Tim B. takes a look at a violent and entertaining UFC on Fox card from Kansas City.
It goes without saying, but Demetrious Johnson is an incredibly good fighter. The best in the world. It’s amazing to watch him just break down his opponents, and that’s exactly what he did to Wilson Reis in the main event of UFC on Fox 24 in Kansas City. After a fairly uneventful first round, Johnson really started to piece him up in the second, and finished the round with some strong ground and pound.
In the third, he got a takedown, busted Reis’s face up even more, easily moved to mount, landed even more punches, then effortlessly spun and armbarred a black belt that had never been submitted in MMA. He was utterly dominant. He almost always is. He’s just a pleasure to watch, and he’s completely cleaned out his division. Is Cody Garbrandt next?
- Why did Dan Mirgliotta referee the main event? It looked kind of amusing to see a massive referee stand between guys from the smallest men’s division during the face-off.
- The bout between Rose Namajunas and Michelle Waterson was sure something. After a first round that Namajunas mostly controlled, the second was just crazy. She pushed Waterson off and landed an absolutely picture-perfect right head kick. You have to see it if you haven’t already – it was a work of art. Somehow, Waterson wasn’t knocked out by that. It’s a testament to her chin and heart that she didn’t hit the mat in an unconscious state, and even survived Thug Rose’s initial ground assault. But when she got up, Namajunas jumped her back and sunk a deeeeeep choke. Waterson valiantly tried to peel her arms off, but with blood pouring out of her nose in a scene reminiscent of Demian Maia and Rick Story, she was finally forced to tap.
- Those kinds of visuals may be off-putting for some. I understand that, and I don’t have a problem with it. But that savage, bloody finishing scene is something I’m going to remember for a long time. This sport isn’t pretty – it’s unforgiving, sadistic, and even cruel at times. But it’s brutally real, and that’s one of the things that I’m most drawn to about it. Seeing Waterson with blood leaking from her face as she is being constricted by another person, looking as if she’s about to drown before she is forced to quit in the biggest fight of her life – that’s as real as it gets.
- I watched the ladies fight still in shock from the last one – Ronaldo Souza getting destroyed by Robert Whittaker. First, Whittaker surprised the hell out of me by escaping Jacare’s back control. Then when he dropped him, I thought it was a one-off. It most certainly was not. He absolutely lit Souza up with beautiful, sneaky left hooks and two thunderous head kicks. Jacare was left as a sulking, bloody mess in a situation I never thought I would see.
- The stoppage was a bit weird, as Jacare had finally rolled over and tried to get away before Mario Yamasaki decided to step in. To be honest, the reffing was absolutely atrocious tonight. I don’t understand why Yamasaki has never been disciplined for his lightning-quick standups and cage breaks – he never even gives fighters the chance to set anything up. And Keith Peterson was just as bad tonight. Coupled with the horrible late stoppage earlier in the card (you’ll read about that later), it was just a frustrating day of watching fights when it came to the officials.
- I thought the scorecards were a bit generous to Jeremy Stephens. In my eyes, he clearly lost the first and third, and even the second was close. So a split decision was charitable. Regardless, Renato Moicano’s striking and surprising takedowns made him look excellent when he planted his feet and fought. The constant circling (some would say running) is definitely not a good look, and fans will crap all over it. But he definitely won the fight.
- Roy Nelson just doesn’t really bring much to the table anymore. Other than a takedown where he landed no punches and just tried to advance position (the same as the Derrick Lewis fight), Nelson just threw a few leg kicks and single shots on the feet. He’s extremely predictable now, and while he still has lights-out power, it seems that everyone has him scouted well enough to avoid it now. Volkov won the fight rather easily.
- Tom Duquesnoy didn’t really look like a crazy vaunted prospect in the first round against Patrick Williams, who was relentless with his wrestling. But he gassed badly near the end of the first round, and Duquesnoy almost finished him there. It was a death march into the center of the octagon to start round two for Williams, and he was getting elbowed to oblivion in just 28 seconds.
- Bobby Green vs. Rashid Magomedov happened. It was rather dull. Magomedov won. Next.
- I cannot say enough good things about the fight between Tim Elliott and Louis Smolka. It was a lot of the things I love about MMA, and one of the things I hate about doing play-by-play. I kid about the PBP, but with action that fast, it’s nearly impossible to keep up. They were all over the cage – so many takedowns, so many reversals, so many submission attempts. It was incredible. Elliott clearly won all three rounds so the result wasn’t in question, but it’s not very often that a fight pastes a smile to my face for the entirety of the action. This fight did, and I’m very glad I got to see it. It was my favorite fight since Swanson/Choi, and the clear # 2 fight of the year for me so far.
- Augusto Mendes just couldn’t keep up with Aljamain Sterling. By the third round, he was pretty gassed out and Sterling wasn’t even breathing heavily. Sterling is a great fighter, but he always seems to underwhelm me in his fights. Like he’s capable of so much more, but doesn’t pull the trigger. Regardless, he’s back on track.
- Could Tanquinho actually get a fighter more in line with his experience level now? Cody Garbrandt, Frankie Saenz, and Aljamain Sterling as your first three fights in the UFC? Man, that’s tough.
- Devin Clark is a strong guy. His relentless pressure on Jake Collier was the huge difference in their fight, and his wrestling is excellent for a guy that looks a little undersized for the division. Good win for him, though there shouldn’t have been a 30-26 card if we’re using the old rules.
- What a comeback from Anthony Smith. After dropping the first two rounds, he came across the cage with a Nate Marquardt-esque video combination and finished the TUF winner with some savage shots on the ground. That was definitely pretty cool.
- Absolutely horrible reffing in the Zak Cummings – Nathan Coy bout. Coy was unconscious for at least four seconds before the referee even figured it out, and he wasn’t in a bad position to watch. Coy tried to tap before he went to the mat, but was already out then. Brian Stann was literally yelling at the referee to stop the fight, that’s how bad it was.
- Ketlen Vieira and Ashlee Evans-Smith opened the card with a spirited battle, both in the clinch and at distance. I liked Vieira’s striking and her perseverance, and that was a very big win for her. I am surprised that they mentioned “transgender fighter Fallon Fox” on the UFC broadcast though.