After a slightly lacklustre quality of fights last week, UFC on FOX 24 should be a strong palate cleanser for the fervent fight fan.
Demetrious Johnson will look to tie the UFC record for title defences against Wilson Reis in the main event while top contender bouts like Rose Namajunas vs Michelle Waterson and Jacare vs Robert Whittaker support a mouth watering line up.
On the FightPass prelims Aljamain Sterling features against Augusto Mendes while the next round of preliminary bouts has some important match-ups. Tim Elliott vs Louis Smolka, Bobby Green vs Rashid Magomedov and Alexander Volkov vs Roy Nelson will all impact the upper echelons of their respective divisions but perhaps most exciting for European MMA fans is the promotional debut of Tom Duquesnoy against Patrick Williams.
Demetrious Johnson (25-2-1) vs Wilson Reis (22-6)
For those with good memories and an unwavering loyalty to read my terrible predictions, it’ll come as no surprise that I’m picking a fighter who I’ve labelled as the G.O.A.T in the past.
He may not get the adulation that he deserves, and that is partly down to the UFC’s refusal to build any contenders, but Demetrious Johnson is on a different level when it comes to being a true mixed martial artist. From his grappling to his striking and everything in between, ‘Mighty Mouse’ is by far the best that we’ve ever seen at chaining and blending those skills together.
His opponent in Wilson Reis may well be the best grappler that Johnson has faced but creating the opportunities to bring the fight into his wheelhouse should prove too difficult against DJ.
Whether it comes via a stoppage or decision, expect Johnson to tie Anderson Silva’s record for UFC title defences.
Pick: Demetrious Johnson
Rose Namajunas (5-3) vs Michelle Waterson (14-4)
This may be the toughest fight to pick on this card.
Both fighters are solid on the ground and are eager when looking for submissions but their difference in styles on the feet may prove to be the difference here.
Namajunas has the range on most fighters at 115 lbs and also has that unpredictability that can cause pure mayhem. Waterson on the other hand has a more patient standup game supplemented by solid kicks but ‘The Karate Hottie’ is just as comfortable in the clinch and in Namajunas’ last outing against Karolina Kowalkiewicz, ‘Thug Rose’ had trouble in the clinch.
If Waterson can close the distance and engage in the clinch, there could be chances for trips and scrambles and that could be the deciding factor in a closely contested affair.
Pick: Michelle Waterson
Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza (24-4, 1 NC) vs Robert Whittaker (17-4)
Another close fight but ‘Jacare’s’ incredible grappling is the elephant in the room here.
Whittaker does have excellent takedown defence and has only been taken down by Court McGee during his time in the UFC so the major battle between these two will be where the fight takes place.
With Jacare pressuring and Whittaker a powerful puncher, especially on the counter, this fight will be fascinating to watch but eventually, you have to think Jacare will get this fight to the ground.
Once it’s there, there can only be one outcome.
Pick: Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza
Jeremy Stephens (25-13) vs Renato Moicano (10-0-1)
Moicano has been chucked into the deep end here and it’s probably so the UFC can kick off their FOX broadcast with an exciting stoppage.
For as good as a grappler as Moicano is, he has only fought twice in two years while Stephens has fought the best of the best.
I’d be massively surprised if Jeremy Stephens didn’t add to his collection of knockouts here.
Pick: Jeremy Stephens
(Last Predictions: 2/5, Total: 23/45, 51% Success Rate)
(2016: 61% Success Rate)