UFC Fight Night 124 - Preview
That was the collective response of St. Louis MMA fans when it was announced in November that UFC would be making its first-ever trip to the city.
UFC Fight Night 124 takes place Sunday, January 14th at Scottrade Center in downtown St. Louis. The card will air on FS1 with early prelims on UFC Fight Pass. The UFC made its Missouri debut in April in Kansas City.
Though the main event is still up in the air, among the fights slated for the card, legend Vitor Belfort (26-13) takes on Uriah Hall (13-8) in a middleweight fight that is being reported by multiple sources to be Belfort's retirement bout.
Among the highlights on the card, Paige VanZant (7-3) makes her move to the new UFC's women's flyweight division to fight Jessica-Rose Clark (8-4). A fight that has fans bookmarking it as their Fight of the Night, "The Korean Superboy," Dooho Choi (14-2) takes on Jeremy Stephens (26-14) at featherweight.
Two bouts that have local flavor include Farmington's Alex White taking on James Krause at lightweight.
White went 1-1 in 2017 and is coming off a second-round TKO of Mitch Clarke at UFC 215. White began his career as a featherweight but has found the transition to lightweight a success.
White cut his teeth on the local scene, making his pro debut in 2010. During his pre-UFC run, he fought for Cage Championships, Fight Hard, and Rumble Time, going 8-0 before signing with the UFC in July of 2014. White has gone 3-3 during his UFC run.
Krause, who made a recent switch from welterweight to lightweight, is currently on a three-fight winning streak, with wins over Tom Gallicchio, Shane Campbell, and Daron Cruickshank.
Michael Johnson will test drive a new weight class in his hometown. "The Menace" is dropping down to featherweight and take on Darren Elkins.
Johnson (17-12) has lost two straight and is coming off a second-round TKO loss to Justin Gaethje at the TUF 25 Finale in July. The St. Louis native lost four of five at lightweight, including Khabib Nurmagomedov and Nate Diaz. The 31-year-old Johnson has wins over Dustin Poirier, UFC interim champion Tony Ferguson, and Edson Barboza on his record.
Johnson was a three-sport varsity athlete (football, wrestling, and volleyball) at Marquette High School and received a scholarship to play football at Central Methodist University, but transferred after one year to Meramec Community College where he was one of the top NJCAA wrestlers in the country. Johnson started his mixed martial arts training at The Springfield Fight Club. In 2008, at the age of 21, he began fighting professionally, and he fought 12 times in two years
The 33-year-old Elkins (23-5) is a winner of five straight and is coming off a split decision win over Dennis Bermudez at UFC on FOX 25 in July.
Also on the UFC Fight Night 124 card, Missourian Zak Cummings, who fought and won on the Kansas City card, faces UFC stalwart Thiago Alves in a welterweight clash.
Cleveland Native Jessica Eye will make the trip to St. Louis to face Kalindra Faria in a highly anticipated women's bout. Eye has been on the shelf since September of 2016 when she lost a split decision to Bethe Correia.
For tickets to the event visit the Scottrade Box Office or online at Ticketmaster.
The latest UFC Fight Night 124 card includes:
Dooho Choi vs. Jeremy Stephens
Vitor Belfort vs. Uriah Hall
Jessica-Rose Clark vs. Paige VanZant
Jessica Eye vs. Kalindra Faria
Darren Elkins vs. Michael Johnson
Thiago Alves vs. Zak Cummings
James Krause vs. Alex White
Matt Frevola vs. Marco Polo Reyes
J.J. Aldrich vs. Danielle Taylor
Irene Aldana vs. Talita Bernardo
Guido Cannetti vs. Kyung Ho Kang
Michael Santiago vs. Mads Burnell
UFC Fight Night 124
Sunday, January 14th
Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO