Michelle Waterson defeated Angela Hill via split decision (47-48, 49-46, 48-47) in the strawweight main event of UFC Fight Night on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Hill had a strong start to the contest. She connected with more punches than Waterson and appeared to be the stronger and more ferocious fighter. Waterson used to compete in the atomweight division before her UFC career and typically has a size disadvantage at strawweight.
Hill continued to punish "The Karate Hottie" in the second round, using her reach advantage to keep Waterson off her and land more meaningful offense. Hill mixed in jabs and front kicks to score points.
The course of the fight changed in the third round, when Waterson earned a takedown and held Hill down for the remainder of the frame. Hill seemed to be slowly tiring, while Waterson was gaining momentum.
She continued to do good work in the fourth round, landing a variety of kicks against Hill and connecting with punches. Waterson had more offense and seemed to tie the bout up heading into the fifth round.
The final frame appeared to be the closest, with Waterson and Hill both landing good shots in the stand-up department. Waterson continued to score with her karate-style side kicks and Hill turned it up late, moving forward and landing bombs as the time ran out.
With the victory, Waterson snapped a two-fight skid. This was her first victory since March 2019.
Hill, the first Black woman to headline a UFC card, has now lost two straight bouts.