Drawing a two-fight streak, Watterson won a division-decision win over Angela Hill in the main event of UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Las Vegas.
Two judges scored it 48–47 for Watson, while a third judge scored 49–46 for Hill. Waterson was able to rally back from a strong start from Hill which was a very close fight of late.
Although the bout was extremely close, Watson said she still felt confident with the things going in the judges’ scorecards.
“You never want to leave it in the hands of judges,” Waterson said in his postfight interview. “A divided decision, it doesn’t leave a very good feeling in your stomach.”
Judge Derek Klee won the final three rounds. Judge Salle D’Matto gave Waterson two goals out of five. And Chris Lee, the only judge who won Hill, Hill took the first, second and fifth rounds.
The card was without fans of UFC Apex, a venue across the corporate campus of UFC. The main event was valued in the women’s straightweight division of the UFC. ESPN ranked Veterans No. 7 in the world in that weight class before the bout.
Hill was able to land his hard overhand several times in the first round, causing some swelling around Waterson’s left eye and forehead. This trend continued into the second round as well, although Watterson began making adjustments, using his numerous kicks to keep Hill at bay.
In the third, Waterson gained momentum. A hill jab caused bleeding from Waterson’s nose, Waterson was able to take down Hill. Waterson once had success on the ground, reaching the top spot, doing some damage with the ground-and-pound and looking for submission. In the fourth round Waterson kept things on the feet, but actually let him go vaunted kicks. Waterson landed hard side kicks over Hills’ body and a side kick squared Hill’s jaw.
The fifth round was Ultra Close. Both women took hard shots with punches and kicks. Hill finished the round with stiff knees and elbows on Waterson against the cage. But the judges thought Waterson had done enough to secure the decision victory.
Subsequently, Waterson said that the opponent she wants is “next to the belt.”
“I want to get the belt as soon as possible,” Waterson said.
After a three-fight winning streak, a very big fan, Waterson (18-8) dropped two straight from this bout. The New Mexico resident had long called her goal to be the first mom to win the UFC title and a win here brings her back on that path. Waterson, 34, is a former 2015 Invicta FC Women’s Atomweight Champion and a perennial contender in the UFC.
Hill (12-9) has lost its last two clashes with close division decisions. He was mentioned by Claudia Gadelha in May. Hill was earlier on a three-win streak.
Hill outscored Waterson 131–128 in key strikes and stopped 17 of 18 according to UFC Stats. Hill ejected Gadel four months earlier in 90–84.
UFC President Dana White said, “This is one of those fights where there was no loser. This razor was thin – it was so close.” “Whoever won, I would not have said anything either way.”
Hill, 35, became the first black American woman to headline a UFC event on Saturday night. He is one of the most active fighters in the UFC roster. She holds the UFC record for the most fights in UFC women’s straightweight history (16) and the shortest time between six consecutive fights (337 days). This was the seventh battle of the Hill from 23 March 2019.
“I just want to get back to the drawing board,” Hill said. “I felt like I did enough to take the fifth round. I keep these moments with me. It’s something I need to find out in the gym and put in a cage for my next fight to stop it.”