Tecia Torres vs. Michelle Waterson official for UFC 218 in Detroit

Tecia Torres has wanted to fight Michelle Waterson for some time now, and that’s what she’s getting.

It was announced today that Torres (9-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) and Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) will meet in a strawweight bout at UFC 218, which takes place Dec. 2 from Little Caesars Arena in Detroit with a pay-per-view main card that follows prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Torres, No. 7 in the current USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA strawweight rankings, made it known back in August she wanted Waterson for her next fight. The “Karate Hottie” is pleased to finally oblige that request.

“Tecia has been calling me out since her last fight,” Waterson told ESPN.com. “I’m just trying to give her what she wants. It’ll be a great fight.”

For Waterson, she will be looking to rebound from a second-round submission loss to Rose Namajunas at UFC on FOX 24 in April. As a result of that win, Namajunas is set to face champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk at next month’s UFC 217.

Torres also has lost to Namajunas in April 2016 for her lone defeat in a rematch of an Invicta bout won by Torres. Since that loss, Torres has compiled back-to-back wins, including her first finish in July, when she beat Juliana Lima with a rear-naked choke.

With the addition to the card, UFC 218 now includes:

  • Champ Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar – for featherweight title
  • Francis Ngannou vs. Alistair Overeem
  • Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje
  • Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis
  • Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta
  • Drakkar Klose vs. David Teymur
  • Cortney Casey vs. Felice Herrig
  • Yancy Medeiros vs. Alex Oliveira
  • Razak Al-Hassan vs. Sabah Homasi
  • Amanda Cooper vs. Angela Magana
  • Jeremy Kimball vs. Dominick Reyes
  • Tecia Torres vs. Michelle Waterson

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Will Michelle Waterson be UFC's next reality star on 'The Challenge: Champs vs. Stars'?

UFC fighters are no strangers to reality competitions, and Michelle Waterson will be the latest to step a little out of her fighting comfort zone.

Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) will be part of the cast of MTV’s show “The Challenge: Champs vs. Stars,” which is set to have its season debut on Nov. 21 at 10 p.m. ET. The news first was reported by People magazine.

The show will feature 10 alums of “The Challenge” show, all of whom were past cast members on different seasons of “The Real World.” Those reality stars will go up against 10 celebrities, including Waterson, Ariane Andrew (WWE), Kim Glass (Olympic volleyball), Shawn Johnson (Olympic gymnast), Romeo Miller (rapper), Josh Murray (“The Bachelorette”), Terrell Owens (NFL), Riff Raff (rapper), Matt Rife (comedian) and Justina Valentine (rapper).

Waterson will be playing for the MVP Vets and Players charity.

She’s not the first UFC fighter to appear on “The Challenge.” Earlier this year, Phil “CM Punk” Brooks appeared on the “Champs vs. Pros” version of the show. He was eliminated on the season’s fourth episode and won $1,000 for his charity, PAWS Chicago.

A year and a half ago, Paige VanZant set the bar for current UFC fighters appearing on reality competition shows when she was runner-up on Season 22 of “Dancing with the Stars.” Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture also appeared on past seasons of that show. VanZant in 2016 also was on a celebrity edition of “Chopped” on The Food Network.

Waterson in April suffered her first loss in the UFC. The former Invicta FC atomweight champ started her UFC run 2-0 with rear-naked choke wins over Angela Magana and VanZant, the latter of which came as the headliner for UFC on FOX 22. But in the UFC on FOX 25 co-main event, she was submitted by Rose Namajunas, who earned an upcoming title shot with the win.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC strawweight Tecia Torres wants a fight with Michelle Waterson

With her dance ticket currently unfilled, UFC strawweight Tecia Torres went to Twitter to try to book her next fight.

Torres (9-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) earlier this week called out Michelle Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) on the social media platform saying she wanted to fight her.

“Michelle what’s up? Let’s fight and put on a good show! @karatehottiemma Waiting for you,” Torres wrote on her Twitter account.

