UFC on FOX 24 went down in the books on Saturday, April 16th, performing as the highest-earning grossing sporting event to occur at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.
The card saw tons of action ending with a dominate, record-tying performance by the current UFC flyweight champion and number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world Demetrious Johnson. Out-striking his competitor Wilson Reis 108-16, Johnson would submit the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt by armbar in the second round. The win for “Mighty Mouse” ties him with Anderson Silva for the most title defenses ever in the UFC (10), with the loss for Reis being his third in promotional history.
Rose Namajunas picked up a fairly dominate second-round submission over Michelle Waterson in the co-main event. Also making up the main card saw two fairly big upset wins, with Robert Whittaker dominating to knockout Jacare Souza and Renato Moicano to decision the number five-ranked featherweight Jeremy Stephens.
A thrilling “Fight of the Night” earning battle deserves to be mentioned. Tim Elliott out-wrestled and out-grappled Louis Smolka for three exciting rounds to earn a unanimous decision win.
After the amazing night of fights and performances from Kansas City, Missouri, we provide the top five fights to make after UFC on FOX 24.
5. Alexander Volkov vs. Stefan Struve
A smart gameplan implemented by Alexander Volkov lead to his clear-cut unanimous decision victory over UFC veteran Roy Nelson. After dropping two decisions in 2015 with Bellator, Volkov has now put together four straight performances in his favor. He sits at number eleven in the heavyweight division. Although Nelson was not ranked, we could see Volkov crack the Top 10 come Monday morning.
Stefan Struve had a successful 2016, earning two wins over Bigfoot Silva in just 15 seconds and a second-round submission over Daniel Omielanczuk. This fight makes sense for where they fit in their weight class and also for their similarities in overall build. With Struve standing at 7’0” and Volkov at 6’7”, nothing would be better than seeing a Dutch vs. Russian clash between two enormous men.
4. Tom Duquesnoy vs. Erik Perez
Tom Duquesnoy carried a lot of hype coming in to his UFC debut on Saturday night, paired up to face wrestler Patrick Williams. The hype train continued, as he stopped Williams with strikes in round number two. The “Fire Kid” from France, having earned the BAMMA featherweight and bantamweight champion, has won his last eleven straight stopping all but two of his opponents. At only 23 years old, Duquesnoy is hoping to show the world his talent is the real deal.
Talent like this always approach the question: “how fast should we place them into the spotlight?” I think Duquesnoy poses a lot of capability, and we may see him get that push to compete against a seasoned competitor next. If we do see that push I would like it to come against Erik “Goyito” Perez, who currently rides a three-fight win streak including decision victories over Francisco Rivera and Felipe Arantes.
This may be too fast of a climb for Duquesnoy, but let’s see if he could make the most out of an opportunity.
3. Robert Whittaker vs. Gegard Mousasi
Robert Whittaker was one of the biggest underdogs of the night’s event coming in against Jacare Souza, a man people considered to be the greatest in the middleweight division. Besides a momentary back-take from Souza in the first round, Whittaker dominated on the feet landing a head-kick with follow-up punches to earn a TKO in the second round. It was Souza’s second loss in his last 12, having defeated some of the best in the division. Whittaker made the move to 185 pounds in November of 2014 and has looked unstoppable since, earning four knockouts at that weight class including this one earned Saturday night.
The Australian of Whittaker, at only 26 years old, just proved he’s one of the most dangerous middleweights in the world. Now last week, I recommended Gegard Mousasi to compete against someone else in the division. But now, seeing Whittaker earn that knockout over Souza, I have grown interest in seeing these two compete. Having a pair-up between Whittaker and Mousasi, while doing a possible battle between Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero, makes quite a lot of sense for where we stand in this weight class.
2. Rose Namajunas vs. winner of Joanna Jedrzejczyk/Jessica Andrade
This pairing between Rose Namajunas and Michelle Waterson was very important for their division. For Namajunas, everything played out in her favor, landing a brutal head-kick in the second round before minutes later earning a rear-naked choke over the stunned Waterson. Namajunas is now 4-1 dating back to October of 2015, this win being her third of those four by submission.
I am aware that Namajunas lost a decision to Karolina Kowalkiewicz last year; however, I enjoy seeing diversity in regards to those receiving title shots. Namajunas had her chance in the inaugural crowning of the women’s strawweight title against Carla Esparza, but she has improved much since that outing in December of 2014. Also, there’s a new name dominating the 115 pound division.
I, personally, would love to see the match-up between Namajunas and the winner of Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Jessica Andrade, which will be decided on May 13th at UFC 211.
1. Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg
What a masterful and dominate performance from Demetrious Johnson. His gameplan, technique, speed, accuracy, timing, footwork, and dynamic capabilities lead him to a third-round armbar over Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Wilson Reis. Johnson’s victory tied the record for the most consecutive title defenses, seeing a total of ten. The victory was his third submission and sixth finish in his last ten octagon appearances, having won his last 12 fights in a row dating back to 2012.
It’s hard to deny Johnson as one of the greatest mixed martial artists to ever compete in the sport, if not THE greatest. He has practically cleared out the entire division, with very few names remaining in the Top 10 he has yet to face (and defeat). Ray Borg is one of the only few near the top who has yet to get his chance at a flyweight title shot, coming off two very impressive decision victories over Louis Smolka and Jussier Formiga. With Joe Benavidez having already had two chances, and a bantamweight championship fight already planned at 135 pounds, let’s see if 23-year-old Borg can be the man to stop Johnson from beating the UFC title defense record.
Other fights to make after UFC on Fox 24:
Renato Moicano vs. Brian Ortega
Rashid Magomedov vs. Joe Duffy
Tim Elliott vs. Jussier Formiga
Aljamain Sterling vs. Thomas Almeida
Devin Clark vs. Khalil Rountree
Anthony Smith vs. Nate Marquardt
Zak Cummings vs. Sergio Moraes
Ketlen Vieira vs. Lina Lansberg
Wilson Reis vs. Matheus Nicolau
Michelle Waterson vs. Randa Markos
Jacare Souza vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Jeremy Stephens vs. Gray Maynard
Roy Nelson vs. Frank Mir
Patrick Williams vs. Guido Cannetti
Bobby Green vs. Chad Laprise
Louis Smolka vs. Ian McCall
Augusto Mendes vs. Alejandro Perez
Jake Collier vs. Jeremy Kimball
Andrew Sanchez vs. Marcelo Guimaraes
Nathan Coy vs. Sheldon Westcott
Ashlee Evans-Smith vs. Lucie Pudilova