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Joanna vs Waterson strawweight title eliminator official for UFC on ESPN+ 9

Michelle Waterson faces off against strawweight boogie woman Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC on ESPN+ 9 On October 8 in Tampa, Florida. 

Michelle Waterson looks to extend her win streak to four fights as she has strung together consecutive decision victories over Courtney Casey, Felice Herrig and Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Dana White immediately stated at the UFC 238 post fight presser that whoever it was next up for the title it was “definitely not Michelle Waterson, (she) doesn’t even want to fight until September-October or something and she’s ranked too low.”

While Waterson was overlooked for a title shot in favor of Weili Zhang (19-1), a statement victory over former long time champion Joanna would surely be enough to clinch a title shot. 

Joanna is coming into this bout off of a loss at Flyweight for the vacant title against Valentina Shevchenko. She describes that particular bout as a super fight and that her real interests remain in reclaiming the strawweight title that she lost to Rose Namajunas. Joanna’s last successful title defense was against the now current champion Jessica Andrade, which may open up a path back to a title shot for Joanna. 

The prospect of an interesting rematch storyline with Andrade or a fresh opponent in Zhang offers Joanna a way around a hard argument for the rubber match with Namajunas.Regardless, once the dust settles in Shenzhen between Andrade and Zhang we will be left with an interesting narrative moving forward for the strawweight division.

This card was initially announced for San Francisco’s new Chase Arena but now the UFC returns to Tampa’s Amalie Arena for the second time in the promotions history. The card has five announced bouts so far including Mackenzie Dern’s return to the octagon against Amanda Rivas after giving birth to her first child. It will air exclusively on ESPN+.


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