World Sports

Issue date: April 17, 2017

‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson stops Reis for 10th successful UFC title defense

ULTIMATE FIGHTING Championship flyweight champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson continued to add on to his mixed martial arts legend, beating challenger Wilson Reis by a third-round submission (arm bar) yesterday at “UFC on Fox 24” in Kansas City, Missouri, for his 10th successful title defense.

Demetrious Johnson (top) takes down Wilson Reis (bottom) during their Flyweight Championship bout on UFC Fight Night at the Sprint Center yesterday in Kansas City, Missouri. -- AFP

Banking on his tireless movements and hits coming from all directions as the fight progressed, 30-year-old Johnson raced to his 12 straight win and 10th successful title defense with the win over Mr. Reis that tied him for best all-time with another legend, Anderson Silva.

In the co-main event earlier in the day, “Thug” Rose Namajunas (#4) got the better of Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson (#6) in a battle of women’s strawweight contenders with a second-round submission by rear-naked choke.

Mr. Johnson had his imprint on the fight right at the opening bell, following their game plan to the hilt with constant motion and going in and out that had Mr. Reis having difficulty getting his own attack on track.

In the second round, Mr. Reis came out more aggressive only to be met by Mr. Johnson midway with body shots and strikes. The latter would finish in a flurry, connecting on a step-through knee that instantly floored Mr. Reis, who fortunately was saved by the bell from a barrage of punches.

The third round saw Mr. Johnson to be continuously bouncing with Mr. Reis trying to make up for lost ground by instigating which proved to be successful initially.

But the champion would rev things up anew, hitting the challenger with body kicks that eventually took a toll.

Mr. Johnson landed a looping right-hand shot and then went for an easy takedown. Mr. Reis resisted for a while but Mighty Mouse was quick to move, bloodying Mr. Reis with punches before going to a textbook arm bar to finish things at the 4:49 mark of the third round.

“This fight was very important. It was a damn good night. This is the best training camp I had,” Mr. Johnson, now 26-2-1, said.

“The crowd recognize that. Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva were great champions but I believe I’m the best champion the UFC has seen... Now I deserve a seven-figure fight,” he added, highlighting where he stands in the game.

After his defeat to Mr. Johnson, Mr. Reis (22-7), for his part, absorbed his first defeat in his last four fights.

In the co-main event, 24-year-old Namajunas throw herself back in the mix for a shot at the women’s strawweight title currently held by Joanna Jedrzejczyk with an impressive victory over Ms. Waterson.

Ms. Namajunas was in her element all throughout the fight, taking the initial attack from her opponent while doing damage of her own with solid work on the ground.

In the second round, the two fighters exchanged kicks before Ms. Namajunas connected with a solid head kick that signaled the end for Ms. Waterson in the fight after falling to the floor outright.

Ms. Waterson tried to survive Ms. Namajunas’ barrage of punches after but it only led her to be positioned for a rear-naked choke and from which she could not recover from, prompting the referee to stop the fight at the 2:47 mark.

“I was surprised by the power of Michelle and my vision was not good early. But it was the way I envisioned the fight to go,” said Ms. Namajunas, who improved to 6-3, after her victory.

“I feel I’m good to go all the way to the belt and hold it for a while. I’m coming for the belt,” she added.

The loss stopped a two-fight win streak for Ms. Waterson (14-5).

In earlier fights, Australian middleweight Robert Whittaker

(#6) beat Brazilian Jacare Souza (#3) by technical knockout (head kick, elbows and punches) in the second round, and featherweight Renato Mocaino upset Jeremy Stephens (#5) by split decision (29-28, 28-29 and 29-28).

Next stop for the UFC is “UFC Fight Night 108” next week in Nashville, Tennessee, that will be headlined by the featherweight clash between Cub Swanson (#4) and Artem Lobov.

In the Philippines, Cignal TV, the country’s foremost direct-to-home (DTH) company, is the home of the UFC after the two groups agreed to an extensive deal that will see the UFC beamed on various platforms. -- Michael Angelo S. Murillo

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