UFC odds say "Mighty Mouse" Johnson is a -500 favorite over "The Magician" Dodson in their rematch. Will Dodson adjust his gameplan to defeat the flyweight champ, lock in the winning UFC pick.
A Look Back
On January 26th, 2013 John Dodson entered the Octagon to square off against Demetrious Johnson who had captured the newly minted division’s UFC Flyweight championship belt only four months prior. BetOnline.com installed Johnson as a -240 UFC odds favorite in that one and he did not disappoint the chalk-eaters when he claimed a unanimous decision in what has been his stiffest challenge to date in the flyweight division.
But what did Johnson do to capture the judge’s scorecards and remain the reigning 125 pound king? Below we will take a brief round-by-round lookback and see what Johnson did then and what Dodson can do, if anything, on Saturday night to turn this rematch in his favor.
Round 1: Dodson, fighting from his southpaw stance, got the better of the round as he landed several kicks and caught the champion with a straight right that knocked Johnson to the mat. Johnson ultimately scored a takedown but Dodson managed to wriggle free and back on his feet.
Round 2: Johnson attempts to reverse Round 1 by launching body kicks but Dodson effectively manages to turn them all away. Dodson lands several power punches that nail the champ and wins this round as well.
Round 3: The tide begins to swing ever so gently in Round 3 as Johnson is staying out of Dodson’s range and manages a takedown. This time he pulls Dodson from the cage as he tries to inch his way up and controls the fight from on top. Not much leather was landed but Johnson is adjusting his game and it worked just well enough to capture the round.
Round 4: The championship rounds ensue and Johnson takes over. He is striking more often than Dodson although he absorbs a few well-placed shots himself. The kicks have not been getting through but Johnson’s knees have struck gold on more than one occasion.
Round 5: Johnson comes out firing and immediately lands his fifth takedown of the fight. Dodson struggles to his feet as he backs his way up along the cage. Johnson begins his barrage of devastating knee strikes to Dodson’s face and head as the champ has him in a locked Muay Thai clinch. The fight ends with a bloodied and beaten Dodson hanging on until the bitter end.
How Does the Rematch Go?
We know five things based on Dodson vs. Johnson:
1). Dodson cannot come close to matching Johnson takedown for takedown.
2). Dodson does a reasonable job of returning to his feet once he is taken to the mat.
3.) Dodson is most effective from long range with his strikes.
4.) Johnson’s kicks are ineffective against Dodson.
5.) Johnson’s knees are extremely effective when in tight.
If Dodson is to have any chance of winning this match he will have to maintain his distance from Johnson and not allow Mighty Mouse’s Muay Thai to take over the match as it did last time beginning in the third round. Dodson will need the stamina to hang with Johnson in the championship rounds and follow up when he does connect with his devastating punching power. Johnson was floored on more than one occasion in their initial fight but Dodson did not swarm and it allowed Johnson to get immediately to his feet.
Since that fight Dodson has won three consecutive fights (two by KO) while Johnson has steamrolled the division winning five matches including four finishes. It appears that the champion is getting better and better which could be the death knell for the challenger. The UFC odds have spiked to Johnson -550 at shops like YouWager.com which indicates that the UFC oddsmakers believe Johnson is an even tougher out for Dodson this time around.
There is no substitute for a dynamic ground game and Johnson has that in spades over his challenger. The only chance Dodson has here is if he is able to keep his distance, do damage early and avoid the takedowns. Johnson must use his kicks only as a measuring tool to get inside without being countered by Dodson’s concrete hands. Based on the way Demetrious Johnson has pulverized his competition since January of 2013 it appears Dodson could be in for a long – or even a short – night. Lock down the winner in our UFC picks.