Angela Hill will headline a UFC card for the first time in her career when she takes on Michelle Waterson in the main event of UFC Fight Night 177 this Saturday in Las Vegas.

Angela Hill Michelle Waterson UFC
Angela Hill will become the first African American woman to headline a UFC card when she takes on Michelle Waterson on Saturday. (Image: Jasmin Frank/USA Today Sports)

Hill will also make history on Saturday as the first African American woman to be part of a main event in UFC history.

Hill Shows Improvement in Second UFC Stint

That historic moment came to pass after Glover Teixeira tested positive for COVID-19. The UFC rescheduled his bout with Thiago Santos for Oct. 3, opening up the main event slot.

Hill (12-8) has also worked hard to get into position to take advantage of the opportunity. The former Invicta strawweight champion is now in her second run with the UFC, and won three straight fights before losing a controversial split decision to Claudia Gadelha in May. She’s now ranked No. 13 in the division, and is looking to prove she belongs among the elite in the UFC strawweight division.

“I feel like I’ve faced a lot of scrutiny,” Hill told ESPN. “Just coming in with such little experience, a lot of people like to say that I was there because I was black, I was there because I was filling a quota. When in reality, when I went to the tryouts and Dana White saw me striking, he said, ‘This is the best display of striking I’ve ever seen in all my years of doing [The Ultimate Fighter].’”

Waterson (17-8) has found herself bouncing up and down the UFC’s strawweight ladder. While she’s been able to beat lower-tier competition, she’s consistently found herself outmatched by the biggest names in the division, including Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

Waterson Ready for ‘Hot Mess’ of a Fight

Most recently, Waterson is coming off her own split-decision loss to Carla Esparza back in May, in a fight in which media members were evenly divided. Now ranked No. 8 in the division, Waterson says she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get back on the winning path.

“The ultimate goal is getting my hand raised,” Waterson told MMA Junkie. “I don’t care for it to be technical. I don’t care for it to be pretty. It probably will turn into a mess, but that’s what fights are sometimes, and so I’m looking forward to it being a hot mess.”

While Waterson has the better pedigree of the two, Hill has consistently improved over the past year. That progression has turned her into a slight favorite, with PointsBet listing Hill as a -130 pick over Waterson (+105) in the main event. The biggest question may be how Hill fares in a five-round fight, which could test the stamina of the fast-paced striker.

UFC Fight Night 177 Odds

  • Michelle Waterson (+105) vs. Angela Hill (-130)
  • Ottman Azaitar (-135) vs. Khama Worthy (+108)
  • Roxanne Modafferi (+260) vs. Andrea Lee (-350)
  • Ed Herman (+200) vs. Mike Rodriguez (-260)
  • Billy Quarantillo (-250) vs. Kyle Nelson (+195)

Odds via PointsBet

UFC Fight Night 177 lacks star power, but there are 12 fights scheduled for the card. The co-main event features the undefeated Ottman Azaitar (12-0) taking on Khama Worthy (16-6) in a lightweight bout.

While Azaitar has been impressive so far, Worthy represents a step up in competition – though one who’s shown some vulnerability to the early knockouts that “Bulldozer” has become famous for. Worthy enters the fight as a -135 favorite over Azaitar (+108).