UFC on FX 5 Fight Card: John Dodson vs. Jussier da Silva Head-to-Toe Breakdown
Demetrious Johnson has emerged as the world's best flyweight with a win over Joseph Benavidez, but there are a number of 125-pound fighters looking to take the belt that hangs around his waist.
At UFC on FX 6, Johnson's first challenger will likely be determined in a bout between John Dodson and UFC newcomer Jussier da Silva.
Dodson is looking to become the first The Ultimate Fighter contestant to win a UFC championship since Rashad Evans. Meanwhile, Da Silva has won five straight fights and vacated his Shooto belt for a chance to pursue UFC gold.
Only one can earn the title shot against Johnson, so let's take a look at where the advantages lie for Dodson and Da Silva heading into this matchup.
Even among quick flyweights, John Dodson's speed makes him a difficult opponent to strike with.
One of the more athletic fighters competing in MMA, Dodson has recorded five knockouts in his career, including a stoppage against T.J. Dillashaw that crowned him a winner of The Ultimate Fighter reality show.
Jussier da Silva is a capable striker, having never been knocked out, but he doesn't have the technique to make up for the speed disadvantage he'll be facing against Dodson.
There's little doubt Da Silva will be in trouble if this fight stays standing for three rounds.
Jussier da Silva is one of the best flyweights in the world because of his ground game. However, he'll face a tough challenge in taking John Dodson to the canvas.
Dodson has not yet been taken down in his two appearances inside the Octagon. At Jackson's MMA, "The Magician" trains with some of the better wrestlers in the sport.
Even if Silva is able to clinch and trip Dodson, The Ultimate Fighter winner is the type who will immediately bounce right back up to his feet without giving his opponent time to secure the top position.
John Dodson has never been submitted, but he'll be in serious danger if he is forced to fight off his back for an extended period against Jussier da Silva.
In 14 wins, Da Silva has forced seven opponents to tap. The 27-year-old Brazilian is capable of beating just about any 125-pound fighter in the world when he is able to take his fights to the ground.
Taking Dodson down won't be easy, but Da Silva is capable of being the first to submit Dodson should he find a way to do so.
Edge: Da Silva
Competing inside the Octagon for the first time carries enough pressure alone. Making his UFC debut with a title shot on the line, Jussier da Silva will need nerves of steel to get off to a strong start.
Meanwhile, John Dodson has already won The Ultimate Fighter and picked up his first flyweight win inside the Octagon. Dodson has proven he won't falter under the big lights at UFC on FX 5.
Additionally, Dodson is one of the quickest fighters in all of MMA, whereas Da Silva is much slower when compared with top 125-pound fighters. Speed has proven critical in this division, and it could be the factor that decides the first flyweight title challenger.
This is a matchup designed to earn John Dodson a flyweight title shot.
The UFC would love to have the exciting The Ultimate Fighter winner wearing their 125-pound belt around his waist, so they've made a calculated decision on the opponent that could prove a stepping stone for Dodson to reach that goal.
Dodson has the takedown defense to avoid Jussier da Silva's dangerous ground game and the speed to out-strike his Brazilian opponent with relative ease.
There's certainly no guarantee Dodson will win his following fight against Demetrious Johnson to become flyweight champion, but he will defeat Da Silva to set up a meeting of the two quickest fighters in UFC history.
Dodson defeats Da Silva by decision.