Anderson Silva, you have company.
Demetrious Johnson on Saturday submitted Wilson Reis with a third-round armbar to retain the Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight title in the UFC on Fox 24 headliner at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Reis (22-7, 6-3 UFC) conceded defeat 4:49 into Round 3 after having been thoroughly dominated by a transcendent champion.
Johnson (26-2-1, 14-1-1 UFC) was flawless. He picked apart Reis from the orthodox and southpaw stances, dissecting the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with leg and body kicks, straight right hands, knees to the body and blinding punching bursts. With the challenger ripe for the picking, Johnson made his move on the finish. He backed up a clean right hand with a takedown in the third round, settled in side control and smashed Reis with short elbows, one of which opened a cut. “Mighty Mouse” advanced to mount and snatched the armbar for the tapout.
The win ties Johnson with Silva for the most consecutive UFC title defenses (10). The 30-year-old AMC Pankration cornerstone has won 12 straight fights.
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Namajunas Choke Submits Waterson
Rose Namajunas submitted former Invicta Fighting Championships titleholder Michelle Waterson with a rear-naked in the second round of their women’s strawweight co-main event. Waterson (14-5, 2-1 UFC) bowed out 2:47 into Round 2, her modest two-fight winning streak at an end.
Namajunas (6-3, 4-2 UFC) countered a successful but ill-advised head-and-arm thrown from the Jackson-Wink MMA standout in the first round by transitioning to the back and threading her hooks before ultimately settling in full guard. Elbow-laced ground-and-pound followed, setting the stage for what was to come. Namajunas slammed home a head kick early in the middle stanza, jumped into side control and pounded away with hammerfists and elbows. Waterson withstood the initial onslaught but exposed her back in the transition. Soon after, the choke was in place, and “The Karate Hottie” was forced to tap following a brief struggle (online sportsbooks).
Surging Whittaker Vanquishes ‘Jacare’
“The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes” winner Robert Whittaker announced his arrival as a middleweight title contender, as he took care of Ronaldo Souza with a head kick and follow-up punches in a featured pairing at 185 pounds. Souza (24-5, 7-2 UFC) bit the dust 3:28 into Round 2.
Whittaker (18-4, 9-2 UFC) was systematic in his approach. He survived a ground exchange with the two-time Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist in the first round, tore into him with accurate punches and bided his time. Whittaker floored “Jacare” with a right hand to the temple but did not overcommit in his pursuit of a finish. He allowed the dazed Souza to stand and resumed his assault on the feet. Whittaker later cracked the former Strikeforce champion with a head kick and swarmed with punches and elbows, prompting referee Mario Yamasaki to act.
The 26-year-old Whittaker has rattled off seven consecutive victories.
Unbeaten Carneiro Upends Stephens
Constrictor Team export Renato Carneiro remained undefeated with a split decision over Jeremy Stephens in a three-round featherweight showcase. All three judges struck 29-28 scorecards: Brian Puccillo and Tony Weeks for Carneiro, Marcos Rosales for Stephens.
Crushing leg kicks, a sharp jab and incessant lateral movement were pivotal for Carneiro (11-0-1, 3-0 UFC). Stephens (25-14, 12-13 UFC) spent much of his time chasing the elusive Brazilian, firing off single power punches while eating counters in return. Carneiro also mixed in takedowns in the first and third rounds, effectively neutralizing the Alliance MMA rep. He increased the intensity of his leg kicks and jabs late in the fight, as he compromised Stephens’ base and bloodied his nose.