Waterson has not yet responded. But Torres replied to a trolling fan who said she wasn’t on Waterson’s level by saying, “I beg to differ” with a laughing emoji.

Torres started her career 4-0, all for Invicta FC, before coming to the UFC via Season 20 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Although she didn’t reach the season’s final, she fout at the TUF 20 Finale and took a decision from Angela Magana. After that, she beat Angela Hill and Jocely Jones-Lybarger before dropping a decision to Rose Namajunas at UFC on FOX 19, which was the first setback of her career.

“The Tiny Tornado” bounced back with a win over Bec Rawlings earlier this year in Houston, which gave her eight decisions in eight career wins. But at the TUF 25 Finale in July, Torres finally got her first finish as a pro when she submitted Juliana Lima with a rear-naked choke to win a $50,000 performance bonus.

Waterson is coming off a second-round submission loss to Namajunas in the UFC on FOX 24 co-main event in April. That setback was her first loss in the UFC after opening with a pair of submission wins over Magana and Paige VanZant.

“The Karate Hottie” is a former Invicta FC atomweight champion who went 3-1 in that promotion with the lone loss being in a title defense against Herica Tiburcio. After that, she slid over to the UFC when the strawweight division was formed.

So what do you think of the matchup? Is it a good one? Or should Torres start asking for someone else? Vote on it in our poll below.

And for more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Cynthia Calvillo plans to be challenger who dethrones UFC champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk

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ANAHEIM, Calif. – Cynthia Calvillo has been in the UFC for less than six months, but she already has plans for her UFC title.

Calvillo (6-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC), who splashed on the UFC scene in March, has quickly rattled off three consecutive victories to put herself on the map as a UFC strawweight contender. She’s looking to continue her quick ascent and named former champ Carla Esparza (12-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) or Michelle Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) as potential opponents she thinks could elevate her into title contention.

“I’m going to get that fourth win before the end of the year, for sure,” Calvillo said backstage at UFC 214 in Anaheim, Calif., on Saturday. “Hopefully maybe November, December we’ll found out soon. … I’m ranked No. 8 now (in the UFC rankings). Hopefully we can get Carla Esparza, No. 7, or Michelle Waterson, No. 6. Get two more fights and get that title – either of them.

“They’re both in the way of what I want, and that’s that belt.”

Calvillo’s ultimate goal, naturally, is to claim a UFC belt. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) has ruled the division with an iron fist since winning the belt in March 2015, and thus far has rarely been challenged through five consecutive title defenses.

With Rose Namajunas likely to be the next to challenge Jedrzejczyk for the belt, Calvillo said she hopes the Polish champ is able to retrain because she wants to be the one to take away the gold.

“If (Namajunas’) wrestling game gets on point and she can hold her down, maybe she can (win),” Calvillo said. “But I don’t know. I think I’m going to give Joanna that first loss.”

During her short UFC stint, Calvillo has been pegged by UFC President Dana White as someone with “star” potential, leading to a noticeable promotional push. The fact she’s been embraced by White has led to some criticism by fellow fighters, but Calvillo said she relishes it.

“One hundred percent (I get hate),” Calvillo said. “They want to fight whoever has attention. They want what I got already. It is what it is. I’m happy. I’m more than happy. I want them to line up and fight me because I love fighting. It’s better than not having fights.”

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Women's UFC stars Paige VanZant, Michelle Waterson share most important career moments

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Although they are both coming off dominant losses, Paige VanZant and Michelle Waterson remain two of the biggest women’s stars on the UFC roster.

VanZant (7-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) quickly reached stardom in her career, aided by a successful run on “Dancing with the Stars.” Waterson’s (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) time in the UFC came along a little bit later, but she’s quickly made up ground with exciting performances and a cover spot on ESPN’s “Body Issue.”

