Matches to Make After UFC on Fox 24

By: Brian Knapp
Apr 16, 2017

The superlatives have been exhausted.

Demetrious Johnson on Saturday waltzed into the record books, submitted Wilson Reis with a third-round armbar and kept his historic stranglehold on the Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight title in the UFC on Fox 24 headliner at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Reis tapped 4:49 into Round 3, as “Mighty Mouse” equaled Anderson Silva’s all-time mark of 10 consecutive UFC title defenses, set between July 7, 2007 and July 7, 2012 (online sportsbooks).

Johnson was downright masterful, offensively and defensively. The 30-year-old AMC Pankration lynchpin outlanded Reis by nearly a 7-to-1 margin in the significant strikes department, according to FightMetric data. Meanwhile, the challenger whiffed on all six of his takedown attempts against Johnson and connected on just 18 of the 170 total strikes he threw. Reis fired 139 significant strikes at the champion’s head; only two of them found the mark.

In the aftermath of UFC on Fox 24 “Johnson vs. Reis,” here are five matches that ought to be made:

Demetrious Johnson vs. Joseph Benavidez: Though he stands just 5-foot-3, the diminutive Johnson towers over his division like no other champion in the sport. The Madisonville, Kentucky, native has made a number of world-class fighters look like rank amateurs at 125 pounds, rattling off 12 consecutive victories since his majority draw with Ian McCall more than five years ago. Reis became his latest victim, as the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt tapped to a third-round armbar from “Mighty Mouse” and submitted for the first time in his 29-fight mixed martial arts career. Benavidez, a man Johnson has beaten twice already, has one more hurdle to clear before he can lock horns with the champion again: He faces Ben Nguyen at UFC Fight Night 110 in June.

Rose Namajunas vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk-Jessica Andrade winner: Most agree Namajunas has only begun to scratch the surface of her immense talent -- a sobering thought for the rest of the 115-pound weight class. The 24-year-old Trevor Wittman protégé submitted Michelle Waterson with a rear-naked choke in the second round of their co-main event, this after she nearly knocked out “The Karate Hottie” with a head kick moments earlier. Namajunas has won four of her last five bouts, a split decision loss to Karolina Kowalkiewicz the lone misstep. Jedrzejczyk will defend her women’s strawweight championship against the hard-charging Andrade at UFC 211 on May 13 in Dallas.

Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero: Whittaker put to rest any doubts regarding his legitimacy as a title contender at 185 pounds, as he cut down Ronaldo Souza with a second-round head kick and follow-up punches in their middleweight showcase. Since he made the decision to move up in weight in 2014, “The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes” winner has beaten Clint Hester, Brad Tavares, Uriah Hall, Rafael Natal, Derek Brunson and Souza in succession. The UFC’s decision to pit the returning Georges St. Pierre against middleweight champion Michael Bisping has left Romero, the clear No. 1 contender, out in the cold and could keep him in the sidelines for more than a year if elects not to compete in the interim. The 2000 Olympic silver medalist last fought at UFC 205 in November, when he obliterated Chris Weidman with a flying knee and subsequent punches.

Alexander Volkov vs. Andrei Arlovski-Marcin Tybura winner: A former Bellator MMA and M-1 Global champion, Volkov moved to 2-0 in the UFC with a unanimous decision over Roy Nelson. The 6-foot-7 Russian peppered Nelson with straight punches and kicks to the body, slowly but surely seizing control of their 15-minute confrontation. Volkov has put together a four-fight winning streak since he suffered back-to-back losses to Cheick Kong and Tony Johnson under the Bellator banner in 2015. Arlovski will take on Tybura at UFC Fight Night 11 on June 17 in Singapore.

Aljamain Sterling vs. John Dodson-Eddie Wineland winner: Sterling returned to the winner’s circle and threw the brakes on a troubling two-fight losing streak by claiming a unanimous verdict against Augusto Mendes on the UFC on Fox 24 undercard. The Serra-Longo Fight Team rep was awarded 29-28 scores by all three judges, as he rebounded from consecutive split decision defeats to Raphael Assuncao and Bryan Caraway. At just 27 years of age, Sterling remains one of the most promising young talents in the bantamweight division. Dodson has been booked opposite Wineland at UFC Fight Night 108 on April 22.

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