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Demetrious Johnson beats Wilson Reis in UFC Fight Night at the Sprint Center

Champion Demetrious Johnson (black trunks), successfully defended his title during a fight against Wilson Reis at UFC Fight Night Saturday, April 15, 2017, at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
Champion Demetrious Johnson (black trunks), successfully defended his title during a fight against Wilson Reis at UFC Fight Night Saturday, April 15, 2017, at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. Special to the Star

Sprint Center has hosted a little bit of everything since it opened in 2007, but Saturday marked the first time it served as center of the mixed martial arts universe.

The UFC made its debut in Kansas City with UFC Fight Night in front of an announced crowd of 12,171 fight fans, and those in attendance saw a bit of history.

UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson is considered by many to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

Johnson — nicknamed “Mighty Mouse” — retained both his unofficial title and official belt with a third-round submission of Wilson Reis.

It was Johnson’s 10th consecutive title defense, tying a UFC record first set by middleweight Anderson Silva.

“Wilson is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and he’s never been submitted before,” Johnson said. “That shows you the type of stuff I’m working on. It’s definitely awesome. Any champion in any sport … wants to get as many championships as they could. I could take this belt and go home, but I want 13, 14, 15 ... why not set the bar high?”

Johnson worked Reis over on the ground with a barrage of strikes at the end of both the second and third rounds. He used the opening to lock in the decisive armbar toward the end of the third round.

UFC president Dana White said that Saturday’s event grossed $1.1 million and said it was the highest-grossing event in Sprint Center history.

“It was the most stacked card of the year so far, and it was the most flawless event we could ever have,” White said. “Of course (UFC will return), especially when we break records. That always excites me. We’ve been wanting to come to Missouri for a long time, it just didn’t work out in the past. Now was the perfect time.”

The co-main event was a women’s strawweight bout between Rose Namajunas and Michelle Waterson.

It appeared as if Namajunas had ended the fight just over a minute into the second round with a roundhouse right kick that sent Waterson flying to the canvas.

But Waterson managed to stay in the fight, although not for long. Namajunas officially secured the victory moments later, at 2:42 of the second round with a rear naked choke.

“I remember we broke up with the clinch, and it kind of set up the right kick. I have a really powerful right kick, and I haven’t had the chance to show it yet,” Namajunas told the crowd. The secret is out now.

Robert Whittaker pulled off an upset in the middleweight division, stopping third-ranked Jacare Souza with a second-round TKO.

A pair of Kansas City-based fighters were successful in the prelims.

The last time Tim Elliott walked into an octagon, he was fighting for the UFC Flyweight title. The stakes weren’t nearly as high for Elliott’s fight on Saturday.

But, for the first time in his career, Elliott — who fights out of Lee’s Summit — walked in to fight in front of his hometown crowd.

Elliott heard and felt the love in a unanimous decision over Louis Smolka.

“Honestly, I wasn’t expecting that,” Elliott said. “I didn’t know how many people were going to be there, and I still don’t even think there were that many people, but man. The crowd was loud and intense, and I felt the cage shaking as they were screaming. This was my hometown, my home crowd, and this is right where I wanted to be.”

Zak Cummings, the other Kansas-City area fighter on the card, beat Nathan Coy by way of guillotine choke at 4:21 in the first round.

“There’s definitely a little extra pressure fighting in my hometown. This is probably my first time since I’ve been in UFC that most of my family and good friends were able to see me fight live,” Cummings said.

FOX UFC Fight Night results

UFC Fightpass Prelims

Women’s Bantamweight

Ketlen Vieira (9-0) def. Ashlee Evans-Smith (5-3) by unanimous decision

Welterweight

Zak Cummings (22-5) def. Nathan Coy (15-8), 4:21, Round 1, submission (guillotine) choke

Middleweight

Anthony Smith (28-12) def. Andrew Sanchez (10-4), 3:57 Round 3, TKO

Light Heavyweight

Devin Clark (9-1) def. Jake Collier (10-5), unanimous decision

Bantamweight

Aljamain Sterling (14-2) def. Augusto Mendes (6-3) unanimous decision

FOX Prelims

Flyweight

Tim Elliott (16-7-1) def. Louis Smolka (11-5), unanimous decision

Lightweight

Rashid Magomedov (21-2) def. Bobby Green (23-9), split decision

Bantamweight

Tom Duquesnoy (15-1) def. Patrick Williams (8-5), :28, Round 2, TKO

Heavyweight

Alexander Volkov (28-6) def. Roy Nelson (23-14), unanimous decision

FOX Main Card

Featherweight

Renato Moicano (11-0-1) def. Jeremy Stephens (25-14), split decision

Middleweight

Robert Whittaker (19-4) def. Jacare Souza 3:28, Round 2, TKO

Women’s Strawweight

Rose Namajunas (7-3) def. Michelle Waterson (14-5), 2:45 Round 2, submission, rear naked choke

Flyweight Championship Bout

Demetrious Johnson (26-2-1) def. Wilson Reis (22-7), 449 Round 3, submission, armbar

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