The UFC rolls on with this evening’s (Sat., April 15, 2017) UFC on FOX 24 from the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri, and the card presents arguably one of the best ever put together for free television.
In the main event, dominant longtime UFC flyweight champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson will seek a record-tying tenth title defense when he meets Wilson Reis in the main event, an accolade that would put him directly on par with all-time great middleweight champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva.
In the co-headliner, touted No. 4 and No. 6 women’s strawweights Rose Namajunas and Michelle Waterson will battle for what may be the next title bout versus the winner of May’s Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Jessica Andrade.
Overall, the event presents a stacked card from the main card to the Fight Pass prelims, and should provide fans a hard-hitting night of MMA in the UFC’s first-ever show from K.C.
Find out who we picked to win in the main bouts below:
Demetrious Johnson vs. Wilson Reis:
This potential record-tying fight for ‘Mighty Mouse’ is a big win, as he’ll cement the foregone conclusion of him joining some of MMA’s all-time greats. Few, if any, are giving Reis a chance to snag the gold from the longtime 125-pound ruler, yet while I think that’s a bit foolish considering his hard-nosed style and submission prowess, it’s also somewhat of a risky fool’s errand to pick against the massive favorite Johnson at this point. I feel “Mighty Mouse” is simply too fast, precise, and technical on the feet, and he should be able to use that to outclass Reis on the scorecards. “Mighty Mouse” by unanimous decision.
Rose Namajunas vs. Michelle Waterson:
This pivotal strawweight co-main event is an intriguing one, as Namajunas has a few questions to answer about her overall mental stat following a disappointing loss to Karolina Kowalkieicz in her last bout over weight months ago. She’s only 24, but has fallen just short in the most impactful bouts of her young career thus far, making this fight with Waterson arguably the most important of her UFC stint so far. On the other hand, Waterson looked calm, cool, and dominant in her first-round win over Paige VanZant, and has all the weight of the UFC promotional machine behind her right now (just like Namajunas did on TUF). In terms of the in-octagon action, I think Namajunas will simply be too big for “The Karate Hottie,” using her superior range and volume striking to avoid takedowns and win the fight on the scorecards. Namajunas by unanimous decision.
Jacare Souza vs. Robert Whittaker:
Long the perceived title contender at 185 pounds, Jacare Souza has done nothing but dominate all but one UFC foe on his way to becoming perhaps the most feared grappler in all of mixed martial arts. He’ll face off against a tough rising possible contender in Whittaker, who has looked nothing but spectacular after giving up a drastic weight cut to 170. He’s never faced anyone with anything close to Jacare’s seamless, brutal ground skill, however, and if he fails to keep this bout standing he’ll obviously be in for a long (or short, depending on the way you look at it) night. Souza ended the speculation that he may head to Bellator by recently signing a new eight-fight contract with the UFC, and he looks poised to finally cement a title shot, if that’s even possible in the mess middleweight has become. All he can do is keep winning, and I believe he’ll do that this evening. Souza by submission in R2.
Jeremy Stephens vs. Renato Moicano:
A potential featherweight firefight will kick off the UFC on FOX 24 main card when knockout puncher Stephens meets rising undefeated prospect Brazilian Moicano. This is a huge bout for both fighters, as Stephens needs to deliver in a spot where he’s favored on a grand stage, while Moicano has little to lose and could storm into the Top 15 or even Top 10 with a win over No.5-ranked “Lil’ Heathen.” It’s a close call – one that is a lot closer than the odds suggest, and I think Moicano has it in him to pull off the upset. I’m not sure he will unless he can get this one to the canvas, however. Stephens should be motivated after nearly knocking out Frankie Edgar in his last fight, so I’m giving him a slight edge. Stephens by R3 TKO.