The two women’s strawweight fighters, who actually faced off in the main event of UFC on FOX 22 in December, with Waterson winning by first-round submission, have had very different paths in the sport. During a recent “Women of the UFC” panel in Las Vegas over International Fight Week, both were asked to describe the most meaningful moments of their career.

Watch the video above to see the somewhat similar, but also very different, answers.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Michelle Waterson returns to analyst desk for Sunday's UFC Fight Night 113 event

UFC strawweight contender Michelle Waterson will join the broadcast team for this weekend’s UFC Fight Night 113 event, MMAjunkie today confirmed with FOX Sports officials.

Waterson joins UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping and former title challenger Kenny Florian as analysts on the FOX Sports desk in California alongside host Karyn Bryant.

Meanwhile, Dan Hardy and John Gooden will call the fights cageside from SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. Heidi Androl interviews fighters backstage, while Bruce Buffer will take his familiar position in the octagon.

Waterson debuted as an analyst in January, when she was at the desk for “UFC on FOX 23: Shevchenko vs. Pena.” She believes the opportunity to do it again will actually continue to help her in-cage game, as well.

“I’m excited about it because as a martial artist, I think it’s always important to remember that you’re a student of the game, and the best way for me to do that is to force myself into situations where I have to study people that I don’t normally do,” Waterson told MMAjunkie. “I think that being behind the desk really does force you to step back as a fighter, yourself, and just analyze it from an outside perspective.”

UFC Fight Night 113 features a welterweight matchup between potential future contenders Gunnar Nelson (16-2-1 MMA, 7-2 UFC) and Santiago Ponzinibbio (24-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC). Both the main card and preliminary bouts air on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Waterson, who’s currently an honorable mention in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA strawweight rankings, admits that despite a decade of professional fighting experience, sitting behind a desk still brings out the nerves. But she’s excited to offer her expertise on the card, including the night’s co-feature, which sees a clash of fellow strawweights with Joanna Calderwood (11-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Cynthia Calvillo (5-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC).

“There’s a lot of hype behind Cynthia,” Waterson said. :She’s been able to pop off some really impressive wins, scrambling submissions. I think by her fighting ‘JoJo,’ it will be a great test for her because ‘JoJo’ is a great standup fighter who is more lengthy, more rangy and doesn’t necessarily like to go to the ground, so I’d like to see how Cynthia deals with her standup.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 113, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

While UFC celebrates women in sport, ex-champ Ronda Rousey nowhere to be found

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(This story first appeared at USAToday.com.)

LAS VEGAS — A women’s fight is headlining the UFC’s summer showcase this week, and Ronda Rousey has no part in it.

That in itself is no surprise, given that the last time Rousey stepped into the octagon here she made it just 48 seconds. Her conqueror on that late December night, Amanda Nunes, will top the bill at UFC 213 on Saturday, defending her bantamweight title against Valentina Shevchenko in the main event.

However, in one of the most empowering weeks for female fighting that the UFC has ever had, Rousey isn’t just absent from the cage, but seems to be completely out of the sight and minds of the MMA community.

On Wednesday, the organization hosted a “Women of UFC” discussion panel as part of its “International Fight Week” series of events designed to bring fans into Las Vegas for several days, rather than just fight night.

Over the course of an hour and in front of several hundred fans, four prominent women’s UFC fighters and moderator Megan Olivi spoke about how far the sport has evolved, where it might be headed next and its position in providing role models to young girls and women.

And not once was Rousey’s name mentioned.

Popular fighter Paige VanZant said women “are here and we are taking this stage by storm.” Cristiane Justino, who will fight for the women’s featherweight title at UFC 214 later this month, lauded the way women now “have this opportunity to show we can fight like the men — and put on exciting fights.”

“We are not female fighters, we are just fighters,” said Michelle Waterson, who is on one of the covers of ESPN The Magazine’s latest “Body Issue” on newsstands Friday. Strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk remembered a time when a UFC career was not even a dream for female athletes because the organization was steadfast in its refusal to add women’s divisions.

