Already the best fighter in the world, pound for pound, Demetrious Johnson started making his case as the best ever, as he submitted Wilson Reis in three rounds Sunday at Kansas City’s Sprint Center, tying Anderson Silva’s record for most successful UFC title defenses with his 10th consecutive win in defense of his flyweight crown.
“It was a good, damn night,” Johnson grinned after the bout.
It was better than that, as the UFC’s first and only 125-pound champion continued to dominate a division he has officially ruled since 2012.
“GSP (Georges St-Pierre) and Anderson Silva were great champions, but I’m the best champion to ever step in this Octagon.”
The win over Reis, one of his most impressive in a career full of such efforts, make a strong argument for Johnson’s claim.
The champion was too fast and too slick for Reis in the opening round, as he accurately picked and poked at Reis as the aggressive and busy challenger was left throwing at air thanks to Johnson’s airtight defense. Even Reis’ attempts to put Johnson on the canvas were rebuffed.
The clinic continued in round two, with Reis game, but outgunned against a champion who was looking sharper than ever. Late in the frame, Johnson landed a hard right knee to the body, and as Reis fell to the mat, “Mighty Mouse” unleashed a barrage of hammerfists. The horn intervened, but the bloodied Reis now had quite the task ahead of him if he wanted to get the victory.
Two early takedown attempts by Reis in round three were again turned away, and Johnson made sure to punish his foe after each one, with kicks to the body being particularly effective. With two minutes left, Johnson picked up his first takedown of the fight, and then it was time for him to show off his ground game against the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. And show it off he did, cutting Reis with strikes, then jumping into an armbar that forced Reis to tap out at 4:49 of the third round.
With the win, Parkland, Washington’s Johnson, 30, improves to 26-2-1. Reis falls to 22-7.
NAMAJUNAS vs. WATERSON
In Sunday’s UFC Fight Night co-main event at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Rose Namajunas closed in on a shot at the strawweight title with a spectacular second-round submission of Michelle Waterson.
“I feel like I can go all the way to the belt and hold it for a while,” said Namajunas, who has her sights set on the winner of the UFC 211 bout between 115-pound champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and challenger Jessica Andrade. “Joanna or whoever’s gonna win that fight, I’m coming for you. Be careful.”
Waterson’s striking was sharp from the start, and when Namajunas tried to close distance, it was the Albuquerque native who scored the takedown. The patient Namajunas calmly took Waterson’s back and then landed in her foe’s guard, landing some hard blows in the process. Waterson rose, but was taken down again before round’s end.
A minute into round two, Namajunas landed a right kick to the head that sent Waterson to the canvas. Namajunas shot in for the finish, but Waterson recovered quickly. Namajunas kept firing though, and while Waterson rose to her feet, the Milwaukee native wasn’t done yet, and she caught her opponent in a rear naked choke that produced a tap out at 2:47 of the second frame.
With the win, the No. 4-ranked Namajunas moves to 7-3. The No. 6-ranked Waterson falls to 14-5.
WHITTAKER vs. SOUZA
The seventh consecutive victory for No. 6-ranked middleweight Robert Whittaker was his most important, as he stopped No. 3-ranked Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in the second round, shaking up the 185-pound title picture in the process.
Whittaker had an excellent first round thanks in part to his speed and striking accuracy at range. But the true telling moment of the opening stanza was a sequence midway through the round where he was able to avoid Souza’s attempts to put him on the mat with some slick scrambles.
A huge right hand in the opening 30 seconds of round two dropped Souza hard to the mat, and while the Brazilian recovered quickly, his wish to keep Whittaker on the canvas was not granted. Back standing, Whittaker kept scoring with hard punches and kicks, and with under two minutes left, he slammed a right kick to the head of his foe, wobbling him once more. In the midst of the follow-up barrage, Souza fell to the deck, and after more ground strikes, referee Mario Yamasaki intervened, halting the bout at the 3:28 mark.
With the win, Whittaker ups his record to 19-4; Souza falls to 24-5 with 1 NC.
MOICANO vs. STEPHENS
Brazilian featherweight prospect Renato Moicano may have graduated to contender at 145 pounds, as he defeated No. 5-ranked Jeremy Stephens.
Scores were 29-28 twice and 28-29 for Moicano, now 11-0-1. Stephens falls to 25-14.
Moicano fought a near-perfect fight in the opening round, using movement and leg kicks to keep Stephens at bay, and then capping things off with a late takedown that added to his scoring total.
Stephens got closer in the second, perhaps evening things up on the scorecards as he kept the pressure on while Moicano slowed.
An early takedown by Moicano in the third put him back ahead, but Stephens didn’t stay on the mat long, as he rose and kept stalking the Brazilian. Moicano bloodied the veteran, but Stephens didn’t stop his forward march, and he was landing his share of punishing blows, though not enough to get the decision.
Article Source: au.ufc.com By Thomas Gerbasi