"Mighty Mouse" and the "The Magician" held center stage TONIGHT (Jan. 26, 2013) in the UFC on FOX 6 main event from the United Center in Chicago, Ill., pitting speedy wrestling vs. speedy power in a bid for Johnson's Flyweight world championship. In the end, it was endurance that ultimately made the difference.
The littlest big mixed martial arts (MMA) men, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson and the top 125-pound contender, John Dodson, were showcased in the UFC on FOX 6 main event TONIGHT (Jan. 26, 2013) from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
As expected, the action started off fast, with both men bouncing off the Octagon floor in flltting across the eight-walled cage. Dodson found a mark early for his heavy hand, but is didn't faze Johnson as the champ continued to press forward. Johnson came in for a takedown midway through the round, but Dodson defended and made him pay the price on his way out.
Johnson kept moving forward, relentlessly, even when Dodson drilled him with a short left hand. With about one minute left in the first round, Johnson finally got what he wanted, a takedown, but Dodson escaped quickly and the two tied up along the cage, which is where it ultimately ended when the round was over.
The dynamic duo raced across the cage to stage to meet one another in the middle to start the second, with Dodson once again scoring with a lighting-fast combination. Johnson responded with another takedown, but once again, Dodson was able to get right back up.
And when he did, he landed a left hook on the chin of Johnson that dropped him briefly to a knee. Johnson got up, seemingly okay, but Dodson nailed him again and this time Johnson definitely felt it, falling to the floor and looking for a takedown to try and recover. Dodson, however, couldn't capitalize and Johnson eventually went back to his original gameplan, pressing the action and hunting for a takedown.
He didn't get one and the round ended with Johnson bleeding from his nose.
As the third round started, it was crystal clear that Johnson was motivated more than ever to close the distance and away from Dodson's punching power. He telegraphed a takedown and Dodson timed it with a knew to the face, which stopped his progress and "The Magician" escaped again.
Dodson missed with a flying knee, but connected with a stiff straight left. Johnson retaliated with a nice combination of looping right- and left-hooks that sent Dodson retreating to the cage. Dodson landed a big body kick, but it didn't slow down Johnson, who continued to work for -- and secure -- a takedown.
It took a little longer for Dodson to get up this time, and when he did, Johnson dinged him with a nice shot as the round came to a close.
The championship rounds got off to a shaky start for Johnson, who landed an illegal knee to Dodson's temple while he had his hand on the mat. A mouse began to grow over the left eye of Dodson, who was given time to recover and the greenlight by the ringside physicians to return to action. Aside from that, the theme of the fight continued -- Johnson fishing for takedowns, Dodson defending and a few even exchanged sprinkled between.
Johnson was able to land several legal knees to Dodson's head toward the tail end of the fourth, this time sending him back to his corner with a bloody face.
In the fifth and final round, Johnson went back to what worked, kneeing Johnson in the face from the clinch and then using the position to score a takedown. Johnson was somehow not seemingly tired at all as Dodson began to tire, eating several elbows along the cage and failing to deliver the combinations that kept him ahead early.
Johnson then began to land flurries of punches to the face and knees to the body, while Dodson served as a punching bag, offering little to no resistance, smiling even though it was clear that Johnson was winning the round as he was wilting terribly.
In the end, it was Johnson's bottomless gas tank and Dodson's inability to keep up that most likely made the difference. Despite surviving two early knockdowns, Johnson roared back to take a close unanimous decision and retain his Flyweight championship.
He's lucky it was a five-round fight. But then again, there is a reason he is -- and seemingly will remain -- a dominant champion.
For complete results and blow-by-blow coverage of UFC on FOX 6: "Johnson vs. Dodson" click here.