Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight knockout artists John Dodson and Eddie Wineland will duel this Saturday (April 22, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 108 inside Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
Dodson has been a top contender for many years, but his current position is something of an unknown. At this point, Dodson doesn’t have any particularly relevant wins at Bantamweight, nor can he move back down to 125 pounds and hope to scrap with “Mighty Mouse” again. Luckily, this match up can help figure out his place in the Bantamweight pecking order.
Meanwhile, Wineland has bounced back from a pair of setbacks and injuries to the tune of two straight knockout wins. He’s not back in the title mix yet, but the veteran would be well on his way with a victory in this match up.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Zach Machovsky (UFC 187), John Moraga (UFC Fight Night 42), Jussier Formiga (UFC on FX 5)
Key Losses: John Lineker (UFC Fight Night 96), Demetrious Johnson (UFC 191, UFC on FOX 6)
Keys to Victory: Dodson has long been one of the heaviest punchers in the lighter weight divisions. An excellent athlete, Dodson waits for the perfect counter punch opportunity before shutting out the lights of his opponents.
In this match up, Dodson would be wise to attempt his Lineker gameplan once again. Opposite the brawler, Dodson worked the outside, maintaining his distance and peppering his foe with quick punches and hard kicks. Then, as Lineker grew frustrated and lunged in, Dodson would nail his foe with sharp counters.
Lineker was able to scrape out a split decision because of his iron jaw, a trait which Wineland cannot match.
If Dodson works the outside, there’s a very real chance he can convince Wineland to over-extend. When able to work from his ideal range and counter himself, Wineland is actually a difficult man to hit, but his awkward positioning leaves him terribly exposed if he does over-extend himself.
Dodson is just the man to capitalize.
Key Wins: Frankie Saenz (UFC on FOX 20), Takeya Mizugaki (UFC on FOX 22), Brad Pickett (UFC 155)
Key Losses: Bryan Caraway (UFC on FOX 16), Johny Eduardo (UFC Fight Night 40), Renan Barao (UFC 165)
Keys to Victory: Despite his low hands and dangerously high chin, Wineland is a very effective and dangerous striker. He excels as a boxer, using his lanky frame to great use by pecking at his foe with range strikes before stepping back and setting up the counter right hand knockout.
He’s flattened 14 of his prior foes.
In this match up, patience will be a definite key for Wineland. As outlined above, rushing in would be a truly terrible idea, as Dodson’s left hand will be waiting on a hair trigger.
Instead, Wineland needs to make the most of his size advantage. Wineland possesses a hard, fast jab that should be used to great effect. Additionally, Dodson is not much of an offensive wrestler, meaning Wineland should be willing to let his kicks fly opposite the Southpaw.
Both men do their best work as counter punchers. If Wineland can outwork his foe at a long distance, it will be Dodson who is forced to close the distance with a heavy shot waiting for him on each attempt.
Bottom Line: It’s an excellent collision of veteran knockout artists.
Dodson’s pair of recent Bantamweight fights have done little to show where he belongs, as Manny Gamburyan was already close to retirement, and Lineker is a fellow Flyweight who simply cannot diet. Wineland is a proven veteran at 135 pounds, so the result of this bout will show us Dodson’s path moving forward.
With a win, Dodson maintains his position as a relevant and ranked Bantamweight. It’s unlikely, but he can continue to pursue a title shot. However, a loss leaves him without a true home, as he may be forced back to Flyweight to remain a top athlete.
The stakes are quite high for Wineland as well. He’s proven to have some spark left since his slump, but Wineland has not yet shown himself to be an elite fighter once again. If he can defeat Dodson, Wineland will regain his spot in the rankings and should deserve another top foe next. On the other hand, Wineland is nearing the end of a long and difficult career. It’s very possible that he cannot fully recover from losing a step, meaning the Top 10 of the division is no longer in his reach.
At UFC Fight Night 108, John Dodson and Eddie Wineland will throw down. Which fighter will remain standing when the dust settles?