Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to action last night (Sat., April 15, 2017) for UFC on FOX 24: “Johnson vs. Reis,” which took place inside Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri airing live on FOX.
The promotion's latest mixed martial arts (MMA) card was headlined by a Flyweight title fight that saw division champion Demetrious Johnson make history by tying Anderson Silva with 10 straight title defenses after submitting Wilson Reis (see it again here). Also, Rose Namajunas showed once against that she just loves to spoil parties, taking out Michelle Waterson in their Strawweight scrap (highlights), while Robert Whittaker ended Ronaldo Souza’s run toward the title (momentarily) with his impeccable performance.
Biggest winner: Robert Whittaker
Rarely are you on a six-fight win streak and still the attention and betting odds are in favor of your opponent. But, that’s the situation Whittaker found himself in after going toe-to-toe with Ronaldo Souza, the top Middleweight contender who’s been pining at his chance at a championship fight ... and rightfully so. Nevertheless, Robert put and end to “Jacare’s” title hopes for the time being, as the underdog absolutely put on a splendid performance against one of the most dangerous fighters in MMA. There is nothing flashy about Whittaker’s striking, but it is calculated, technical and most of all, effective, as the Aussie absolutely schooled the jiu-jitsu ace on the feet from the jump. In fact, Robert knew he had his number, letting him up after a knockdown, only to put him down for the count moments later with a nice head kick and vicious ground-and-pound to seal the deal (see it). Now, Robert launches himself up the rankings and closer to a title shot that once was more in Souza’s future rather than his own.
Runner (s) Up: Demetrious Johnson and Rose Namajunas
Had it not been for Whittaker’s upset over Souza, Demetrious Johnson would have gotten the top spot. Nevertheless, “Mighty Mouse” is feeling good about himself after tying Anderson Silva’s long-standing record of 10 straight title defenses inside the Octagon after taking out Wilson Reis with a nice armbar. One more win for Johnson, and he will be in a class of his own with 11 consecutive title defenses inside the Octagon, leaving “The Spider” in the rear-view mirror. Show him the money!
Rose Namajunas just likes to play the role of spoiler. Just like she did when defeating Paige VanZant, “Thug Rose” ended Michelle Waterson’s momentum by absolutely schooling her in their bout with very-technical rear-naked choke that was executed shortly after a nice head kick that sent “Karate Hottie” crashing to the floor. And while Waterson showed heart, there was no way she was getting out of the submission. Now, Namajunas will likely get a title shot, and she’ll know who against after UFC 211 on May 13. In the process, maybe she can start getting the proper respect she deserves after halting yet another contender’s rise to the top of the division.
Biggest Loser: Ronaldo Souza
After all the chirping he did toward current Middleweight champion Michael Bisping’s title moves, “Jacare” didn’t quite live up to the billing in his fight against Whittaker, getting schooled on the feet en route to a second round technical knockout loss. To make matters worse, Whittaker made it look easy, barely busting a sweat in victory. And “The Count” made sure to pile it on. Now, Souza will have to start from scratch in a very crowded 185-pound division if he wants to get back into the title picture. It won’t be easy, as the division hasn’t looked as strong in years as it looks currently. On the bright side, he’s got plenty of opportunities to get to the big dance thanks to this.
For complete UFC on FOX 24 results and coverage click here.