Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Rocktagon Recap of UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Dodson!

Featuring exploding eyeballs, lethal liver kicks and two jockeys engaged in mortal combat! 

I’m not really telling you kids anything you don’t know, but there sure are a lot of UFC cards going on these days. In fact, I almost forgot there was a UFC show going on a few hours before the thing kicked off, so there’s an outside shot that instead of reading this, you’d probably be reading about my latest trip to Alabama, and me getting the opportunity to see the world’s largest fireworks store and hold a bottle of “Dr. Wham” in my hand for like five seconds.

But, uh, it looks like we’ve got one of them there UFC on Fox cards, and since they are free events, I figured why the heck not and drove down to the local Chicago pizza place to catch the C-level mayhem on display. And ironically, this card is emanating from the land of Deep Dish, itself. Actually, that’s not even remotely ironic, but what the hell ever.

All right, fellas and gals, how about we jab our forks in the Alfredo-pesto-shrimp pie and get this recap a-going? Break out the extra sauce and rap music performed by teenage heroin-dealers, ‘cause it’s time for UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Dodson!

Our hosts are probably Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg. I really don’t know, because the managers couldn’t find the channel clicker until almost 8:20 PM, EST.

Featherweight Bout
Ricardo Lamas vs. Eric Koch 

At one point, Koch was scheduled for a title shot against Jose Aldo. That was a long, long time ago. In his first fight in about a year and half, Koch squares off against Ricardo Lamas, a Chicago native on a three fight winning streak in the Octagon. And, uh, no relation to Lorenzo, I think.

Lamas comes out looking for a head shot, and taking his cues from the Virtua Fighter 4 fighting engine, Koch responds with some low kicks. Lamas looks for a takedown, and lands some elbows in the process. Lamas can’t land a spinning back fist, but he manages to get Koch in a clinch before the round expires. With a few seconds left on the clock, he lands a takedown.

Koch with the low leg kick strategy to begin round two. Lamas takes a fall, and Koch swarms him (which I hear is also what happens if you fall down in a shower prison.) Lamas manages to get on top, and he starts raining some nasty elbows on his opponent. The first shot to the skull basically causes Koch’s eyeball to explode, as blood squirts halfway across the cage. The ref jumps in, and the hometown boy celebrates a stoppage victory.

Lightweight Bout
Anthony Pettis vs. Donald Cerrone

An interesting turn of events here, with the former WEC mainstays duking it out for a chance to go toe-to-toe with Benson Henderson…a guy both dudes have battled back in their World Extreme CageFighting days.

Right out the gate, Pettis tries for a cartwheel kick. Pettis throwing pretty much everything at Cerrone, including a couple of knees. At one point, he even does sort of a miniature version of the famed “Super Kick” when he springboards a knee off the cage and whacks Cerrone. Pettis rears back and drops Henderson with a nasty liver kick, swarms him with a few punches on the ground, and this one is all over.

Light Heavyweight Bout 
Quinton Jackson vs. Glover Teixeira 

It’s supposedly Jackson’s last fight in the UFC, while Teixeira is one of the hottest prospects in the division. Glover nails a takedown right off the bat, and the two swing wildly once things get vertical. No offense, but both of these guys look, well, a little flabby to be championship material. Some more exchanges, with Glover getting the best shots. Jackson’s attempt at a takedown fails miserably. Glover drops Rampage with a left. The Brazilian rattles of some good shots, but it’s not enough to completely take out the former UFC Lightweight champion.

Glover with a takedown to begin the second. Jackson trying to find a rhythm. Glover cuts him open with an uppercut. Jackson still looking for a takedown, and he’s still getting nowhere. Jackson taunts Glover a little, and Glover responds by peppering Quinton with shots until the round expires. 20-18 for Glover.

And another takedown from Glover as the third opens. Jackson fires back, but nothing substantial. Glover with a head kick, and another takedown. Glover throwing a grab bag of knees, uppercuts and low kicks now. Jackson looks extremely tired. Glover with yet another takedown, and he’s in the full mount. Glover just hammer fists “B.A. Baracus, 2010” as time expires.

A 30-27, across the board unanimous decision victory for Teixeira. Probably not the stellar performance he needs to earn title considerations anytime soon, but more than enough to make him a top ten light heavyweight fighter.

UFC Flyweight Championship Bout
Demetrious Johnson (Champion) vs. John Dodson (Challenger)

“Wow, those guys are really small,” says every single person at the pizza place when these two walk out. Dodson gets bonus points for wearing a Pop Rocks tee-shirt to the cage. Johnson with a high kick, and Dodson stuffs him. The two trade, and Johnson scores a takedown, feeding his diminutive foe a couple of knees as the round concludes.

Johnson with another takedown in round two. And another. Some high speed exchanging going on, and Dodson drops the champ with a left. Johnson looking for another takedown, but nothing. Dodson drops him again, and keeps battering the champion with lefts. Johnson tries desperately for a takedown, but Dodson simply ripostes with some knees, and we have ourselves a dead even fight heading into the third.

These two dudes, who combined weigh about 200 pounds, are fighting at hyper speed now. LOL moment of the night comes when Johnson knees Dodson right in his sack. Dodson misses a flying knee, and Johnson replies with a billion knees and right hands. Johnson with another takedown. A second takedown blocked, and Dodson rattles off a few good shots as the third ends. I’d give the slight edge to Dodson here.

Johnson with a quasi-illegal knee on the ground that isn’t called. Time out to give Dodson a vision test. Dodson comes out swinging, but Johnson is landing the better blows. Johnson just tearing up Dodson with those knee shots. Dodson bleeds pretty badly, as Johnson totally decimates him in the last minute of the round. The final round will ultimately determine the winner of the bout.

Johnson with a takedown, but he can’t do anything on the canvas. Both men back up, and Johnson looking for another attempt to grapple. Now Dodson with a takedown, but Johnson easily responds with a surplus of knee shots. Johnson has Dodson in the Thai clinch, and it’s knee-city. Johnson pretty much knees Dodson to death as the fight concludes. It’s a unanimous decision victory for Johnson, as the judges score the fight 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46 for the defending Flyweight Champion.

The Verdict? Eh, it was a pretty disappointing show, in my opinion. You can give the flyweight dudes all the technical props in the world, but the reality is that it’s kinda’ hard to get casual fans interested in watching dudes that are 5-foot-nothing wail on each other, with minimal threat of knockout, for half an hour. As talented as they may be, dudes like Johnson or Dodson will never get to headline a PPV, and they’ll never be a top draw for the business. The slow, flabby co-main event, I believe was a much more entertaining fight, with some historical antecedents in place that the main-fight just didn’t have. The hyper-violent finishes for the first two bouts were kinda’ cool, but they both ended so abruptly that you didn’t have time to soak in the true awesomeness of what you encountered. At the end of the day, this show will probably be remembered for how it set up some potentially awesome fights (Pettis vs. the Henderson/Melendez winner, Lamas vs. the Aldo/Edgar winner, Glover vs. somebody in the light heavyweight division that’s actually worth a shit, etc.) but as far as what you got out of this evening’s slate of fights?

All I’m going to say is, I reckon I got what I paid for.


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