At UFC on FX 5 Friday night, John "The Magician" Dodson and Jussier Da Silva delivered an underrated fight that saw more a tactical "chess match" style of battle than what some MMA fans regularly witness.
With a crack at reigning UFC flyweight champion Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson up for grabs, Dodson and Da Silva spent time implementing fancy footwork and a hit-and-run plan of attack. Partial reasoning for this came by virtue of Dodson's takedown defense and respect for the clearly improving striking of Da Silva, who packed on some muscle and showed some good footwork of his own.
In reality, only one real knock can apply somewhat to Dodson's performance, and that knock comes in the form of Dodson's flat-footed lateral movement, but in outstriking "Formiga", Dodson proved to do more with his flat-footed approach than what Formiga could do in attacking from angles.
Unfortunately for both flyweights, the crowd reaction suggests that nobody really cares how much one man did to the other, nor does anyone really care that Dodson knocked Formiga down twice, earned a second-round TKO victory, punched his ticket to a shot at Johnson's belt and became the first man to finish the Brazilian prospect.
Is that a personal knock on the fighters themselves? Absolutely not.
In fact, let this author state for the record that he is, was and will remain a proponent for the flyweight division and its development in the sport.
At the end of the day, however, a new division by any other name is still a new division and that's OK. Every active division in the sport needed to develop and earn their reputation as an electrifying source for top-tier MMA action.
Some can point to the cage size or the lack of power when looking at flyweight fights as "point fights," but the public could've easily seen a lack of power as a detriment with the lightweights when the 155-pounders first rose to prominence. I personally find it hard to believe that the Octagon stays the same size for every single fight card, even if it looks huge every now and then.
With time, the flyweights will grow, and when they do, they will grow on fans. For now, however, we must wait and give the flyweights that time to grow.
Until we let the division develop, more fights will deliver tactical chess matches like Dodson vs. Formiga and fewer fans will appreciate the beauty of the action right before our eyes.