The main event of UFC 191 is a rematch between UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson and number one contender John Dodson. Dodson had some success early in their first fight, but Dodson dominated the later rounds and won a clear decision. Demetrious Johnson (22-2-1 MMA, 10-1-1 UFC, -500 favorite) Johnson has already racked up six title defense in two and a half years. Every time he fights we see something new added to his game; he just keeps getting better. After a decent run in the WEC, he made the jump to the UFC in 2011 and immediately reeled off wins over Miguel Torres and Kid Yamamoto. Those wins earned him a bantamweight title shot against then UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz, but Demetrious found Cruz’s size and wrestling advantage too much to overcome. It was music to Johnson’s ears when the UFC announced the addition of a flyweight division and that he would part of a four man tournament to become to first UFC Flyweight Champion. Johnson won the tournament by defeating Ian McCall and Joseph Benavidez, and he has not looked back since. Now looking for his seventh straight title defense, Demetrious has impressive wins over Benavidez (twice), Dodson, McCall, John Moraga, and Kyoji Horiguchi. The 29 year old Johnson is probably the most well-rounded fighter in the UFC right now; he can do everything well. His striking is fast, fluid, and very technical. He uses constant movement in the cage, which creates angles and also makes him very hard to hit. The speed of Johnson is unbelievable to watch, he can dart in, throw strikes, and then retreat before his opponent can return fire. Working under the tutelage of head coach Matt Hume has really taken his game to the next level. They always come up with the perfect game plan for every opponent. Many fans think Johnson’s style is boring, but I think he is fun to watch. His technique is perfect and he has finished four of his six title defenses. Demetrious is even a knockout threat, as he put Benavidez’s lights out cold in their rematch in 2013. Much like his striking, Johnson’s grappling features flawless technique. His transitions and scrambling ability are second to none in the flyweight division. His opponents always have to be on constant alert, because will jump on any submission he sees an opening for, like he did in his fights against Moraga and Horiguchi. However, Demetrious’ wrestling is the area where he has improved the most. He has a tremendous double-leg takedown that he executes quickly, often ducking under his opponent’s strikes and driving them to the mat. Once Johnson obtains top position he is an effective passer and submission hunter, especially over the last few years. Additionally, Demetrious’ conditioning may be the best in the sport, he can go five hard rounds without a problem. John Dodson (17-6 MMA, 6-1 UFC, +400 underdog) Dodson and Johnson are similar in terms of their speed, but their fighting style is quite different. Dodson is gunning for the knockout at all times, which us evident by his impressive knockout wins over UFC Bantamweight Champion T.J. Dillashaw, Jussier Formiga, John Moraga, and Darrel Montague. Dodson first showcased his talents to UFC fans during season 14 of The Ultimate Fighter, which he won by defeating Dillashaw in the finals. Since then John has only lost to Demetrious Johnson, and he will look to avenge that loss this Saturday night. The 30 year old Dodson is a fast, powerful striker than can do serious damage with his left hand. His opponents are usually in big trouble when John lands a clean left hand. He even managed to drop Johnson twice in their first fight in 2013, but Demetrious was able to recover. The big problem with his striking game is his tendency to become completely inactive; he will go long stretches without throwing any strikes. John has done this in several fights, especially when his opponent refuses to lead. Kicks are not a big part of Dodson’s game, but he does have some decent leg and body kicks that he throws occasionally. Another interesting aspect of this fight is whether Dodson can go five hard rounds, as he was pretty fatigued in the later rounds in the first fight with Johnson, which was the first time he had ever fought for five rounds. John has solid wrestling, but he mainly uses it in reverse to keep his fights on the feet. He is adept at winning the underhook battle against the cage and circling away. Further, when he does get taken down he is good at scrambling back to his feet and defends submissions well. From an offensive standpoint, Dodson is not a submission threat. He has not recorded a win by submission in eight and a half years. Thoughts This is a battle between two of the best flyweights on the planet. I do think Joseph Benavidez is better than Dodson, but he already lost to the champ twice and it will likely be a long road back to the title for him. Johnson has a bigger edge in this fight that he did in their first fight. Dodson has spent large amounts of time on the shelf due to injuries, while Johnson has been racking up dominant title defense left and right. Johnson is the far more skilled fighter, but Dodson has that one-punch knockout power that can end fights in the blink of an eye. I believe Dodson will have to do just that to win this fight. Johnson is better everywhere except for punching power and he is significantly better than he was when they fought two years ago. Unless Dodson catches Johnson with a big shot early, I expect Johnson to control the rounds with his speed, movement, and wrestling. Further, once Dodson tires I believe Johnson will be able to secure a submission in the fourth or fifth round. The Prediction: Demetrious Johnson defeats John Dodson by Submission (round 4)
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