KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The “Karate Hottie” keeps shaking off the rust and finding a way.
Following a back-and-forth 15 minutes of action in just her second fight since April 2010, Michelle Waterson (10-3) earned a split-decision win over a very game Lacey Schuckman (7-6) in atomweight action.
The bout was part of the main card of Invicta FC 3, which took place Saturday at Kansas City, Kan.’s Memorial Hall. The event streamed live on InvictaFC.com.
“I’m happy with what I did as far as my mental state throughout the fight,” Waterson told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) after the fight.
The physical part, well, it continues to need refinement.
“Now we can start piecing things together,” Waterson said. “At first it was my karate. And then I had to work on my jiu-jitsu. And now I have to work on my wrestling, obviously. There are always things to work on.”
Early in the first round, Waterson dropped Schuckman to her knees with a front kick. However, Schuckman withstood the blow and shot for a takedown up against the fence. Waterson countered with a guillotine choke, but Schuckman took her back in a scramble and nearly secured a rear-naked-choke finish.
“At that point I decided, you know what, let’s have fun,” Waterson said. “Don’t worry about winning or losing. Just have [expletive] fun. I got out of it and pulled myself together. From then on I was going to have fun.”
Her head coach, Greg Jackson of Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA, and former Strikeforce bantamweight champion Sarah Kaufman were in her corner trying to figure out a way to change the complexion of the fight in between rounds.
“The most important thing was she didn’t want to stand with me, so to just remember to not let her get me on the cage,” Waterson said. “And so that’s what I did.
“Coach Jackson said [the rear-naked choke] could have discouraged me, or I could have pulled my head out of my ass and got going. And I did. It ended up working for me.”
Waterson rebounded in the second stanza and took Schuckman’s back. She regained half guard, but Waterson landed ground and pound and did enough damage to win the round.
The fight was up for grabs heading into the third and final frame. After both women traded shots on the feet, Schuckman pushed Waterson up against the cage and got her to the ground. However, Waterson immediately swept into mount and attempted an armbar before losing the position. Both stood, and Waterson scored on a series of kicks to cap off the contentious battle.
“I thought it was a close fight,” she said. “I was landing a little bit more of the better shots than she was.”
The judges agreed and her awarded the decision via 29-28, 29-28 and 28-29 scores.
After not competing in 2011, Waterson returned to defeat…
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