The UFC returns to Fox on Saturday Night with a loaded card featuring a championship encounter in the main event. The show will be headlined by a UFC Flyweight Title bout as Demetrious Johnson defends the gold against Wilson Reis. Also, Rose Namajunas faces Michelle Waterson and Ronaldo Souza looks for another win in the promotion.
UFC Flyweight Title Fight
Demetrious Johnson (25-2-1) (Champion) vs. Wilson Reis (22-6-0)
Johnson will be making the tenth defense of his championship, last defending it against Tim Elliot at the UFC Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale. Reis will be entering the fight on a three fight winning streak, with those wins coming over Yuta Sasaki, Hector Sandoval and Dustin Ortiz. With a win, Johnson would tie the consecutive title defense record set by former UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. Reis has held gold before in his career, as he was the first and only Elite XC Bantamweight Champion.
Prediction: Reis has a top notch submission game, but Johnson’s wrestling and striking are far superior, Johnson wins a decision to keep the gold.
UFC Women’s Strawweight Division Fight
Rose Namajunas (5-3-0) vs. Michelle Waterson (14-4-0)
Namajunas has won three of five fights under the UFC banner, with notable wins coming over Paige VanZant and Tecia Torres. Waterson is currently undefeated in UFC competition, having defeated Angela Magana and Paige VanZant. Namajunas competed in the inaugural UFC Women’s Strawweight Title fight, losing to Carla Esparza at the UFC Ultimate Fighter 20 Finale. Waterson is a former Invicta FC Atomweight Champion, defeating fellow UFC fighter Jessica Penne for the gold at Invicta FC 5.
Prediction: Waterson seemingly finds a way to get out of bad situations and Namajunas will put her in plenty of those, but Waterson does just enough to squeak by with a decision win.
UFC Middleweight Division Fight
Ronaldo Souza (24-4-0-1NC) vs. Robert Whittaker (17-4-0)
Souza has won seven of eight fights under the UFC banner and his lone loss came to Yoel Romero by decision at UFC 194. Whittaker will be entering the fight riding a six fight winning streak and this will be the first time he has competed on a UFC On Fox card. Souza is a former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion, defeating Tim Kennedy to win the title in August 2010. Whittaker is also coming off his first ever main event appearance for the UFC, defeating Derek Brunson at UFC Fight Night 101.
Prediction: Whittaker will use his superior striking to keep things interesting for a little while, but Souza grounds and submits him in the second round.
UFC Featherweight Division Fight
Jeremy Stephens (25-13-0) vs. Renato Moicano (10-0-1)
Stephens has won two of his last six fights in the UFC, with those victories coming over Renan Barao and Dennis Bermudez. Moicano has already won two fights in the UFC, defeating both Tom Niinimaki and Zubaira Tukhugov. Stephens has won a total of four fights since dropping to the featherweight division, the fighter previously competed in the lightweight division. Moicano has also spent most his career in the Jungle Fight promotion, where eight of his ten wins as a pro came at.
Prediction: Stephens has one of the best striking games in the UFC, but Moicano grounds him and gets a decision victory.
Preliminary Card Quick Picks
Alexander Volkov over Roy Nelson
Tom Duquesnoy over Patrick Williams
Rashid Magomedov over Bobby Green
Tim Elliot over Louis Smolka
Aljamain Sterling over Augusto Mendes
Jake Collier over Devin Clark
Anthony Smith over Andrew Sanchez
Zak Cummings over Nathan Coy
Ashlee Evans-Smith over Ketlen Vieira