A week after UFC 210, which was contoversial and entertaining at the same time, the UFC is back on big Fox in Kansas City. This will actually be the UFC’s first event held in Missouri, which is kind of crazy given how many successful events Invicta FC has held in the state. Anyways, headlining the card is the #1 pound for pound fighter and UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson, who will be taking on worthy challenger Wilson Reis. Johnson, is one victory away from tying Anderson Silva’s consecutive title defense record of 10. A record that would just cement his legacy as one of the very best mixed martial artist to ever grace the octagon. Reis, winner of three straight, has a chance to spoil those plans. A chance at stardom is an upset away for Reis, which would highlight a career that’s a decade old.
Co-Headlining the card, is an all-important Women’s Strawweight contest, as “Thug” Rose Namajunas looks to bounce back against “The Karate Hottie” Michelle Waterson. Namajunas, is coming off a defeat to Karolina Kowalkiewicz. The loss ended a three-fight win streak, as well as the opportunity to fight Strawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. As for Waterson, it’s been a long road, but she’s 2-0 inside the octagon. The issue stems from injuries, which has limited Waterson to a fight a year. In her last, she defeated Paige Van Zant via submission in round one. A win here for both women put their name in the hat to fight for the belt.
Anyways, let’s just get to the predictions!
UFC on FOX 24 Main Card (8 p.m. ET):
125 lbs.: UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson vs. Wilson Reis – I said earlier that Reis is a worthy challenger and he is. He’s earned a title shot in a division that has been thoroughly cleaned out and is a fresh face on a nice three fight win streak. However, Demetrious Johnson is one of the very best, if not the best mixed martial artist on the planet. He’s super well rounded, cerebral and cardio for days. I just don’t see the point in breaking this one further down, as Reis has only a puncher’s chance to win this. Which is possible, but in my mind impossible at the same time. Anyways, enough of this crappy breakdown. I got Johnson via domination, eventually finishing a tired Reis late.
115 lbs.: Rose Namajunas vs. Michelle Waterson – This is a big time fight in the Women’s Strawweight division. The winner of this instantly is catapulted into a potential title fight or title eliminator. The shallowness and slow development of the division gives these girls an easier route to gold. Anyways, Namajunas comes into this bout on the heels of a close defeat to Karolina Kowalkiewicz. If Namajunas had won, she would of fought for UFC gold. However, she lost, but is still in a good position at #4 in the UFC Rankings. As for Waterson, minus injuries, she’s had a successful UFC campaign thus far. Her last outing was short and sweet, as she quickly submitted Paige VanZant in a Main event fight!
As for a prediction, I got Waterson. At first I had Namajunas, but I believe that Waterson’s striking is more crisp and technical. Namajunas is a solid striker in her own right, but she tends to get outpointed on the feet against better strikers. The ground games of both women are excellent, which only makes this fight that much harder to predict. I’m really torn here, but my gut says Waterson outpoints Namajunas barely. So with that, I got Waterson via split decision.
185 lbs.: Ronaldo Souza vs. Robert Whittaker – Awesome fight in the Middleweight division, but in a very clustered division, it’s hard to see what’s next for the winner. Arguably a title shot, but then again, Yoel Romero earned that and he’s stuck waiting after the UFC booked Champion Michael Bisping against the returning George St. Pierre. Anyways, Souza has rattled off two straights win and is 7-1 in the UFC. His lone loss was against Yoel Romero, a decision in which could of gone to “Jacare”. A win over Whittaker has to mean something title worthy no? As for Whittaker, the young Aussie has hit the Middleweight division by storm. Since moving up from Welterweight, Whittaker has rattled off five straight victories. His last, came in the very first round, as he knocked out a very dangerous Derek Brunson.
As for a prediction, I got “Jacare”. I believe that his grappling abilities will just be too much for Whittaker, no matter how much he prepares. There are only a handful of people who could thwart Souza’s grappling. Once it hits the mat, it’s game over, as Souza’s 17 submission victories speak for themselves. Whittaker is a great talent though and if he can keep this one upright, then it’s going to be a very exciting fight. I just don’t think he will, as I have Souza via submission.
145 lbs.: Renato Moicano vs. Jeremy Stephens – Never heard of this Moicano cat, but he has to be somewhat good to make his second UFC appearance against Jeremy Stephens. But, the jump up is not going to go well, in fact I have Stephens via knockout.
UFC on FOX 24 Prelims (6 p.m. ET):
265 lbs.: Roy Nelson vs. Alexander Volkov – Man this card is fireworks and we aren’t even up to the main card! Roy “Big Country” Nelson returns to the octagon for the first time in 2017, attempting to follow up his knockout victory over Antonio Silva. As for Volkov, this will be his second fight for the UFC. In his first, he defeated a very tough Timothy Johnson via split decision. The former Bellator Heavyweight Champion is a great addition to a very shallow division.
As far as a prediction, I got Roy Nelson. Between his one punch knockout power and underutilized grappling abilities, I believe he has the advantages to win this fight. Volkov is just so massive, ughh… I’m not changing my pick however, so I got Nelson via deicison.
135 lbs.: Tom Duquesnoy vs. Patrick Williams – I am very excited for Tom Duquesnoy! And I believe this is a great job in terms of matchmaking against a guy like Patrick Williams. He’s somewhat of a vet, but more so, he’s a legit wrestler. He’s going to test Duquesnoy’s takedown defense, which is something I’m interested to see. However, Williams has about two rounds of cardio in him, so no matter what, Duquesnoy should finish him. It’s smart matchmaking and I have Duquesnoy ending this one at the end of the first round via KO.
155 lbs.: Bobby Green vs. Rashid Magomedov – Another solid fight! I’ll be shorter with this breakdown however, as I’m going to side Rashid Magomedov here. I believe that combined with layoff and Green’s willingness to throw out his wrestling game, he limits himself from making this a more advantageous fight. Magomedov is a technical striker who’s terrific with range and he mixes in takedowns once in awhile too. He’s more of a point fighter, but if he develops some added power, then watch out. I really like Green, but his cocky style hurts him from focusing on the task at hand. Magomedov is no easy task, so I got him via decision.
125 lbs.: Tim Elliott vs. Louis Smolka – This is going to be so awesome! Elliot and Smolka are going to have back and forth grappling exchanges, with a pace like no other. In case you’ve never seen either, do yourself a favor and get UFC Fight Pass to watch their previous fights. Elliott, is coming off a title fight against Demetrious Johnson. He earned the shot by winning TUF 24 and he showed why he deserved to be in that fight. Earning several advantages positions and with a deep submission attempt, Elliott gave Johnson all he could handle. However, Johnson’d cardio and pace took over in the later stages en route to a hard fought decision victory. As for Smolka, after four straight victories, he’s fallen in a rut with two straight losses. The last coming against potential number one contender Ray Borg. Despite the skid, Smolka is one of the best flyweights.
As for a prediction, I’ve got Elliott. He’s an elite flyweight and super big for the weight class. I personally think he’s a revamped fighter from his first UFC stint, which I will mention he got screwed with those matchups. Anyways, I got Elliott via decision.
UFC on FOX 24 Prelims on Fight Pass (4 p.m. ET):
205 lbs.: Devin Clark vs. Jake Collier – I believe Clark is a talent from Dana White’s Looking for a Fight show and he looks promising. Despite dropping his UFC debut, Clark rebounded with a dominant victory over Josh Stansbury. The fight tooks place at Light Heavyweight, where Clark remains undefeated at. As for Collier, he’s coming off an exciting knockout victory over Alberto Uda. In his four fights in the UFC, he’s been a joy to watch. He’s entertainment first, but in terms of lasting as a fighter and in the UFC, it might be best to dial it down. Anyways, I got Clark here. He’s a far better grappler and should neutralize Collier’s striking abilities en route to a decision victory.
185 lbs.: Andrew Sanchez vs. Anthony Smith – I’ve been very impressed with both men of late. For one, Sanchez has very solid grappling abilities and is an improvement of his striking away from being someone to watch out for. As for Smith, he’s been around for what seems like ever, but he’s remarkable only 28 years old. It’s probably the fact that this will be 39th professional fight and he’s fought for Strikeforce, Bellator, CFFC, RFA and now the UFC.
As for a prediction, I got Smith. Although Sanchez is probably the favorite and his route to victory in the grappling department could be easy, I’m going with the experience and more polished striking of Smith. I think that if Smith could avoid being on his back for two rounds and make Sanchez work, he could find it easier to keep it upright and land something late. So with that, I have Smith via KO!
135 lbs.: Augusto Mendes vs. Aljamain Sterling – This should be a very entertaining fight! Mendes is coming off his first UFC victory, which happened to be over a solid veteran in Frankie Saenz. It’s really impressive when considering Saenz thoroughly defeated Iuri Alcantara and gave Urijah Faber a hell of a scrap. The first fight Mendes had in the UFC was a short notice bout against Cody Garbrandt, the current UFC Bantamweight Champion. As for Sterling, it’s been a rough road of late. Formerly undefeated, Sterling has dropped two straight fights, both via split decision. If the judges had gone the other way, Sterling would be fighting for a title. However, he’s not and he has another tough task in Mendes.
As for a prediction, I have Sterling. Although I like Mendes and his skills, I think we are going to get a more aggressive Sterling here. Add that in with his volume striking and we might have a late stoppage victory. I’m a play it safe though and say Sterling wins via decision.
170 lbs.: Nathan Coy vs. Zak Cummings – There is no doubt in my mind that Cummings wins this and early. Coy, who’s every bit of 38 years old, is only a wrestler. Cummings happens to be be excellent grappler and has some serviceable striking. That said serviceable striking turns into elite striking when in comparision with Nathan Coy. So with that, I have Cummings dropping Coy and then submitting him.
135 lbs.: Ashlee Evans-Smith vs. Ketlen Vieira – Outside of wrestling, I’m not sure what Ashlee Evans-Smith has… However, I don’t know much about Viera, so I’ll go with Evans-Smith via decision.