The UFC on Fox series has been heating up with their stacked television cards and this weekend’s UFC on FOX 6 is no exception to the rule. We have the first defense of the Flyweight title on hand for our main event, as champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson takes on TUF 14 winner John Dodson, who will look to be the third TUF winner to take a title in the UFC.
This is just the tip of the iceberg though, so dig into the details below and let’s get pumped up for another UFC weekend.
Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson vs. John Dodson: The first title defense in this new 125lb division should be a hot one, as Mighty Mouse looks to hold onto his hard-won belt, facing John Dodson. MM spent the majority of his career well outside of his true weight class, but with Flyweight doors open, he wasted little time claiming the crown. Originally a raw prospect with a ton of hype behind him, MM has grown into a highly competent fighter due to a relentless work ethic and a sharp mind for fighting.
Dodson is cut from a similar cloth and has a natural gift for athletics, showing amazing balance and speed, even for a division known for its alacrity. Having blown through stiff competition on TUF and putting three solid wins under his belt in the Octagon proper, Dodson has earned this title berth and will attempt to grab the reins of this young division.
This is a great example of what natural talent gets you, and shows that this sport is starting to attract true athletic potential. Yet, while both fighters are physical phenoms in terms of traits such as balance and reaction speed, Mighty Mouse has a superior mind for the sport and work ethic in the gym. While Dodson has largely been the same fantastic fighter every time we’ve seen him, Mighty Mouse has added layer upon layer of depth to his fight game and continues to evolve with the sport. Mighty Mouse also has an underrated intangible: The ability to adapt mid-fight, which is largely what won him the title in the first place. This fight is close simply because both men move faster than the majority of fighters on the planet and a stray punch can put away either combatant. While I give Dodson a small edge initially due to his power, Mighty Mouse has the better killer instinct and will continuously patch holes in his own defense while cracking Dodson’s proverbial armor in the fight, leading to a decision win and title retention for Demetrious Johnson.
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Glover Teixeira: A highly anticipated fight for many reasons, as Quinton “Rampage” Jackson makes his return to the cage, taking on the hype train of Glover Teixeira. Most of the news of late concerning Jackson has involved his comments towards the UFC and various non-fight related topics, to the point where folks have forgotten the caliber of fighter he is. When he’s on his game, few can match Jackson in terms of raw power and striking skills, though whether or not he’s on his game is the big question when he takes to the cage.
Teixeira is one of the hottest commodities to have jumped into the UFC in some time, though he’s largely a mystery in terms of ability. Having spent his formative years fighting in small shows, Teixeira has punched out and pounded out the majority of his MMA competition, while appearing on the grappling circuit some years later with major success. An extraordinarily powerful man, Teixeira hits like a truck and has made an aggressive boxing game his calling card in his UFC career thus far, gaining fans with every punch.
This isn’t going to be a popular stance mind you, but I don’t think Teixeira is half as dangerous as the rest of the planet. While he does hit like no one else in the division, he’s coasted in his career on aggression and the same two punch combination thrown in secession. This has made him easy to counter for those awake long enough to pull it off, and even a battered journeyman like Marvin Eastman was able to land on him repeatedly in these exchanges. This is a case where Jackson turns out to be a horrid match-up for Teixeira, as his entire high-level MMA career was based off of boxing. Using sound defense and being able to match strength for strength in the wrestling world, Jackson has a great opportunity to send Teixeira to the canvas here if he remains tight and crisp with his blocking and counter hook. Jackson’s biggest adversary on Saturday will be himself and if his head is screwed on right, I suspect he derails Teixeira’s hype train with a swift counter hook KO.
Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis: An anticipated fight as both men inch towards a title shot, Donald Cerrone will face the young gun and last WEC Lightweight Champion, Anthony Pettis. Cerrone has been a legitimate terror in the UFC Lightweight division since his arrival, using classic muay thai skills and a tricky bottom submission game to hand several high-end opponents a loss. While Nate Diaz laid a severe beating on him in their bout, Cerrrone was able to bounce back and look better than ever, and is now poised to face a unique challenge in Pettis.