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That was before UFC President Dana White changed his mind, which is to say that Rousey changed it for him. Virtually single-handedly, she convinced White to implement a women’s division, and he built it around her. With six crushing victories in two and a half years, she put women’s MMA on the map, gave female fighting both credibility and a superstar face and gained an army of worldwide fans.

MMA arguably is the toughest sport in the world, and it moves with remarkable haste. Champions become chumps at warp speed. Former superstars become quickly forgotten once their skills wane and their ranking dips.

Yet you never thought it would go like that for Rousey, at least not this quickly. As recently as November 2015, she was still seen as unbeatable, an all-conquering superwoman that the public couldn’t get enough of. A stunning defeat to Holly Holm followed and Rousey became a virtual recluse, before reappearing in December to be demolished by Nunes.

And just like that, the juggernaut was over. Rousey is now something else. No longer a fighter even perhaps, at least according to White, who thinks she will retire.

For now, she is a coach on ABC’s “Battle of the Network Stars” athletics competition, which is why she was on the “Live With Kelly and Ryan” couch on Wednesday. A couple of hours before the female UFC fighters spoke in Las Vegas, she regaled the talk show hosts with a few tidbits about her now ultra-secretive life.

Such controlled occasions are the only snippets she has shared with the public since the Holm defeat that left her kicked into unconsciousness and sent her career hurtling downhill.

In that sense, she doesn’t have to look far to find sympathy. On Saturday, Rousey is expected at the arena to support fiancé Travis Browne as he struggles to save his career against little-known heavyweight Aleksei Oleinik.

Browne has lost three straight, giving he and Rousey a combined 2-6 record since their relationship began.

One more defeat and he could be out of the organization and into obscurity. For an average men’s heavyweight, such things are not so unexpected. Rousey’s fall, and fade, has been far more surprising.

For more on UFC 213, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Tecia Torres took short-notice fight at TUF 25 Finale because she didn't want to wait for Michelle Waterson

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Impatience may have cost Tecia Torres a signature fight in the UFC strawweight division, but she hopes all will still work out in her favor in the end.

Torres (8-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC), who hasn’t fought since a unanimous decision victory over Bec Rawlings at UFC Fight Night 104 in February, was itching to get back in the octagon as soon as possible. She said a bout with Michelle Waterson was in the works for late summer, but the prospect of waiting wasn’t all that appealing.

So, when it was announced that Amanda Ribas had been pulled from Friday’s Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale bout with Juliana Lima (9-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) due to a potential USADA violation, Torres pounced on the opportunity to step in, even if it meant jeopardizing a much bigger fight with Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC).

“I was waiting for a fight since February because I’ve been wanting to fight,” Torres told MMAjunkie Radio. “I saw Amanda Ribas got pulled from the fight, so I asked for this fight. I was like, ‘Sean Shelby, can I have that fight, please?’ I was waiting on Michelle Waterson, but he was saying it would be late August, but he wasn’t really telling me anything.

“I asked if I could take this fight and he said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘At this point, if you want to fight one of the big wigs, you have to beat anybody.’ That’s why I wanted it. I want to fight, I want to get paid. I still want to fight Michelle Waterson. I’ll still take that in late August if I can if I’m OK after this fight.”

The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale takes place Friday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Torres vs. Lima opens the early UFC Fight Pass prelims prior to the televised card on FS1.

A fight between Torres, No. 7 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA women’s strawweight rankings, and Waterson, would have likely been a fight to receive prominent card placement wherever it was booked. Instead, Torres fights Lima in the opening fight of the night, which on the surface seems like a considerable step down.

Torres, however, said she’s not necessarily worried about any of that, because she just wants to fight.

“I like fighting earlier in the night because I can get it over with,” Torres said. “I’m a fan of the sport, so I want to see the other girls fight on the card and some of the other guy fights. I’m excited about that. Being on TV is a little bit easier for my friends and family to watch it, but I understand they want to sell more Fight Pass and get some fights on there. I hope we open up the show with a bang and show women can fight hard.”

