High-Profile Male and Female Fighters Cap Card: Philadelphia UFC Fight Night
by Bradley Huebner
Eddie Alvarez—the flyweight from Pennsylvania, not the MMA headliner fighting in Japan—says the last two bouts of the six-fight UFC Fight Night card set for the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on March 30 should be worth the admission price, with top-ten contenders matched up.
In the penultimate bout, a pair of top-ten strawweight women will square off. Fan favorite Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson of New Mexico, the ninth-ranked challenger, will battle Poland’s Karolina Kowalkiewicz, the sixth-ranked contender.
“Waterson is a karate black-belt,” Alvarez said. “She’s a striker with good hands. Very elusive, explosive, fast. Karoline is also a striker. That’s going to make for a stand up fight. These are very high-profile people.” See Live video previews here: https://spaces.hightail.com/space/MNmPB3CGeB
Modern metrics support that for the two fighters. Waterson (16–6) has almost 85,000 followers on Twitter. Kowalkiewicz (13–3) has over 66,000.
The nightcap pits Brazil native Edson Barboza (20–6) against Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje (19–2). Barboza, a Muay Thai specialist, is the sixth-ranked lightweight, trailing a class that features champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and second-ranked challenger Conor McGregor. Gaethje sits one behind Barboza as the seventh contender.
Both Barboza and Gaethje are 5’ 11” and 155 lbs. Barboza (33) is three years older and has a five-inch reach advantage. In his last victory in Milwaukee, Barboza, a staunch Christian, used leg kicks late in the match to prevail over Dan Hooker.
Every fight but one on the Saturday cards pits an American against an international fighter. The card begins with Brooklyn’s David Branch (22–5) against Norway’s Jack “The Joker” Hermansson. Hermansson is 30, seven years Branch’s junior. The Dallas, Texas-based fighter Kennedy “The African Savage” Nzechukwu (6–0) opposes Scotland’s Paul “BearJew” Craig (10–3). Florida’s Desmond “The Predator” Green (21–8) draws England’s Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson (22–15) in a light-heavyweight bout. And Alexa Grasso of Mexico faces Marina Rodriguez of Brazil.
The Keystone state doesn’t offer its fight fans many events featuring top-ranked UFC athletes. For those wanting more than viewing the action on their high-def big screens, March 30 offers a live alternative. Tickets range from $55 to $175. Although no fighters will be Silver Sagers, you can bet that Silver Sage Magazine will be there live at the action!
Videos/photos courtesy of UFC.
Bradley is a sports writer for a local newspaper and has written for other newspapers throughout the east coast. He hosts a radio show and has coached basketball for almost two decades. He's earned master's degrees in Mass Communications/Journalism and Creative Writing and is a fellow Silver Sager.