Michelle Waterson and Marina Rodriguez | Zuffa LLC
Michelle Waterson is set to return for her first fight in over a year.
MMA Fighting confirmed with sources with knowledge of the matchup that Waterson (18-9) will fight Amanda Lemos (11-2-1) in a strawweight bout at a UFC Fight Night event on July 16 with a location still to be announced. The bout was first reported by Ariel Helwani and Waterson announced it herself on Thursday.
Waterson — currently No. 10 at 115 pounds in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings — has been out of action since last May, when she lost a unanimous decision to top contender Marina Rodriguez. “The Karate Hottie” was set to fight Amanda Ribas at an event on March 26, but was forced to withdraw due to an undisclosed injury that she later described as potentially “career-ending” if it were not addressed. Waterson is just 1-3 in her past four outings, with losses to Rodriguez, Carla Esparza, and Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
No. 11 Lemos is coming off of her first loss in the UFC at strawweight. Lemos defeated five straight opponents before running into former champion Jessica Andrade in the main event of UFC Vegas 52 in April where she succumbed to the first standing arm-triangle choke submission in UFC history. She has finished three of her seven UFC opponents in the first round.
Guilherme Cruz contributed to this report.