The bout with Lima comes somewhat in the middle of a transition stage for Torres. She’s spent almost the entirety of her MMA career training out of Florida’s American Top Team gym, but after her recent engagement to fellow UFC fighter Raquel Pennington, Torres opted to relocate to Colorado.

Although the fight with Lima came together on less than three weeks’ notice, Torres said she’s feeling the positive effects of her new training environment and expects that to carry over into her performance.

“I’m getting a lot more one-on-one attention,” Torres said. “I think my style is going to be a little more evolved this fight. Although I took it on two and a half weeks’ notice, I was still training before that. I feel like with every fight that comes, I’ll just get better and better.

“I felt that in my last fight because I did a month with this camp and a month with my old camp. I felt really good about it, so I’m just excited about how this fight’s going to go. I really feel like I’m going to show the best version of me yet.”

If Torres is successful at the TUF 25 Finale, she would put a fifth UFC victory on her resume, which is more than anyone in divisional history outside of champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. The undefeated titleholder has already plowed through most of the top-ranked 115-pound contenders, but has yet to have an encounter with Torres.

“The Tiny Tornado” believes a title shot is imminent as long as she continues to win, and if she can beat Lima and then get her fight with Waterson, she said that’s a pretty solid road map to a fight with Jedrzejczyk (14-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) for the gold.

“I think I’m definitely one or two wins away from getting a title shot,” Torres said. “I’ve been No. 5 (in the UFC’s rankings) now for a while – probably the last few years. … I think that everybody has had that opportunity to fight for the title in the top five – except for me. I think one or two wins and I should be getting that shot for myself.”

For more on The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Inside look at Michelle Waterson's ESPN 'Body Issue' photo shoot

UFC strawweight Michelle Waterson, affectionately known to fight fans as “The Karate Hottie,” is proud of her body.

Which is why it should come as no surprise that Waterson took the opportunity to appear in ESPN The Magazine’s “Body Issue,” even landing on one of the edition’s covers.

Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC), a former Invicta FC champion, joins women’s fighters Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate and Cristiane Justino, as well as Conor McGregor and Jon Jones, as UFC standouts who have appeared in the issue.

In the behind-the-scenes video of her photo shoot above, Waterson expounds on the pride she takes in staying fit and how giving birth to her daughter, 6-year-old Araya, changed her life and her body.

“Everything tells a story, and I’m very proud of my story, so I’m proud of my body,” Waterson said. “My body is everything. It’s my machine. It’s what I have to fine-tune in order to perform.”

“The Body Issue,” which is in its ninth year, is scheduled to hit newsstands on July 7.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Strawweight Michelle Waterson latest UFC fighter to go nude for ESPN The Magazine's 'Body Issue'

Michelle Waterson is the latest fighter on the UFC roster to bare (almost) all for ESPN The Magazine’s annual “Body Issue.”

“The Karate Hottie” will appear on one of the edition’s covers fully nude, her left leg extended in a high kick, and her arms carefully keeping some things concealed. She joins women’s fighters Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate and Cristiane Justino, as well as Conor McGregor and Jon Jones, as UFC standouts who have appeared in the issue.

“The Body Issue,” which is in its ninth year, is scheduled to hit newsstands on July 7. Ahead of that, though, ESPN has released a behind-the-scenes video of Waterson’s photo shoot.

Waterson also did a Q&A with ESPN.com ahead of her appearance in the issue and said giving birth to her daughter was the toughest thing she’s been through physically – far tougher than fighting.

The 31-year-old Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) is a former Invicta FC atomweight champion, but has been fighting at strawweight in the UFC. After winning her first two fights for the promotion by submission over Angela Magana and Paige VanZant, Waterson was submitted by Rose Namajunas at UFC on FOX 24 in April.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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