Not only does FOX’s Fight Night Kansas City offer a title fight, the main card provides direct title implications in multiple fights and may be the most loaded non Pay-Per-View card the UFC has ever put together.
The top of the card features Demetrious Johnson’s attempt at a historic 10th consecutive title defense against Wilson Reis. But with Johnson’s constant construction of the flyweight division, some might say the battle for the 125-pound belt isn’t even the No. 1 fight to look forward to.
The winner of the co-main event between Rose Namajunas and Michelle Waterson will be put in an interesting title conversation, as will whoever comes out on top between Jacare Souza and Robert Whittaker.
These are the Reasons to Watch Fight Night Kansas City.
1. History in the making
The UFC’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter has an opportunity to tie a record of the sport’s greatest legend. If Johnson defeats Reis on Saturday, it will mark his 10th consecutive title defense, which ties Anderson Silva’s run that lasted about five years. ‘Mighty Mouse’ hasn’t lost since 2011 and has held reign in the UFC’s flyweight division since 2012.
He’s likely already in the conversation as an all-time great, but a win Saturday adds an undeniable feat to his resume.
2. Can Reis get the fight to the ground?
Johnson has the most takedowns in the history of the division (48) but it’s his opponent who may be the bigger threat on the ground. Reis averages 6.43 takedowns per 15 minutes in the Octagon, the highest in the division’s history. In his current three-fight win streak, Reis has taken down his opponent 18 times.
Of course, we all know what happened the last time Johnson faced a renown grappler: he finished Olympian wrestler Henry Cejudo in round 1 at UFC 197.
Get ready for Fight Night Kansas City: Fight card | Cheat Sheet | Fighters on the rise this weekend | Watch Road to the Octagon: Johnson vs Reis, Namajunas vs Waterson, Souza vs Whittaker | Watch free fights: Johnson vs Cejudo | Reis vs Sandoval | Be there! Get your tix here
3. Almost to the belt
Rose Namajunas’ run at the belt was put on pause when she lost to Karolina Kowalkiewicz at UFC 201. A win over Michelle Waterson on Saturday would put her right back in the mix. Waterson returned to the Octagon in December and dominated Paige VanZant. And now the winner of Namajunas-Waterson appears to be in a title eliminator bout.
Both have the resumes to be the next title challenger and neither have fought champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. But is that an advantage? Jedrzejczyk’s last two opponents – Claudia Gadelha and Kowalkiewicz – square off at UFC 212 and both took Jedrzejczyk the distance in what were epic title fights.
Can the winner of Kanas City’s matchup pass the winner of UFC 212's?
4. Can Souza or Whittaker pass Romero?
The middleweight division is the UFC’s most crowded. Not only is it loaded with high-profile fighters, but they’re all riding big win streaks. Champion Michael Bisping will fight Georges St-Pierre next and Yoel Romero is assumed to be the challenger in waiting. And don’t forget about Gegard Mousasi, who just finished Chris Weidman at UFC 210 for his 7th win in eight fights.
Souza or Whittaker would have to put on an epic performance in Kansas City to move past Romero. But Bisping vs GSP still isn’t scheduled and if Romero decides to wait that out, it’s possible Souza or Whittaker could continue improving their resumes to go for Romero’s spot in the meantime.