Michelle Waterson Submits Diana Rael In Jackson's HeadlinerDespite a lengthy layoff, Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson made an impressive return to the cage tonight in the main event of Jackson’s MMA Series 7 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Waterson submitted Colorado-based prospect Diana “Dynamite” Rael with a rear-naked choke in round one.

Earlier in the night, Waterson’s Jackson’s MMA teammate Jodie Esquibel picked up a one-sided Unanimous Decision victory over Amy Riehle in another featured women’s bout. Esquibel’s crisp boxing was too much for her Arizona foe and she walked away with her second career victory.


Waterson (9-3-0) took the fight to Rael (3-2-0) right away with punches, but after a brief clinch it was Rael who scored with a nice combination in close. She countered a front kick from Waterson by taking her down and began to land with short punches and elbows from half-guard. Rael was not content with the position, however, and eyed a move to full mount. Waterson capitalised and scrambled out from the bottom to take Rael’s back. Within seconds, she had locked on a tight rear-naked choke and Rael was forced to submit.

The ultra-fast transition to the submission earned Waterson what was arguably her biggest victory to date and first in close to two years. Waterson took a lengthy hiatus from fighting after the birth of her daughter, but showed no ill effects from the time away tonight. She has now won three straight fights, and all of them in impressive fashion.

Winner: Michelle Waterson by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 2:12 of round one. She improves to 9-3-0.


In what was primarily a kickboxing match, Esquibel (2-0-0) handily outstruck Riehle (0-2-0) through three rounds of action to take a commanding decision on the judges’ scorecards. All three rounds of the one-sided matchup were similar, with Riehle staying on the outside and trying to keep Esquibel at bay while Esquibel put together quick combinations of punches.

Esquibel repeatedly found a home for her lead left hook, which she used to send Riehle off-balance on multiple occasions. Riehle gamely tried to fight back, but Esquibel was a step ahead at every turn and picked the Arizona fighter apart with her stellar boxing skills. After three rounds of striking dominance from Esquibel, the outcome was clear and Esquibel moved to 2-0 as a pro.

Winner: Jodie Esquibel by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) after three rounds. She improves to 2-0-0.


In amateur action on the preliminary card, Jackson’s MMA representative Emily Peters-Kagan eked out a Split Decision victory over Cortney Casey in a close and competitive bout. Scores were 29-28 across the board, with two judges giving the nod to Peters-Kagan on the strength of her takedowns and top control. Casey threatened with a rear-naked choke and powerful punches late in the final round, but it was not quite enough to steal back the fight.

Full play-by-play for all fights on tonight’s Jackson’s MMA Series 7 card is available here.