UFC on Fox- Johnson Subs Reis in 10th Title Defense
*Written on location- The Sprint Center- Kansas City, MO
Jacare Souza vs. Robert Whittaker
Fresh off signing an eight-fight extension with the UFC, clear middleweight (185-pound) title contender Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza stepped into the UFC’s octagon opposite Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker. The first minute passes by with little more than tactical pawing between the two. Then Souza manages to get at least one overhook and clinches with the Aussie against the fence, throwing knees to follow up. One takedown later and he’s on Whittaker’s back.
Whittaker shakes him off. Souza appears to slip while backing away. Souza is then rocked by a right uppercut. He’s managing to survive on the feet with his jabs but front kicks by Whittaker are landing effectively to make it seem as if he’s starting to run away with this one.
Souza feels comfortable enough now entering into Whittaker’s range and is floored within the opening 30 seconds of the middle frame. He also suffers a head kick set up by a stiff right hand as his opponent keeps rushing him.
Whittaker is a shark now and sends home a body kick to Souza’s bread basket. The Brazilian drops once more. “The Reaper” finishes the job with a handful of amnesia-inducing elbows and shocks the world in KC by smudging the middleweight championship picture.
Robert Whittaker def. Jacare Souza via TKO at 3:28 of Round 2
“I think a lot of people let the hype get in their heads given he’s a legend of jiu-jitsu and MMA,” the victor said.”I have great coaches and I train to fight. I know that it’s a fight at the end of the day, it’s not a grappling match, it’s not a jiu-jitsu match; all I have to do is get back up and punch him. I think Bisping owes me a fight. All the best to him, doing his own thing, but here’s the thing he owes me a fight and I just proved that I’m deserving of it. I have to see how my injuries heal up first and see how things go, then who knows?”
Co-Main Event: Michelle Waterson vs. Rose Namajunas
Michelle Waterson, a ten-year veteran of combat sports became an overnight sensation by putting Paige VanZant to sleep back in December. She also became one of only two title challengers in the eyes of UFC strawweight (115-pound) champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. The other contender in mind is “Thug” Rose Namajunas.
After being denied her shot at glory after falling to future title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz by split decision, Namajunas is out to say that she will be denied no longer.
She’s the one to force the pace first but Waterson lands first with a side kick to the abdomen and then the head. A head-and-arm/judo takedown plants Namajunas on the canvas. “Thug” is going after a rear-naked choke now.
There’s still plenty of time left in the round and Waterson wriggles into a better position, looking to match her adversary sub-for-sub, eyeing an armbar. Namajunas lands a pair of right hands, gives up a knee to the stomach, but puts Waterson on her back with a takedown just before the horn sounds.
Waterson seems more tentative to begin the second. Eventually though, the combatants become a tornado of fists and Waterson ends up in the wrong spot coming out of it and gets dropped with a right kick to her mouth.
She already seems unconscious to a few fans but recovers quickly. She stands but gives up her back again and is still in danger of being put to sleep by the rear-naked choke. Waterson is forced to the ground where the fight ends.
Rose Namajunas def. Michelle Waterson via Rear-Naked Choke at 2:47 of Round 2
“When I landed the kick we were breaking off from the clinch and she was leaning away from it. I tried to hit her with a right hand earlier and it missed, so I knew my right hand was going to be right in that range to connect after the kick landed. I just stopped worrying so much, I stopped overanalyzing things and I’m just having fun with life and appreciating my life because it could always be worse. I think this win puts me right up there in title contention. Whoever wins the belt, I’m fighting.”
Main Event: (C) Demetrious Johnson vs. Wilson Reis
The first minute of this title fight goes by without much incident other than a few leg kicks from Johnson and a right-hand shot. Johnson moves in for a level change and finds nothing. Reis catches one of his legs and sends him to the canvas but Johnson pops back up before taking any damage (that would continue throughout the contest.) Johnson is keeping Reis at bay with the kicks and his punches are in close and don’t look overly powerful, but they are adding to his point totals.
Reis swings with reckless abandon before landing a double-leg that, once more, is fruitless. Johnson’s ahead 1-0.
Reis enters the second round as he finished the first—his punches clearly have power behind them but aren’t landing—and he’s also not throwing combos at all.Johnson gets a body lock but soon releases it as he has nothing to do from the spot. A right straight finds its way through the defense of Reis. Reis has another takedown stuffed and the lone straight left he follows up with does little.
Johnson responds with a torso kick-jab-left hook-knee chain of strikes.
The knee looks like it almost ends things as Johnson goes for G ‘n’ P as the round ends.
Johnson is still able to pick apart the tiring Brazilian in the third minus a few leg kicks. He avoids another takedown with ease. When the takedown is stuffed, Reis wants to go to his jiu-jitsu, but Johnson heads to the center of the octagon to force the action back to striking. He’s landing at will on the face of the challenger (as he has through ten minutes.)
“Mighty Mouse” lands a quick body kick, returns to his favored right hand, and then gets his own takedown into side control then north-south position. Reis goes from being on his knees to half guard. Johnson cuts him with an elbow to the dome. The champ gets full mount without issue as seconds remain until the fight is half over.
Reis, a jiu-jitsu fighter, surprisingly leaves an arm up for grabs and Johnson takes it. He sits back, gets the arm to extend, Reis taps out. Johnson has now tied Anderson Silva’s overall UFC title defense record.
(C) Demetrious Johnson def. Wilson Reis via Armbar at 4:49 of Round 3
“I want to give a shout out to Kansas City; this is an amazing crowd. This is probably the best training camp I’ve ever had. This is the best I’ve ever felt. GSP and Anderson Silva were great champions, but I’m the best champion to ever step foot in this Octagon.”
*Renato Moicano def. Jeremy Stevens via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)