UFC Tampa Preview
By Bryan Perkins
UFC Fight Night 161 takes place this weekend and in this article, I am going to look at the main event between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Michelle Waterson, along with a couple of other fights that I’m excited about for this weekend.
There was a lot of speculation this week that Joanna wouldn’t make weight for the fight this weekend but indeed she and all fighters on the card successfully made weight. This fight is going to have huge implications for the Ufc women’s strawweight division.
Joanna is one of the best kickboxers to have ever fought in the UFC as she uses excellent kicks to keep fighters at the range she wants to be fighting at. Joanna had an extensive 10-year career in Kickboxing and Muay Thai which means she is more than capable of out-striking any fighter in the strawweight division.
Waterson herself comes from a striking background as she began Karate around the age of 10. Waterson also uses kicks to keep people at range but what has been more impressive about Watersons last 3 fights has been her improvements made in her in grappling. She was able to control Felice Herrig and Karolina Kowalkiewicz with impressive takedowns and control from top position.
Joanna was the most dominant strawweight ever seen in the UFC during her reign. This is something people quickly forget because she is 1-3 in her last 4 fights. A win over Waterson could be the spark to reigniting her career. Whilst Waterson is on a 3 fight win streak, a win over a name like Joanna could see her get the title shot she craves.
In the co-main veteran Cub Swanson takes on hot prospect Kron Gracie. This fight is a clash between two fighters who couldn’t be in such different stages of their career.
Swanson is a 36 fight veteran who has fought just about everybody worth fighting in the featherweight division in his 8 year run in the UFC. Swanson’s list of wins includes some impressive names such as Dustin Poirier, Jeremy Stephens and Ross Pearson. Swanson is a well-rounded fighter who loves to strike yet he has a BJJ Black belt and solid wrestling.
Being part of the legendary Gracie family means that Kron Gracie’s short career has been met with a wave of hype. Unsurprisingly all of Kron’s 5 professional fights have ended in submission victories. The fact that he is a Gracie means that Kron was always going to have incredible grappling ability.
Kron is the betting favourite for the fight which is understandable with the hype his name carries and given that he is undefeated. However, despite being on a 4 fight loss streak Cub Swanson has far more fight experience than Kron which is a key attribute in any fight. I am interested to see if Swanson can keep the fight on the feet because if he can then he will represent Kron’s most difficult test so far.
The Welterweight bout between James Vick and Nike Price is a fight that could have serious consequences- good or bad for either fighter.
Niko Price is an exciting fighter who has a well-deserved reputation for finishing fights. Only one of his 13 wins has gone to the decision. James Vick presents a great chance for Price to beat an opponent who is well known within the UFC fanbase having fought names such as Justin Gaethje, Dan Hooker and Paul Felder in his last 3 fights which could see Price become more of a household name.
However, if he was to lose this fight he would be 1-3 in his last 4 fights whilst it would be the first time he would have 2 losses in a row. The next step for Price is to string a few wins together to push himself towards the top 15 in the welterweight rankings.
James Vick is another exciting fighter who brings everything to the octagon every time he fights. Before his devastating knockout loss to Gaethje in 2018, Vick was well on track to becoming a top contender at lightweight as he was on a 4 fight win streak.
However, since then he has lost another 2 fights, included another knockout loss to Dan Hooker. Vick is certainly an entertaining fighter and the move up to welterweight represents a fresh challenge and new opportunities for Vick.
A win against a strong opponent in Price could revitalise his career but equally a loss would mean he was on a 4 loss streak which could leave Vicks UFC career in jeopardy