Joanna Jedrzejczyk will be aiming to record just her second win in her past five fights when she takes on Michelle Waterson on Saturday in a battle of highly-ranked women’s strawweights at UFC Fight Night 161 as a big -335 favourite on the UFC odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Joanna has been idle since suffering a unanimous decision loss to Valentina Shevchenko as a +245 underdog in her bid for the vacant UFC women’s flyweight title at UFC 231, and has now fallen to defeat in each of her past three fights scheduled for five rounds ahead of Saturday night’s matchup at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.
The 32-year-old’s return to the UFC women’s strawweight division has been threatened by her struggle to make weight, which briefly put Saturday’s main event at risk of cancellation.
It has also complicated her efforts to make gains on the UFC women’s strawweight rankings since losing the title to Rose Namajunas in spectacular fashion as a massive -700 favourite at sports betting sites at UFC 217. Joanna followed up with a five-round unanimous decision loss in her rematch with Namajunas at UFC 223, and now lags as the No. 5 contender on the UFC women’s strawweight rankings.
However, Joanna enjoyed a steady run of success prior to her recent swoon, opening her professional MMA career with 14 straight victories, including five successful title defences with four by unanimous decision.
Pegged as a +255 underdog in Saturday’s contest, Waterson has also regularly gone the distance in recent outings. Waterson has seen her past four outings decided by the judges, earning the decision in each of her past three capped by a three-round victory over Karolina Kowalkiewicz as a +140 wager last time out at UFC on ESPN 2.
Waterson’s win streak is the longest one she has enjoyed in over five years, and has lifted her to No. 7 on the UFC women’s strawweight rankings. However, the 33-year-old has not seen a fight extend into the championship rounds since a fourth-round submission win over Jessica Penne in 2014 that earned her the Invicta FC atomweight championship.
Elsewhere on the UFC Fight Night Tampa odds, the evening’s other women’s strawweight matchup has undefeated Mackenzie Dern battling Amanda Ribas as -150 chalk. Cub Swanson looks to snap a four-fight losing streak as he takes on featherweight Kron Gracie as a +130 underdog, while Matt Frevola clashes with fellow lightweight Luis Pena as a +140 underdog.