UFC Fight Night 161 Tips & Preview

The UFC heads to Florida this weekend for another instalment of the UFC Fight Night series. Our main event is an exciting strawweight bout between former Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and veteran Michelle Waterson. This is backed up by an intriguing Featherweight Co-Main between Cub Swanson and Kron Gracie. We’ll preview both the main and co-main event for this one, providing our 2 best bets in the process.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Michelle Waterson, Strawweight, Main Event
Jedrzejczyk by Points

Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Joanna is one of the more accomplished female MMA fighters in the UFC, entering this bout with a 15-3 career record. She is in the most disastrous run of her career, losing 3 of her last 4 fights and even briefly competing at Flyweight. Rose Namajunas was a poor matchup for her, while Shevchenko just had too much at an unfamiliar weight class. She is a kickboxer first and foremost, sporting a 27-3 kickboxing record before transitioning to MMA.

Michelle Waterson

The 33-year-old American is no slouch either, emerging victorious in 17 of her previous 23 fights. She is 5-2 since joining the UFC, winning each of her last 3 fights by decision. Her last win was over Karolina Kowalkiewicz, definitely her most high-profile opponent. Despite a recent trend towards decision wins, 9 of her 17 career MMA victories have come via submission.

Prediction: Jedrzejczyk by Points

Despite a poor recent run of form, this matchup really favours Joanna. Waterson has no chance of striking with her and needs to get this on the ground as soon as possible. Unfortunately for her, Joanna has elite speed and takedown defence and should prove elusive here. I expect huge volume from Joanna from start to finish, ultimately cruising to a points victory.

Cub Swanson vs Kron Gracie, Featherweight, Co-Main
Gracie by Submission

Cub Swanson

Another respected veteran, the 35-year-old Swanson enters this bout 25-11 for his career. He has been in a particularly poor run of form, losing each of his last 4 fights over a time period spanning 30 months. He’s proven especially vulnerable to submissions, getting outmanoeuvred by both Brian Ortega and Renato Moicano of late. Known primarily as a striker, 11 of his wins have come via knockout.

Kron Gracie

Despite being 31 years of age, this rapidly rising Brazilian only has 5 fights to his name. He fought primarily in the Japanese promotion Rizin, before making his UFC debut this February. All 5 of his fights have ended in early submission victories, including a Fight of the Night against Alex Caceres in his UFC debut.

Prediction: Gracie by Submission

Despite not having all that much professional experience, I’m going to take the rising Gracie here. He is one of the best submission artists in world MMA, which provides a huge matchup advantage against Swanson. Swanson appears to be on his last legs and has looked particularly vulnerable on the ground of late. Given his elite ability on the ground, Gracie by Submission looks like the best method market available.