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Joanne to be too hot for ‘Karate Hottie’? Get UFC on ESPN+ 19 tips

Leigh Copson 10 Oct 2019
Joanna Jedrzejczyk (credit:Jason Silva/Zuma Press/PA Images)

Joanna Jedrzejczyk v Michelle Waterson predictions and more for UFC on ESPN+ 19 on Saturday, October 12.  Can former strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk get back on track with her first win of 2019, or will Michelle Waterson take out the ex-115lb queen and make he own claim for a title shot? Read on for our free predictions and betting tips for UFC on ESPN+ 19.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk v Michelle Waterson

The last couple of years have been tough on former UFC women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who was once considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in all of combat sports. The 32-year-old Pole was sitting proudly atop the women’s 115lb division in May 2017 having shattered UFC fight records en route to a dominant win over Jessica Andrade, but she was knocked off her perch in spectacular fashion in November of that year. Few expected Rose Namajunas to be the woman to finally end Jedrzejczyk’s reign and even fewer thought she could stop the champion with strikes, but that is exactly what she did in just 183 seconds and several months later she proved the victory was no fluke by beating the Polish fighter once again, this time by decision. It was a nightmare few months for Jedrzejczyk and after she bounced back to beat Tecia Torres in July last year, she suffered her third defeat in four fights, dropping a unanimous decision to Valentina Shevchenko when she challenged for the vacant women’s flyweight title. She will now look to kick-start her career once again on Saturday night, and she will look to do it back at strawweight.

Providing the opposition is Michelle Waterson, who is currently enjoying her best run of form since signing with the UFC in 2015. ‘The Karate Hottie’ got off to a mixed start in the Octagon as she went 2-2 in her first four, but she has bounced back from those back-to-back losses to Namajunas and Torres by reeling off three straight victories, including a unanimous decision win over Karolina Kowalkiewicz in March of this year. This good run of results has put Waterson on the brink of a top-five ranking and if she can get the better of Jedrzejczyk in Tampa then she could well land herself a shot at the title in 2020. The question is can she pull off the biggest win of her career, beat the Pole and send the former champion’s career further into a spiral? Or will Jedrzejczyk get back on track and move a step closer towards a shot at becoming the queen of the 115lb division once again?

Waterson may be nicknamed ‘The Karate Hottie’ but she would be advised to not stand and trade with Jedrzejczyk. Yes the Pole was knocked out by Namajunas and yes she has been dropped a couple of times in her career, but she remains one of the most talented strikers in MMA and she is streets ahead of Waterson in that aspect of the game. Waterson, on the other hand, has a big edge if these two hit the canvas, despite her somewhat misleading nickname. She is very good at controlling her opponent from top position and working for submissions, but the problem here is that it is very difficult to get Jedrzejczyk on the mat and on her back. When she has been taken down previously she has popped back up pretty quickly. Her method of attack when it comes to takedowns is a problem here too – she likes to attack from the clinch and that is the last place you want to be when fighting Jedrzejczyk.

So as you can see, everything points to this being a stand-up affair and therefore I have to back Jedrzejczyk for the victory here, despite her poor run of results. I expect the former champion to get back on track in Tampa, outpointing Waterson over five rounds to get the nod from the judges.

Cub Swanson v Kron Gracie

Kron Gracie has his sights set on making it back-to-back wins in the UFC, and extending his perfect record to 6-0, on Saturday night, but to do it he will have to record the biggest win of his career so far. Cub Swanson has shared the Octagon with a who’s who of fighters over the years, but he is clearly on the downturn of his career and has now lost each of his last four fights, albeit against quality opposition. What is even more concerning for him here is that seven of his 11 losses have come via submission and, as we all know, the Gracies are masters of the mat. I am backing Gracie to get Swanson to the ground and when that happens there will be only one winner – the man with the legendary surname.

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Joanne to be too hot for ‘Karate Hottie’? Get UFC on ESPN+ 19 tips

Joanna Jedrzejczyk v Michelle Waterson predictions and more for UFC on ESPN+ 19 on Saturday, October 12.

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