Dodson is about to get his second crack at one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in our UFC picks, but the UFC odds are very much in Johnson's corner.
"Mighty Mouse" Johnson is a -500 favorite over "The Magician" Dodson
It's all about volume. The UFC is absolutely loaded with talented fighters, but once you get to the extreme ends of the bell curve – the Flyweight and Heavyweight divisions – the population just isn't there yet to keep things competitive at a consistently high level. Same goes for the female fighters. We'll see examples of all three when UFC 191 touches down this Saturday night (10:00 p.m. ET) at the MGM Grand.
In the case of the flyweights, there's one man who stands head-and-shoulders above them all. That would be the champion, Demetrious Johnson, who has yet to lose a match since dropping down from the Bantamweight division four years ago. Johnson will defend his strap against Josh Dodson, who did give the champ a run for his money when they met in 2013, although Johnson eventually won by unanimous decision. People don't seem to think the rematch will be that close; the UFC odds at press time have Johnson favored at between –450 and –600.
One of the great things about the UFC compared to boxing is how fans have at least given the Flyweight division some respect, if not embraced it entirely. Johnson (22-2-1 lifetime) is the key to that respect; he's the No. 3-ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world according to Sherdog, a 5-foot-3 lightning bug with outstanding grappling skills and a motor that just won't quit. “Mighty Mouse” even has some knockout power, as Joseph Benavidez (+125) discovered two years ago when he got his rematch against Johnson.
Dodson (17-6 lifetime) is even more of a knockout artist. This type of fighter is a rarity in the Flyweight division, which is largely why the smaller boxers get ignored in their sport; as per Fightnomics, Dodson's knockdown rate of eight percent is almost double that of the average heavyweight. He put Johnson (–220) down twice in the second round of their first fight before the champ turned things around. Dodson also has great takedown defense, 88 percent according to FightMetric, and he's got arguably the best coaching in the business at Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA.
So why are the UFC picks for Saturday's rematch tiltled so heavily toward Johnson? Partly because Johnson has built his credibility with six straight title defenses, earning performance bonuses in four of those fights. Meanwhile, Dodson has only fought three times since losing to Johnson, his career slowed down by knee injuries.
Having said that, Dodson could bring some betting value to the Octagon. We've already seen him come close to beating Johnson, and while the gap between the two fighters has grown over the past couple of years, the betting public may be overestimating things. We don't like the taste of chalk here at the home office, but we're not too keen on fading Johnson, either, so we're going with OVER 4.5 rounds and the expectation that the champ will once again retain by decision.
Free UFC Pick: Take OVER 4.5 Rounds (-175) at BetOnline