There is something to be said about the towering behemoths and astonishing flash KOs that are prevalent in the heavier weight classes. However, as you may well know, size and an intimidating physique is not all that matters in MMA. To quote a famous line by Mark Twain: "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog." The main event of the UFC on Fox 6 wholly epitomized this endearing adage and converted many detractors of the Flyweight division into fervent fans.
As the first Flyweight title bout to headline a UFC card, this match-up of Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson versus John "The Magician" Dodson had plenty riding on it. For one, the UFC's ability to generate substantial revenue as a draw in mainstream television -- and thus validating their contractual deal with Fox -- was contingent on the success of the card and the main event. There was also the future of the UFC's Flyweight division to be considered, which had been lambasted heavily by fans since its conception for its lack of finishes and emphasis on technicality rather than frenzied slugfests.
On the night of the event, the card was littered by quick finishes and moderately entertaining decisions but when all was said and done, the main event absolutely stole the show. The scintillating performances of both combatants exalted their weight-class and its legitimacy as a headliner to new heights.
The Challenger Proves His Worth
The Champ, right way, was eager to test his opponent's conditioning as he aggressively stalked and pushed Dodson to the brink of the octagon. Johnson's dervish enthusiasm was inevitably rewarded with a counter left-hook that stunned him and buckled his legs momentarily.
Undeterred and chin holding steadfast, Demetrius continued to push the pace and audaciously charge forward with his own brand of rapid strikes. However, his erroneous footwork was exposed as Dodson caught him a number of times statically squaring up and completely within the range of his power punches; which he used to full effect as he dropped Johnson three times in the course of two rounds.
By the end of the third round, Johnson had absorbed significant damage from strikes but still maintained the frenetic pace he established early punctuated with take-down attempts -- completing three of these attempts. However, these dilatory moments on the ground ultimately proved fruitless as the crafty John Dodson immediately got back to his feet while incurring little to no damage in these positional shifting. .
With no clear frontrunner just yet, Johnson resumes his energetic and unrelenting pressure entering the Championship rounds. Much of the same cerebral stand-up battle ensues -- both men landing quantitatively similar strikes -- until Johnson snags his foe's neck in a headlock against the cage. With both men locked in this compromising and ambiguous situation, Johnson falters first and accidentally delivers an illegal knee to Dodson's head, whose one hand on the canvas technically rendered him a grounded opponent.
The referee invariably breaks them apart to check on Dodson's faculties, eliciting a strong and unabashed reaction from Johnson who was seemingly unaware of the foul. A doctor is summoned to survey the welt on Dodson's forehead where the knee landed but after this transitory break the action is quickly resumed.
Johnson, to his credit, once again catches Dodson in a headlock as they are pummeling against the cage but, this time cleverly alternates between targeting the leg and head with knees without violating the "grounded opponent" rule .
Suffering the effects of these virulent knees and the extremely exhausting nature of the fight, Dodson's composure disintegrates into scanty striking and survival mode desperation. Johnson, sensing this, capitalizes by delivering more enervating knees in the Muay Thai Clinch and implementing some dirty boxing well into the fifth round.
Johnson, in a moment of notable zeal and novelty, even manages to daringly hoist himself up over Dodson and deliver elbows to the temple as they are pummeling against the cage.
The Champ is unable to finish the fight via stoppage but mauls his opponent until the final bell. As such, Demetrius "Mighty Mouse" Johnson wins a closely contested bout by majority decision and defends his Flyweight title for the first time.
A New Era
Many fans, analysts, and Dana White himself lauded the main event's fast-paced action and the no-quit attitude of the two Flyweight stalwarts. Rewarded Fight of the Night, this bout highlighted the potential and appeal of the UFC's lightest division and no doubt strengthened the idea of developing the dangerously thin UFC Flyweight roster.
As for the fighters themselves, John Dodson and Demetrious Johnson magnificently displayed the kind of striking ferocity that many have pined for from this division while showing the kind of blinding speed and quickness specific to the Flyweight class. This fight could very well prove to be a turning point in the UFC viewership and usher in a new era of MMA where the technicality and rapid action of lightweight competition is more appreciated and held in higher esteem by the fans and analysts alike.
Click here for my complete breakdown of this fight.