The UFC announced earlier this week that they’ll be heading to Philadelphia in March.
Dana White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that a strawweight title between Michelle Waterson and Karolina Kowalkiewicz is a done deal for the promotion’s first card in Philadelphia since way back in 2011. Considering all of Waterson’s previous six UFC appearances have been on the main card, you can probably guess that this fight is main card material.
Waterson (16-6) is on a two-fight winning streak, defeating Cortney Casey by somewhat controversial split decision in April, then clearly beating Felice Herrig at UFC 229 in October. Her highest profile win was a UFC on FOX main event submission victory over Paige VanZant back in December 2016, but losses to Rose Namajunas and Tecia Torres son followed. If she prevails again in her next outing, a title shot isn’t too far off for here.
Kowalkiewicz (12-3) did challenge for UFC gold back in 2016, but lost a unanimous decision to then-champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. After getting submitted by Claudia Gadelha, Kowalkiewicz picked up wins over Jodie Esquibel and Felice Herrig, but was brutally knocked out by the powerful Jessica Andrade at UFC 228. She is still placed higher than Waterson in the UFC’s rankings, with Waterson at #8 and Kowalkiewicz at #6.
The other matchup slated for this event is another strawweight bout, as Alexa Grasso looks to get back in the win column against Marina Rodriguez. In her last fight, Rodriguez fought to a draw with veteran Randa Markos.