Demetrious Johnson used a potent clinch game to secure his first title defense (Photo by Dave Mandel, Sherdog.com).
UFC on FOX Delivers
Written by Chris Cox (@CoxFight), Contributing Writer
It has been rough for Chicago. The Bears could not make the playoffs, and well most Cubs fans kind of hide their face. But fear not Chicago. The Blackhawks are 5-0. Derrick Rose is on his way back to the Bulls and you just had a huge night of fights and excitement with the UFC on FOX. This is the event that FOX signed the UFC for. It is events like this that earns the UFC that 90 million dollar deal.
The prelims were lit up with some fantastic wars and great finishes. One in particular, if you left the room to go to the bathroom, well then you missed it. Ryan Bader, who is not used to such undercard status, needed a good comeback after his August loss to Lyoto Machida. He stood across the cage from Vladimir Matyushenko, a very seasoned UFC vet. He immediately stepped in and dropped Vlad to the canvas and was able to sink in a guillotine choke in just 50 seconds of round one, which is the fastest submission in UFC Light Heavyweight history.
The main card started with Eric Koch vs. Ricardo Lomas, which could have title implications for the featherweight division. Koch, who has fantastic standup and great submission skills, was a favorite. Lomas, who is a dominant wrestler and fan of ground and pound, came in to show that he deserves this shot. The first round was not too thrilling. A lot of small scraps, but nothing too big. Some takedown attempts but really nothing too fancy. Round two came with a flurry, featuring a lot of kicks that were very absent in the first round. A slip up that Koch attempted to capitalize on went bad for him, and Lomas ended up in top position. He was able to posture up, sit in and just deliver shots, some hard and rough shots that Koch was not able to escape. Next, we got some deadly elbows that opened Koch up badly. Blood was pouring out, and this fight was done. They had to take the camera off Koch due to how badly he has been busted open. Lomas was the only one standing in the cage, and he said he wanted what is left of Aldo and Edgar, making his case by stating that he has taken down Swanson, Hioki and now Koch - all fighters who were title challengers. Do I think he could make through Aldo or Edgar? Nope. A good win, but I cannot see him taking that title.
Then the fight I was most anticipating for the past two months finally came to fruition: Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone vs. Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. This fight could not go to decision. They are two fighters who bring the heat, and they bring the pain.
This fight delivered in the first round and then some. Showtime has the fastest hands in the lightweight division, hands that remind you of Vitor Belfort and Anderson Silva from the old UFC days. He was very dominant in this round, moving in and out and landing shots with ease and showing no evidence of ring rust. Cerrone’s face was quickly swelling. Pettis always brings the show, and he eventually pulled it off with a knee that he vaulted himself off of the cage with. I do not know how this guy does it, but he does it well. He was delivering some very powerful kicks to the legs and body and then caught Cerrone with the famous Bas Rutten liver kick. Cerrone went down and could not get up, giving Pettis the knockout win.
What’s next for Pettis? There is only one thing. Get this man a title shot! He is the last WEC Lightweight Champion, and he has more than earned the winner of Benson Henderson and Gilbert Melendez.
In the co-main event of the night, we saw what would be the last fight for a man who many fans will call a favorite. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson would take the Octagon one last time with the very heavy handed Glover Teixeira. This fight showed Knockout of the Night possibilities, but the chins of Glover and Rampage were well tested. There was several times during the fight that I thought it was going to be the end for Rampage. Glover was using his three-inch reach advantage and getting in some crisp jabs and very stiff hooks. Rampage was attempting to throw some ugly leg kicks, but it was just too obvious that it is not what he does. Glover led in and landed every takedown he went for, which has always been a flaw in the fight game of Jackson.
Big shot after big shot were delivered between the two of them. Rampage found the most success when he could get in close with the dirty boxing. Take away the takedowns and kicks, and this could have easily been the best boxing match anyone has seen in four-ounce gloves. Glover held the Octagon control and could not be stopped on his takedown attempts. We all wanted a non-stop slugfest, but unlike Rampage, Glover has a future still with the UFC and he wanted the win.
Glover eventually took the fight with a flush unanimous decision of 30-27 counts, but Rampage left the Octagon in style. He left if all in the cage and will always be remembered in the minds of all MMA fans. Now for Glover, he has established himself has force in the light heavyweight division. Next week, we will see Rashad Evans take on Little Nog. Glover should get the winner of this fight, and with that you could possibly have your next challenger for winner of Chael Sonnen and Jon “Bones” Jones. Jones even says he would love to take on Glover because he feels that they could have an exciting fight. Styles make fights, and that is two styles I would not mind seeing.
In the main event, the flyweights took center stage with the first title defense of the 125-pound king known as Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson. Going into this fight, I had Dodson winning because of his explosiveness and power, but I was proven wrong. Johnson showed experience could trump power. The first round saw them both feeling each other out. Round two is where Dodson showed his power and put Johnson on the floor three times. Many people thought the champ was in trouble, but he weathered the storm and proved why he is the titleholder.
In round three, Johnson shed away those knockdowns and took Dodson into the championship rounds where he planned to show him where the big boys play. This is when he came in with a Muay Thai clinch game that was brutal. Upon delivering a flurry of knees, Johnson had one of them considered illegal, taking the note and worked with it. At one point going in to round five, he landed 83 clinch shots that he just started doing in the previous round. Dodson literally had no way to defend against them, and it was obvious that the champ was taking his belt back home.
What did this five-round war show us? The flyweights will deliver. It does not matter if it is three rounds or five rounds. They bring excitement and speed into the cage. They can deliver on the big stage and soon could be considered as a top division. Now, what is next for these two fighters is a different story. With this being a new division, the contender picture is not too clear, but we have some coming events that will hopefully clarify the situation.
This fight card truly delivered, plain and simple. 2013 is rolling on, and it is going very well for the UFC. Up next, we have our first super fight of the year: Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar. Get stoked.