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Dublin: 4 °C Tuesday 21 May, 2019
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Demetrious Johnson could equal a UFC record on tonight's very underrated card

Mighty Mouse, Jacare and Big Country are just some of the names who’ll feature at UFC on FOX 24.

CONSIDERING THE QUALITY of fighters on the bill and the fact that a UFC record could be equalled, the build-up to tonight’s card in Kansas City has flown unjustifiably below the radar.

For a non-pay-per-view event, this line-up is probably as good as it gets. The main attraction will be Demetrious Johnson’s latest flyweight title defence, which isn’t expected to be anything other than smooth and straightforward.

UFC Mighty Mouse Mixed Martial Arts UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. Source: AP/PA Images

He may not generate substantial revenue or viewership figures, but many still regard Johnson as the most complete fighter in the business, as evidenced by his status as the current best pound-for-pound athlete in the UFC, according to the rankings.

Johnson will be putting the 125lbs title on the line for the 10th time when he faces Brazilian veteran Wilson Reis. Should he emerge victorious, the 30-year-old Kentucky native will equal Anderson Silva’s record for the most title defences in UFC history.

Silva, who dethroned Rich Franklin to win the middleweight belt, successfully defended his strap on 10 separate occasions between 2007 and 2012, before eventually being ousted from the summit of the 185lbs division by Chris Weidman in July 2013.

It remains to be seen for how long Demetrious Johnson will be content to dominate his division while contenders are recycled, but a move back up to bantamweight has been discussed. Nevertheless, he’s happy to keep stacking up the wins in the meantime.

UFC press conference in Rio Former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. Source: IDE GOMES

When asked about equalling Anderson Silva’s record this week, Johnson said: “It would be awesome. Everyone keeps saying it’s Anderson Silva’s record but it’s not about chasing him. It’s just [about] chasing number 10. Obviously number 11 is the ultimate goal but it would be sweet if we succeeded.”

Elsewhere, the meeting of Rose Namajunas and Michelle Waterson is a big fight for the women’s strawweight division, but the middleweight clash of Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza and Robert Whittaker has the potential to be a cracker.

Jacare, having signed a new eight-fight contract with the UFC this week, will be expecting a long-awaited title shot if, as expected, he picks up the win. But Whittaker has looked superb since moving up to 185lbs and embarking on a 5-0 run in his new division. Tonight’s bout offers him an opportunity to join the elite contenders at middleweight.

Elsewhere, watch out for the eagerly-anticipated debut of former BAMMA champion Tom Duquesnoy, while fighters of the calibre of Jeremy Stephens, Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson, Tim Elliott, Louis Smolka and Aljamain Sterling — in addition to the earlier-than-usual start time of 9pm — should combine for a very enjoyable evening’s action.

Tom Duquesnoy Watch out for the UFC debut of Tom Duquesnoy tonight in Kansas City. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

UFC on FOX 24

Main card (BT Sport 2 — 1am)

Demetrious Johnson vs. Wilson Reis
Rose Namajunas vs. Michelle Waterson
Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza vs. Robert Whittaker
Jeremy Stephens vs. Renato Moicano

TV prelims (BT Sport 2 and UFCFightPass.com — 11pm)

Alexander Volkov vs. Roy Nelson
Patrick Williams vs. Tom Duquesnoy
Bobby Green vs. Rashid Magomedov
Tim Elliott vs. Louis Smolka

Fight Pass prelims (UFCFightPass.com — 9pm)

Aljamain Sterling vs. Augusto Mendes
Devin Clark vs. Jake Collier
Anthony Smith vs. Andrew Sanchez
Zak Cummings vs. Nathan Coy
Ashlee Evans-Smith vs. Ketlen Vieira

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Paul Dollery

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