The UFC sang like Fats Domino “I’m going to Kansas City”. After the incredible crowd and the highest grossing sport event that the SPRINT CENTER ever held; they’re guaranteeing a return to Missouri sooner rather than later. UFC ON FOX 24, was for all intense and purposes a big time success. LUIS SMOLKA & TIM ELLIOTT won fight of the night, and DEMETRIOUS “MIGHTY MOUSE” JOHNSON and ROBERT WHITTAKER won performances of the night. Arguably; any number of fighters could have walked away with that prize as well. For the first time in 2017 the company had a flawless card. They also had one of the most lively crowds ever, as RIC FLAIR-esque “WOOOOO’s” could be heard all night long.
It started in the early prelims with KETLEN “FENOMENO” VIEIRA; who was 7-0 and had won her UFC debut at Fight Night 96; saying she wants to go down as the female JOSE ALDO. She was taking on the #13th ranked bantamweight in ASHLEE EVANS-SMITH; who was on a 2 fight win streak. Despite Ashlee landing some decent shots, there was more on the return fire. With Ketlen winning via split decision it makes her 2-0 in the UFC and both wins coming via split. ZAK CUMMINGS got a huge pop being from KC, and the 20-5 fighter with 10 submission wins picked up one more of each; beating NATHAN “SOUL FORCE” COY by guillotine tap out 4:21 into round 1. ANTHONY “LION HEART” SMITH improved to 27-12 with now 13 KO/TKO after dropping ANDREW “EL DIRTE” SANCHEZ with a right knee to the face and massive ground and pound. DEVIN “BROWN BEAR” CLARK edged out Missouri resident JAKE “THE PROTOTYPE” COLLIER via unanimous decision. 8th ranked Bantamweight, ALJAMAIN STERLING ended his 2 fight losing streak with a unanimous decision victory of his own over the dangerous bjj artist AUGUSTO “TANQUINHO” MENDES.
Witchita native #9 ranked flyweight, TIM ELLIOTT received an incredible ovation as well. He was coming off his loss to Mighty Mouse at the TUF 24 finale and meeting an elusive dangerous fighter in 12th ranked LUIS “THE LAST SAMURAI” SMOLKA. Tim was able to take Luis down consistently and at will throughout the bout. Eventually a cut opened up above Smolka’s right eye from the elbows and hammer fists it was being hit with. Tim’s unanimous decision win sent Luis to a 3 fight losing streak. A very important lightweight fight between BOBBY “KING” GREEN and RASHID “GORETZ” MAGOMEDOV followed. Bobby pushed the action and pace up against the cage where he was kneeing the Russian’s right leg. Rashid’s great takedown defense kept him upright, but the assault on that right leg continued throughout. The King threw a stinging left to the body and to the head; which opened up a small cut. Referee MARIO YAMASAKI thought the cut was caused by an eye poked and warned Bobby. Rashid stung the Russian with a Superman punch, and some solid combos but it was a case of too little too late. At least according to 2 of the judges who gave the split decision victory to Goretz. Which was his 11th decision win. Highly touted prospect TOM “FIRE KID” DUQUESNOY was offered a UFC contract 3 years ago and turned it down to get more seasoned; was finally making his debut. The 14-1 1 NC, 5 fight win streak fighter was in the cage against one of the most seasoned wrestlers in PATRICK “THE ANIMAL” WILLIAMS. Pat missed with some wild shoots at first. Eventually the bigger man pushed the action along the cage where Tom ate some shots. He walked into a stinging right jab that opened a small cut above his left eye. Tom managed to eventually throw some awesome knees and elbows which chopped Williams down and dropped him at the 1st horn. He was still on wobbly legs when the 2nd started and was hit by a left hand followed with a right elbow when referee KEITH PETERSON stopped the fight 28 seconds into round 2. Fan favorite, TUF season 10 winner “BIG COUNTRY” ROY NELSON was fighting 11th ranked heavyweight ALEXANDER “DRAGO” VOLKOV. Alexander, who is 12 years younger, and had a 7 inch reach advantage against Roy showed great takedown defense against the big bellied favorite after being taken down in the 1st. Once DAN MIRAGLIOTTA stood them up, Drago connected with combos and knees. Roy did fire back but he was breathing deeply and starting to gas out against the bigger fighter. After 3 rounds it went to the scorecards for the unanimous decision.
