The first flyweight title fight was met with lukewarm reactions by the fans at UFC 152. But Friday's main card battle of 125ers will eliminate any fears over the viability of the division and will steal the show in the process.
The Ultimate Fighter 14 winner John Dodson will welcome top-ranked flyweight Jussier da Silva to the UFC at this weekend's event on FX in a bout that may determine the first contender for inaugural champ Demetrious Johnson's belt. With such a big opportunity possibly at stake, expect both men to bring their A-game on Friday night.
Dodson has quickly become a fan favorite following his stint on the UFC's long-running reality show. Easily rolling over his TUF opponents, "The Magician" has translated this success to MMA's main stage with impressive back-to-back wins in his two fights for the promotion.
In his last bout, Dodson made his return to the then newly created flyweight division, taking on UFC newcomer Tim Elliott. The TUF winner, although suffering from an injured left hand, was still able to use his athleticism and striking accuracy to take home the unanimous decision.
A fully healthy Dodson will bring an even wider arsenal to the table against da Silva. "The Magician's" wrestling and increased strength at 125 will definitely be a challenge for the Brazilian.
Da Silva brings a completely different, yet deadly skill set, to the Octagon that will be interesting to see juxtaposed against Dodson's style.
"Formiga" is a serious submission threat on the ground, thanks to his training with the famed team Nova Uniao. With his only career loss coming to Ian McCall, da Silva has already proven himself as one of the top flyweights in the world.
When these two enter the Octagon, it will be a surefire, back-and-forth battle that could go anywhere.
If Dodson's gameplan is to try and strike with da Silva, expect a high-energy pace from the TUF alum with some creative attacks mixed in with his crisp strikes.
Da Silva will almost certainly look to take the fight to the ground, which may be even more entertaining than a stand-up battle. Dodson is quick in the scramble and has solid shots, but da Silva is a solid jiu-jitsu player who will constantly be attacking off his back with sweeps and submissions.
Regardless of where this fight goes, I expect viewers will be entertained by the outcome, as these 125ers will bring the energy and the action on Friday night, winning over some fans for the flyweight division in the process.