Pettis is one of the brightest young stars in the sport, bringing impeccable timing, a killer instinct and a sponge-like ability to absorb techniques that make him slightly different every time he hits the cage. A creature purely on the attack, Pettis has had holes exposed in his game before, but his ability to dismantle opponents quickly keeps him safe, using a double helping of offense as defense.
This is a potential fight for the ages, and a rough one to call as well. Cerrone has a lifetime of kickboxing skills and has spent the lion’s share of his career making his ground game something opponents don’t want to see, while keeping his muay thai honed to a razor’s edge. Pettis is still developing, yet has two intangibles coming into this fight that could harm him. One is that he’s now a gym owner, which historically means he won’t be progressing quite as much in his own skills, as he helps others work on theirs. Another is that he’s one of the most brashly confident fighters there is, which is a double edged sword in most circumstances. While his belief in himself is a key to his success, sometimes caution works much better than blind faith in yourself. I’m expecting a savage battle here, but Cerrone has a chin proven to be able to take almost anything, KO power in every limb, and has been in the trenches more than a few times, allowing him to take this via late TKO or decision.
Erik Koch vs. Ricardo Lamas: Coming off a very long layoff, Erik Koch will jump back into the deep end right away, taking on surprising Featherweight contender Ricardo Lamas. If Koch wasn’t ring rusty, I’d call this fight even due to his KO power and timing, but that last attribute is sure to be off a bit after over a year away from the cage. Lamas has turned himself into one of the most dynamic grapplers you’re likely to see and using some fight smarts, I see him hustling Koch all over the mat for a late submission win.
TJ Grant vs. Matt Wiman: One of my favorite fights of the night pits two lightweight grappling dynamos together, as TJ Grant faces aggressive grinder Matt Wiman. Grant has slid under the radar for some time now, yet remains a consistently improving force within the division. Having patched the takedown defense issues that kept him from reaching his potential and adding some serious boxing chops to his arsenal, he’ll lock horns with another underrated foe in Wiman. Wiman brings a yin and yang of aggression and cool calm into the fight game, throttling up when needed and easing back when necessary. This is about as even a fight as we’ll see, but I like Grant’s superior striking skills over Wiman’s simple but powerful attack patterns.
Clay Guida vs. Hatsu Hioki: The long overdue arrival of Clay Guida at Featherweight won’t turn too many heads…until after this fight. One of the best defensive fighters in the game today, Guida’s offense is the insane pace he sets that fighters can’t even hope to match, and cutting ten pounds won’t affect this in the slightest. Hioki is a test for sure with his judo and BJJ sweeps and submission, but he can’t hope to survive the frantic grappling exchanges of Guida, who will dominate positioning for a decision win.
Ryan Bader vs. Vladimir Matyushenko: A fight I almost don’t want to see, Ryan Bader will face the aging and ring rusted Vladimir Matyushenko. Matyushenko was never in Bader’s league in the first place, but returning from a torn Achilles tendon at 42 years old will prove to be a nearly impossible task. Unless Bader walks into a stiff shot from Vladdy, he should have little trouble putting Matyushenko down and winning via TKO midway through the fight.
Mike Russow vs. Shawn Jordan: A heavyweight bout that could make or break both fighters, as Mike Russow and Shawn Jordan try to rebound from their losses. Russow is only a part-time fighter and lacks the ability to add dimensions to his fight game, yet he may not need anything other than his wrestling in this case. This fight hinges entirely on Jordan’s ability to patch the major holes in his game; Clinch grappling and cardio, and use his greatest strengths of speed and punching power. We’ll know within a round if Jordan is serious about his career as he either ices Russow with punches or is pummeled in the clinch to a disappointing loss.
Simeon Thoresen vs. David Mitchell: A loser leaves town scenario unfolds as Norweigan fighter Simeon Thoresen faces David Mitchell. Thoresen is a decent fighter, and while I don’t think he’ll rise high in the ranks, Mitchell really has nothing to offer here. Using superior stand-up and fierce submission chains, Thoresen can play Mitchell like a fiddle no matter where this fight goes.
Look for more UFC on FOX 6 coverage, including predictions all this week.