injury.
In the co-main event, Donald Cerrone will fight Alex Morono on short notice, after Diego Sanchez pulled out due to his feud with the UFC. There’s another key fight on the card between welterweights Neil Magny and Geoff Neal.
Marina Rodriguez vs Michelle Waterson
Marina Rodriguez and Michelle Waterson normally compete at strawweight, but since it’s a short notice fight, the UFC has allowed them a 10lbs relief. Although they’ll fight at flyweight, the bout will have strawweight title implications, mainly for the Brazilian.
Marina Rodriguez’s Keys To Victory
Push The Pace: Marina Rodriguez is the bigger and stronger fighter. She’s very aggressive, and as proven before, she has tremendous knock-out power for a strawweight. Waterson is a veteran of the sport, but she has struggled against aggressive strikers in the past. Rodriguez also has a size, reach, and height advantage over her opponent, which she should use to her maximum advantage.
Fight Smart And Avoid Grappling: While pushing the pace will be Rodriguez’s best route to victory, fighting smart and not consuming a lot of energy early on will be equally as important. Rodriguez has shown the tendency of slowing down in the later rounds, which could work in her opponent’s favor at UFC Vegas 26 since it’s a five-round fight. She should also try and stuff the takedowns and keep the fight standing.
Stepping into flyweight waters 🌊 #UFCVegas26
— UFC (@ufc) May 5, 2021
Michelle Waterson’s Keys To Victory
Stay On The Outside: Waterson is an excellent standup point fighter, who likes mixing her strikes up to stay ahead on the judges’ scorecards. She does a great job of landing body and leg kicks, which she should use to overload Rodriguez’s reactionary senses. She should avoid a firefight with Rodriguez at all costs.
Grappling: As mentioned above, Rodriguez tends to slow down as the fight progresses and is easier to take down and control on the ground. Should Waterson avoid the early onslaught, she has the stamina and conditioning to pull her foe into deep waters at UFC Vegas 26, take her down and control her. We have seen Rodriguez lose 10-8 rounds to Cynthia Calvillo and Randa Markos in grappling.
Donald Cerrone vs Alex Morono
Donald Cerrone was originally scheduled to face Diego Sanchez, but the fight was called off after ‘The Nightmare’ failed to present evidence that he was medically fit to compete. Sanchez was released from the UFC subsequently. ‘Cowboy’ will now face Alex Morono on less than a week’s notice.
Donald Cerrone Keys To Victory
Use Length And Distance: Cerrone will enjoy a one-inch reach and two-inch height advantage on the night, which he needs to maximize at UFC Vegas 26. He should revolve his game around using his jab and firing off kicks. Working off the jab is something that Cerrone does really well, which he should use instead of engaging in a wild brawl, which is in the best interest of his opponent.
Play The Long Game: Morono hasn’t trained a lot for this fight, as he is stepping in on short notice to fill in for Diego Sanchez. The longer the fight goes, Cerrone’s chances of winning will increase, because he’ll be in better shape than his opponent, and his conditioning will be on point compared to Morono. He should look to tire Morono out, and either finish him or churn out a decision victory.
Anytime. Any place. Anywhere. 🤝
💢 Welterweights take the co-main slot at #UFCVegas26.
— UFC (@ufc) May 4, 2021
Alex Morono’s Keys To Victory
Blistering Start: Morono wouldn’t have a lot in his gas tank at UFC Vegas 26, so he should throw in the kitchen sink from the very beginning. Cerrone has choked under pressure in the past, so it will be a great strategy. Also, Morono likes to start at a high pace normally anyway, so it’s already what he is used to doing.
Stay In Boxing Range: Those who know Cerrone understand that he’s more comfortable in the kicking range than in the boxing range. Morono is pretty good in the boxing range and has been focusing on his boxing quite a lot lately. Morono should stay in the boxing range and crowd Cerrone out if he’s to come out victorious at UFC Vegas 26.
Neil Magny vs Geoff Neal
Neil Magny vs Geoff Neal is a key welterweight top 10 matchup, and while it doesn’t have title implications, both men will be looking to jump right back into the win column.
Neil Magny’s Keys To Victory
Avoid Brawl: Neil Magny can’t afford to engage in a brawl with Geoff Neal, who has made a career out of knocking people out. Magny wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of Neal’s bombs and should use his length and range to stay on the outside. Magny will have a five-inch reach and three-inch height advantage, which he can use to stay at distance.
Leg Kicks: Geoff Neal is an explosive striker, who likes to close the distance and is lethal in close exchanges along the fence. Magny can’t afford to stand right in front of him while he’s backed up against the cage. Instead, he needs to keep moving and rely heavily on leg kicks to hinder Neal’s movement. Magny can’t allow Neal to get close to him.
Geoff Neal’s Keys To Victory
Push The Pace: Geoff Neal will come out all guns blazing at UFC Vegas 26 and do what he does best, which is pushing the pace, closing distance, and landing knockout blows. Neal struggled against Stephen Thompson, who’s similar to Magny as far as physical attributes are concerned, but Magny isn’t as fast and technical as Wonderboy. Neal can definitely pressure him and catch him with a good shot.
Cut Off The Cage: Magny will try to move a lot inside the Octagon, but since UFC Vegas 26 will take place at UFC APEX, which has a smaller cage, the room for movement will be small. Therefore, Neal should pressure Magny against the cage and cut off all routes that lead to the center of the Octagon.
Not only Handz of Steel 😤
⚙️ @HandzOfSteelMMA is dangerous anywhere.
— UFC (@ufc) May 6, 2021
What are your predictions for UFC Vegas 26, featuring Marina Rodriguez vs Michelle Waterson, Donald Cerrone vs Alex Morono, and Neil Magny vs Geoff Neal?