Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) flyweights John Dodson and John Moraga went to war on the main card of UFC Fight Night 42 last night (Sat., June 7, 2014) from Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
After both fighters lost to UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson in 2013, Dodson and Moraga needed a big win to propel them back into title contention.
Dodson's last bout was a first round knockout over Darrell Montague at UFC 166 in October 2013. "Magician" was pulled out of a UFC on FOX 9 bout against Scott Jorgensen with a knee injury. With some of the fastest hands in mixed martial arts (MMA) today, Dodson was looking for a big finish to cement his No. 1 contender status.
Former NCAA All-American wrestler Moraga recently won a decision over Dustin Ortiz at UFC Fight Night 35 in January. His effective takedown game gives most flyweights fits, but Dodson brought all that and more to the cage.
When the dust settled in Albuquerque, Dodson scored his second straight knockout finish, but unfortunately this one was a little unsatisfying.
The fight started a bit tentatively with Dodson landing a left hand. "Magician" went to the body as Moraga rushed forward to land a knee that Dodson complained was low. He took a lap around the cage and looked to begin fighting again, but referee Mario Yamasaki would have none of it.
The action restarted and Dodson began peppering Moraga with lightning fast shots. Moraga was noncommittal with his striking, staying out of Dodson's range. The action slowed to a crawl until Dodson snapped a few left hands to Moraga's face. Moraga finally went for a takedown, but it was quickly stuffed. Dodson landed more lefts and a hard kick as the opening round came to a close.
Dodson went with his left again to start the second round. The crowd chanted for The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 14 winner from nearby Jackson's MMA. Dodson threw a kick but Moraga responded with an overhand right.
"Magician" scored a quick takedown and the action returned to the feet. Dodson's pace slowed noticeably in the middle frame, and Moraga scored with a few strikes.
However, the end was nigh.
Dodson rushed forward with a huge knee that dropped Moraga, raining down a ton of shots that opened him up badly. After a brief examination period, the ringside physician wouldn't allow Moraga to answer the bell for the third round due to a badly broken nose.
It was an anticlimactic ending to a slightly disappointing fight that failed to see Dodson use the full potential of his lightning-fast skillset. Some (or a lot) of that may be attributed to his recent injuries, so he deserves a bit of leeway there. The knee he nailed Moraga with was a thing of beauty; Dodson maintains freakish knockout power for a man his size.
The win may or may not be enough to earn him a shot at Demetrious Johnson if "Mighty Mouse" gets past Ali Bagautinov in the main event of UFC 174 next Saturday night (June 14, 2014).
In a relatively shallow division like flyweight, Dodson will get another title shot sooner or later.
Moraga suffers another setback, but he shouldn't drop too fall. Flyweight is starved for contenders, and his only losses recently have been to the absolute best of the best in Johnson and Dodson. The young, gritty wrestler has a ton of time to develop his game with Benson Henderson at Arizona's MMA Lab, so the future is still very bright for Moraga.
John Dodson kept his momentum rolling with a stoppage win over John Moraga at UFC Fight Night 42. Will ‘Magician' ever make Demetrious Johnson's title disappear from his ‘Mighty' grasp?