The UFC is hoping to have a matchup of ranked females headline Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 24 card.
After the promotion went into fight week scrambling after the original main event of Cory Sandhagen vs. T.J. Dillashaw fell apart, a new fight between Marina Rodriguez and Michelle Waterson has reportedly now come together.
Both Rodriguez (14-1-2 MMA, 3-1-2 UFC) and Waterson (18-8 MMA, 6-4 UFC) agreed to the matchup several days ago, people with knowledge of the situation told MMA Junkie, but UFC president Dana White made the announcement of its main event status Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole on Tuesday.
People with knowledge of the situation tell MMA Junkie, however, that there are still some logistical hurdles on Rodriguez’s end before the fight is 100 percent official. The promotion is working toward a resolution to clear the path for the fight.
Although both females typically compete at strawweight, the five-round matchup is expected to take place in the women’s flyweight division.
UFC on ESPN 24 takes place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main card airs on ESPN following prelims on ESPN+.
Waterson, 35, is coming off a main event win over Angela Hill at UFC Fight Night 177 in September. The result snapped a two-fight losing skid for “The Karate Hottie.”
Rodriguez, 34, meanwhile, will look to capitalize off the biggest win of her career. She halted the hype of highly touted Amanda Ribas at UFC 257 in January, scoring a stunning second-round TKO of her fellow Brazilian. Now Rodriguez gets her first main event spot.
The UFC on ESPN 24 lineup now includes:
- Marina Rodriguez vs. Michelle Waterson
- Donald Cerrone vs. Alex Morono
- Zarrukh Adashev vs. Ryan Benoit
- Maurice Greene vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima
- Christian Aguilera vs. Carlston Harris
- Tafon Nchukwi vs. Jun Yong Park
- Philipe Lins vs. Ben Rothwell
- Angela Hill vs. Amanda Ribas
- Neil Magny vs. Geoff Neal
- Ludovit Klein vs. Mike Trizano
- Kyle Daukaus vs. Phil Hawes
- Diego Ferreira vs. Gregor Gillespie