The main card opened with the only fight that saw some serious “heat” during the ceremonial weigh ins. “LIL HEATHEN” JEREMY STEPHENS, coming off his UFC 205 loss to FRANKIE EDGAR; was taking on another top prospect, RENATO MOICANO on a 5 fight win streak, 10-0-1 and 2-0 in the UFC. Jeremy was in stalk mode throughout the fight but took awhile to get the much quicker fighter down. Especially since Renato was landing vicious lower leg kicks. Eventually that paid off where the slugger was slowed enough for Moicano to bloody Jeremy’s nose. Renato took a split decision win, and should now crack the top 14-17 rankings. In one of the most important and anticipated fights between middleweights; newly re-signed #3 ranked RONALDO “JACARE” SOUZA stepped in against #6 ROBERT “THE REAPER” WHITTAKER. Reaper was on a 6 fight win streak while Jacare was on a 2. Souza also has 17 career wins via submission and on the mat is one of the most dangerous men in all of MMA. Jacare was stalking and controlling the center of the cage at first and landed over hand rights, but Robert answered with quick left hooks. A right dropped Souza but Whittaker refused to go to the mat after him. But Robert was like a boulder going down hill gaining momentum and was feeling it. A left upper cut and a right leg head kick that landed flush wobbled him again. Both eyes at this point have turtles under them. Another combo puts Souza down and this time Robert goes for the finish with massive ground and pound that busts Jacare open. When referee MARIO YAMASAKI jumped in to stop the fight Jacare was out on his feet and wanted to continue. But that would not happen on this night; giving the TKO win 3:28 into round 2 to Robert, who now has to be that much closer to title consideration. It also puts a massive speed bump in Souza’s title hopes.
Another hugely important bout was between #4 ranked strawweight “THUG” ROSE NAMAJUNAS and 6th ranked “THE KARATE HOTTIE” MICHELLE WATERSON. Low leg kicks a jackson-wink training staple land solid for Michelle and gets a quick take down with a side headlock. After a scramble Rose gains top control and lands fists and elbows. Up against the fence Rose is able to land knees which welts Waterson’s right eye. A right followed by a high ahrd head kick drops Michelle and Thug pounces on her opening her nose with ground and pound and putting a mouse over her left eye. Rose gains her back when The Hottie turns and Thug cinches in a tight rear naked choke. At 2:47 of round 2 Michelle finally taps out. The 2 friends embrace, and Rose lets the world know that she is coming after JOANNA JEDRZEJCZYK or JESSICA ANDRADE whichever has the belt by the end of the year.
The stage was set for history either way next. DEMETRIOUS “MIGHTY MOUSE” JOHNSON would either tie ANDERSON SILVA‘S title defense record of 10, and all but officially become truly the #1 pound for pound fighter in MMA; or #3 ranked flyweight WILSON REIS would be the first man to stop him since DOMINICK CRUZ at UFC Live 6 in 2011. Reis; a bjj black belt has never been submitted, and was a serious threat for the flyweight title. Inside legs kicks were landing early and often for the much faster Mouse, and he was stuffing Reis’s shoot attempts. Wilson would just miss with a shot and Johnson countered well and moved from side to side well. Demetrious started landing some body kicks as well that stunned Wilson. While Reis’s right eye was swelling, solid lefts from the champ opened the challengers nose. Johnson is able to drop Wilson and nails him with hammer fists then transitions into an arm bar. Then for the very 1st time in his career Wilson tapped out at 4:49 of round 3. Thus tying Spider’s 10 title defense record. At the post fight presser and in the cage he was asked who he’d like to face for the record breaker, but gave no specific names.
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