Demetrious Johnson Defends His World Title In UFC’S Kansas City Debut
HISTORY IN THE AIR IN KANSAS CITY AS UFC MAKES ITS DEBUT AND DEMETRIOUS JOHNSON GOES FOR HIS 10THTITLE DEFENSE AGAINST WILSON REIS AT SPRINT CENTER
(#4) ROSE NAMAJUNAS vs. (#6) MICHELLE WATERSON
(#3) JACARE SOUZA vs. (#6) ROBERT WHITTAKER
(#10) TIM ELLIOTT vs. (#12) LOUIS SMOLKA
TICKETS FOR UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: JOHNSON vs. REIS
AT SPRINT CENTER ON SALE FRIDAY, MARCH 10
Las Vegas – UFC® makes its Kansas City debut on Saturday, April 15 at Sprint Center with a world title on the line in the main event of UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: JOHNSON vs. REIS as the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Demetrious Johnson, looks to defend his 125-pound crown for a record 10th consecutive time against Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace, No. 4 Wilson Reis. Plus, in a strawweight bout with major title implications, No. 4 Rose Namajunas will clash with No. 6 Michelle Waterson, with the winner inching closer to a shot at the 115-pound championship. The event will air live on FOX at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.
The best fighter in the world, Johnson (25-2-1, fighting out of Parkland, Wash) will attempt to tie Anderson Silva’s record of 10 consecutive successful title defenses with a win in Kansas City. The 30-year-old has strung together 11 straight wins, six post-fight bonus awards and 14 finishes in his career. His athleticism is unparalleled and his speed and creativity has posed a problem for every foe he’s faced in the 125-pound division. Hoping to stop “Mighty Mouse’s” name from being added to the record books is Brazil’s Reis (22-6, fighting out of San Diego, Calif.). The fourth-ranked Brazilian owns what is arguably the most dangerous jiu-jitsu attack in the flyweight division. He’s got 10 submission victories to go along with his vicious ground-and-pound and ever-evolving striking. When Reis finally gets his shot at UFC gold, he hopes to bring a world title to the fans of Brazil.
The co-main event of the evening will pit two rising stars against each other at 115 pounds, as Namajunas (6-3, fighting out of Denver, Colo.) meets Waterson (14-4, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.). Namajunas has won three of her last four fights, her most recent win coming over No. 5 Tecia Torres. Waterson is the former Invicta FC atomweight champion, and she is a perfect 2-0 in the UFC, with both of her wins coming by rear naked choke. Both fighters’ own submission wins over No. 10 Paige VanZant, but the winner will score the biggest win of her career with a victory in Kansas City.
One of the most feared men in the UFC, Jacare Souza (24-4, 1NC, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) collides with one of the sport’s fastest rising stars in Robert Whittaker (18-4, fighting out of Sydney, Australia). The Brazilian has finished 17 of his fights via submission and another three by way of knockout. He’s an eight-time jiu-jitsu world champion and a former Strikeforce champion. A win over Whittaker will all but punch his ticket to the top of the middleweight division. New Zealand’s Whittaker packs a powerful punch that has accounted for eight knockouts, as well as a solid ground game that has produced four wins via submission. He’s coming off a first-round knockout over Derek Brunson and knows a victory over Jacare will catapult him into the title picture.
Kansas City resident, and the No. 10-ranked flyweight in the world Tim Elliott (14-7-1, fighting out of Lee’s Summit, Mo.) will have the crowd behind him as he meets No. 12 Louis Smolka (11-3, fighting out of Kapolei, Hawaii). Elliott, who is coming off a championship bout against Johnson, will seek the biggest win of his UFC career when he enters the Octagon on April 15. Smolka has won four of his last six fights, finishing three of those four victories and earning a Performance of the Night bonus in two of them. The winner will lay claim to a spot in the top 10 of the 125-pound division.
No. 5-ranked featherweight Jeremy Stephens (25-13, fighting out of San Diego, Calif.) faces top prospect Renato Moicano (10-0-1, fighting out of Brazil) in a 145-pound clash
St. Louis’ own Jake Collier (10-3, fighting out of Cuba, Mo.) will have the home crowd advantage in a light heavyweight tilt against Devin Clark (7-1, fighting out of Sioux Falls, S.D.)
Kansas City’s own Zak Cummings (20-5, fighting out of Kansas City, Mo.) meets Nate Coy (15-6, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla.) in a welterweight showdown
The winner of The Ultimate Fighter® season 23, Andrew Sanchez (10-2, fighting out of Fairfield, N.J.) will meet UFC veteran Anthony Smith (26-12, fighting out of Omaha, NE.) in a middleweight clash