ST. LOUIS – Michael Johnson is going to get his wish. It just came about in an unfortunate way.
Johnson (17-12 MMA, 9-8 UFC) and Darren Elkins (23-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC) were scheduled to close out the FS1-televised preliminary card of Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 124 event at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. And Johnson was none too pleased with the placement on the show, given he’s a St. Louis native and it’s the UFC’s first trip to the city.
But in the wake of today’s announcement following the official weigh-ins that Vitor Belfort (26-13 MMA, 15-10 UFC) and Uriah Hall (13-8 MMA, 6-6 UFC) have been scrapped from the co-main event after Hall couldn’t get to the scale to attempt to make weight for their middleweight bout, the four-fight main card had an opening.
That opening will be filled by Johnson and Elkins, a UFC official confirmed to MMAjunkie in St. Louis. The women’s flyweight fight between Jessica-Rose Clark (8-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC) and Paige VanZant (7-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) now will serve as the co-main event on FS1. And a bantamweight bout between Guido Cannetti (7-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) and Kyung Ho Kang (13-7 MMA, 2-1 UFC) will move up from the prelims on UFC Fight Pass to open the prelims on FS1.
Johnson earlier this week said there was “no logical answer” to why he and Elkins were going to languish away on the prelims instead of on the main card. Johnson is fighting at featherweight for the first time after spending his career as a lightweight.
A week ago, Johnson vented on Twitter over not being on the main card once the event’s lineup was finalized. While he has dropped four of his past five fights, his most recent outing was a “Fight of the Year” winner against Justin Gaethje this past July in the TUF 25 Finale main event. He also has three fight-night bonuses in his past four fights.
And his counterpart across the cage Sunday, Elkins, has won five straight at featherweight to put himself into title talk. Notable in that streak was the 2017 MMAjunkie “Comeback of the Year” winner, in which Elkins got beat up for most of his fight with Mirsad Bektic before a miraculous rally for a head-kick knockout.
Perhaps now it doesn’t matter how he got to the main card, as long as he’s there.
The adjusted UFC Fight Night 124 lineup now includes:
MAIN CARD (FS1, 10 p.m. ET)
- Jeremy Stephens vs. Dooho Choi
- Jessica-Rose Clark vs. Paige VanZant
- Emil Meek vs. Kamaru Usman
- Darren Elkins vs. Michael Johnson
PRELIMINARY CARD (FS1, 8 p.m. ET)
- James Krause vs. Alex White
- Matt Frevola vs. Marco Polo Reyes
- Irene Aldana vs. Talita Bernardo
- Guido Cannetti vs. Kyung Ho Kang
PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 6:30 p.m. ET)
- Jessica Eye vs. Kalindra Faria
- J.J. Aldrich vs. Danielle Taylor
- Mads Burnell vs. Mike Santiago
- Vitor Belfort was happy with retirement choice – but that was before Uriah Hall pulled out at UFC-St. Louis
- Uriah Hall can't weigh in, UFC Fight Night 124 co-main event with Vitor Belfort scrapped
- Video: Jeremy Stephens, Dooho Choi make weight for UFC Fight Night 124 headliner
Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: With Hall-Belfort off, Michael Johnson vs. Darren Elkins moved to UFC Fight Night 124 main card