Another UFC card is in the books and this one will go down in history as Demetrious Johnson tied Anderson Silva’s record of ten successful title defences. This was a very fun night of fights that included everything from big upsets to the rise of new contenders. Let’s dig deep, as we always do, here on MMAINDIA!
Is Demetrious Johnson the Greatest of All Time?
We are witnessing history, folks. There is just no other way of saying it. Demetrious Johnson successfully defended his Flyweight Championship of the world for the 10th time early this morning and became only the second man in history to do so. And he made it look easy. He submitted the former BJJ World Champion, proving that he’s the best anywhere inside the Octagon, as if being the number one pound for pound fighter in the world was not enough.
The fight itself was not competitive. At all. ‘Mighty Mouse’ came out moving like a bolt of lightning: striking and moving. He absolutely dominated Reis on the feet, coming in with strikes and moving out even before Reis could begin to throw counters. Johnson dropped Reis with a knee to the body late in the second round and finished the round with some ground and pound. Exhausted from punching the air repeatedly, Reis was taken down by ‘Mighty Mouse’ in the third round and after that, Johnson essentially out-grappled the former World Champion grappler. He ultimately mounted Reis, and took his arm after some ground and pound and submitted him via armbar at 4:49 of the third round.
At this point, there is no denying that Demetrious Johnson is the best fighter in the world. But is he the greatest ever? This question is being asked for quite some time now, with the answer almost invariably being ‘He’s not there, yet’. But with this masterful performance, a strong case could be made that he is. He makes his opponents look like amateurs and that is exactly what Wilson Reis looked like. From destroying Henry Cejudo in the clinch to submitting Reis, Johnson has made a habit of dominating their opponents at their own game. With this win this morning, Johnson has moved from being the best fighter in the world to being arguably the best to ever do it and he’s here to stay.
Rise of new contenders
Rose Namajunas defeated Michelle Waterson in spectacular fashion and made her claim as the next challenger for the women’s strawweight belt, once Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Jessica Andrade settle their business. ‘Thug Rose’ lived up to her nickname and bullied the fan favourite Michelle Waterson in what was the best fight on the main card.
Rose came into the fight after an eight and half month break post her loss to Karolina Kowalkiewicz but she never looked like she skipped a beat. She got some early success on the feet. Waterson, who was coming off a spectacular submission victory over Paige VanZant and was favoured to win this fight, got some success with sidekicks to the legs. These kicks appeared to be giving some problems to Rose. Waterson took Namajunas down, but Rose showed her grappling prowess by immediately taking Waterson’s back. ‘The Karate Hottie’ was unable to mount any offence in the second round and Rose caught her with a head kick that sent her crashing to the mat. A tough Waterson was able to survive the ground and pound that followed and made it up to her feet, but ‘Thug Rose’ immediately took her back and eventually tapped her with a picture-perfect rear-naked choke at 2:47 of round number 2.
Rose Namajunas returned to the win column in emphatic manner and could be next in line for a title shot. She has since made it clear that she intends to win the title sometime in 2017.
Robert Whittaker TKO’d Ronaldo Souza in what was one of the biggest upsets of the year. This was an almost flawless performance for the Aussie and he has now won seven in a row and made it to the top five, possibly top three of the Middleweight rankings.
When ‘Jacare’ took this fight, it was again met with some skepticism just like last time when he faced Tim Boetsch. This fight wasn’t going to do much for ‘Jacare’ – who was on the brink of a title shot – and could prove catastrophic should he lose. He lost and it wasn’t close.
Robert Whittaker came in the fight looking very crisp on the feet, and he hurt Souza a couple of times in the first round. ‘Jacare’ ultimately took him to the ground and took his back, which Whittaker shook off, shocking many and earning a mental edge. It was all downhill from there on for Souza. Whittaker dropped Souza in the second round with a vicious right hand. He showed championship mettle when he stayed calm in wake of this knockdown and picked his shots maintaining distance. He eventually caught ‘Jacare’ with a head kick and finished him with ground and pound.
This was a coming out party for Robert Whittaker, who broke into the upper echelons of the Middleweight division with a flawless performance. He demanded a fight with Michael Bisping during the post-fight interview – a fight he probably won’t get. Look out for a possible match-up with Luke Rockhold.
Renato Moicano defeated Jeremy Stephens to open the main card. This was a fun fight that saw the unranked Moicano implement the perfect game plan to counter a dangerous striker in Jeremy Stephens.
Moicano came in respecting the knockout power of Stephens and used his long arms and exceptional use of inside leg kicks to maintain range. Jeremy Stephens spent almost the entire fight trying to chase Moicano around the cage, who was too elusive to be hit. Moicano used his jab repeatedly throughout the fight and hit Stephens with some good strikes. He also took Stephens down twice and controlled him on the ground.
Stephens never got successful with anything the entire fight and looked really tentative. He was constantly loading up on his right hand trying to get the knockout without any feints or setups. He ultimately lost his second straight fight.
The undefeated Brazilian will almost certainly move into the top 10 with this win over Stephens, who was ranked five. His striking looked crisp and his wrestling was on point too. He could end up being a future contender in the Featherweight division.
Also on the card:
Alexander Volkov defeated Roy Nelson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Tom Duquesnoy defeated Patrick Williams via TKO (elbows) at :28 of R2
Rashid Magomedov defeated Bobby Green via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Tim Elliott defeated Louis Smolka via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Devin Clark defeated Jake Collier via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Anthony Smith defeated Andrew Sanchez via KO (strikes) at 3:52 of R3
Aljamain Sterling defeated Augusto Mendes via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Zak Cummings defeated Nathan Coy via submission (guillotine) at 4:21 of R1
Ketlen Vieira defeated Ashlee Evans-Smith via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)