When I saw the card for UFC Fight Night 124, I wasn’t really into it. There were a few standout fights for me such as the main event, Stephens vs Choi, and the co-main, VanZant vs Clark. What I thought was going to be somewhat lackluster actually turned into a really interesting fight card.
The prelim fights on Fight Pass were okay. JJ Aldrich fought well and I can see her moving up in the strawweight ranks. I wouldn’t mind seeing her fight either Amanda Cooper, Angela Hill, or Justine Kish next.
Jessica Eye moved up to flyweight and the most memorable moment was her speech after her win. Apparently judges don’t care about punches. Only takedowns matter. Whatever.
Darren Elkins vs Michael Johnson
Prior to this fight happening I wasn’t sure who Michael Johnson was fighting. I honestly have no idea how I didn’t remember Darren Elkins considering he has the worst tattoo I have ever seen. Michael Johnson was clearly winning the first round and I didn’t think it was possible for Elkins to come back. Elkins submitted Johnson in the second round with a rear naked choke, I learned that you should never count Elkins out. Can he fight Jeremy Stephens next?
Although Michael Johnson’s debut at featherweight didn’t result in a win, he should try again. This is his third loss in a row so I can imagine that being really disappointing. He said his weight cut was good at featherweight so he should try one more time.
Kamaru Usman vs. Emil Meek
Oh Kamaru Usman. He’s on the path to being one of the most hated fighters in UFC. Usman might be one of the most dangerous fighters at welterweight. It’s certainly possible. But news flash to Usman, the majority of the fighters at welterweight are dangerous. It’s good that he’s confident in his skills as he should be. However he’s talking as if he’s faced anyone in the top 15. That has yet to happen. How about he face someone like Mike Perry, Darren Till, or Santiago Ponzinibbio. Let’s see how he does against one of them and then maybe he can talk.
Jessica-Rose Clark vs. Paige VanZant
Both of these women deserve a round of applause. Clark had a tough week dealing with her home being robbed and having her cat put down. The fact that she was able to focus and win the fight was incredible. Paige VanZant’s debut in flyweight didn’t go as expected but if anyone thought that Paige wasn’t tough is clearly mistaken. Paige gets a lot of flak for being the pretty girl that isn’t that great but still somehow gets promoted by the UFC. Well people should be quiet. She broke her arm in the first round and fought 2 more rounds. She’s tougher than we think. Wishing her a speedy recovery and hopefully she can return to the octagon soon.
Jeremy Stephens vs Doo Ho Choi
The fight of the night. I was nervous before and during this fight. Wasn’t sure who I wanted to root for since I like them both. It’s been over a year since Doo Ho Choi’s last fight. He vowed to never lose again. Jeremy Stephens also has knockout power and his kicks are vicious. Every fight fan knew that this was going to be a really good fight.
Luke Thomas tweeted “Doo ho Choi is getting his career shortened by matching him up with seasoned battering rams. He needs a step back to regroup. He’s too young. Pronto.” I didn’t even think of that until I saw his tweet. Choi had become a fan favorite after his fight with Cub Swanson and he may have gained more after his fight with Stephens. Choi is young with so much potential. But was he ready for fighters like Swanson or Stephens? Clearly the answer is no. Losses happen. It’s part of the fight game. However is the UFC damaging potential big stars by matching them with fighters they aren’t ready for? Doo Ho Choi just went through some big tests that maybe he wasn’t ready for. I’m sure he will go back to the gym and work on his weaknesses. Hopefully he has at least one more fight this year because his mandatory military service begins in 2019. Possibly against Yair Rodriguez?
There isn’t much else to say about Jeremy Stephens performance that hasn’t been said already. It was one of the best of his career. The UFC should book him against a top 5 contender next.
While watching Elkins vs Johnson and Stephens vs Choi, I thought about how great it would see Elkins or Stephens against Justin Gaethje. Both Elkins and Stephens have fought at lightweight so it could happen. Maybe the UFC gods will read this and give me these fights.