UFC on Fox 6: A Fan's Guide to the Johnson vs. Dodson Fight Card
On Saturday night, the UFC provides fans with their first Fox offering of the year. How will they follow up the critically acclaimed UFC on Fox 4 and UFC on Fox 5 events? By giving fans a title fight on free TV, as well as some can't miss fights that feature legendary talent.
Coming to us from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, UFC on Fox 6 is a hotly-anticipated card that is headlined by a UFC flyweight championship fight between Demetrious Johnson and Ultimate Fighter winner John Dodson.
Also on the card is a stellar matchup between PRIDE legend Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and fast-rising prospect Glover Teixeira. There are also a pair of fights on the main card that have title implications in the featherweight and lightweight divisions.
Here’s a fan’s guide to that fight and to the rest of the card.
It's Do-or-Die for Ryan Bader
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When life knocks you down, you get up, brush yourself off and try again.
That is exactly what Ryan Bader is going to have to do on Saturday night when he meets Vladimir Matyushenko on the FX preliminary card.
Bader was doing a solid job of rebuilding momentum last year. However, Lyoto Machida pitched a no-hitter against "Darth" during their UFC on Fox 4 contest, which left Bader unconscious early in the second round.
However, if Bader cannot get past his veteran opponent, he will have lost four fights in a six-fight stretch. Pretty awful when you consider that this guy was once considered to be the future of the light heavyweight division.
A Dark Horse at Lightweight Will Emerge from T.J. Grant vs. Matt Wiman
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One-time welterweight T.J. Grant has been flawless since dropping down to 155 pounds. With a 3-0 record in the UFC's most stacked division, he has been given a step up in competition against the always dangerous Matt Wiman.
Wiman has been a wrecking ball as of late, losing only once in his last six fights. The sole loss came in a fight against Dennis Siver, where the margin of victory was about as slim as they come.
Whichever fighter emerges victorious will have themselves an argument for fighting a member of the division's Top 10.
Clay Guida Starts Fresh at 145 Pounds
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Longtime lightweight and tremendously popular fighter Clay "The Carpenter" Guida is back in action on Saturday night. This time around, the always-energetic brawler steps into the cage as a featherweight.
Guida was able to build momentum on several occasions, but constantly fell short in important matchups. For that reason, The Carpenter has never competed for UFC gold, despite 16 appearances and wins over the likes of Anthony Pettis, Nate Diaz and Takanori Gomi.
He meets Hatsu Hioki on the FX preliminary card.
Ricardo Lamas Is Riding Major Momentum
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Speaking of Hioki...
The only loss in his last 16 fights had come by way of an extremely controversial split decision in 2009, and the Japanese star was 2-0 inside the Octagon. Last year, Hioki was considered the top contender for Jose Aldo's featherweight championship, but he turned down the fight in hopes of getting one more fight under his belt before cashing in the golden opportunity.
That would prove to be a costly mistake, as Hioki was upset by former WEC competitor Ricardo Lamas, and lost all of the momentum on his side.
Now, it is Lamas who appears to be on the verge of contendership. The Chicago native is 3-0 since dropping to featherweight, and prior to the Hioki win, he choked out contender Cub Swanson.
Erik Koch Fights for the First Time Since Being Demoted from "Challenger" Status
Lamas' opponent is none other than Erik Koch.
Don't know who Koch is? That's ok. Most people don't.
Erik Koch was unexpectedly announced as the next challenger for Jose Aldo's featherweight championship at UFC 149. "New Breed" holds a professional record of 13-1, although his biggest career win came in a fairly forgettable decision over Jonathan Brookins.
Many questioned the decision, although with Hatsu Hioki turning down the fight and few featherweights having a quality win streak behind them, Koch was apparently deemed the best of the rest.
A title fight never came to fruition. Aldo was injured before UFC 149, so the event was postponed to UFC 153. However, Koch then got injured and the fight was scrapped altogether.
On Saturday night, Koch appears for the first time since being deemed a title challenger. He will need an impressive win over Lamas if he wants to reclaim that status.
Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis Should Crown the Next Lightweight Contender
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Alongside UFC champion Benson Henderson, lightweights Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis have done a bang-up job of creating an argument that WEC fighters are superior to those from the UFC.
On Saturday night, "Cowboy" and "Showtime" meet in a bout fueled by bad blood and title implications. With each man carrying a winning streak that includes highlight-reel knockouts over UFC notables, it is widely expected that the winner will fight for UFC gold in 2013.
This fight has been pegged as a can't-miss contest between two of the most exciting fighters in the business. Make sure to tune in to the Fox broadcast for this battle that promises fireworks.
Glover Teixeira Could Be the Next Big Thing at Light Heavyweight
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To anyone who is new to the UFC, Glover Teixeira is a fighter to keep your eye on. In 2012, the Brazilian made his UFC debut and scored two completely dominant victories over well-regarded opponents Kyle Kingsbury and Fabio Maldonado.
The Maldonado fight proved to be one of the most merciless beatings in UFC history, as Glover landed monstrous punches and elbows that would batter his opponent to a point where his face resembled a Picasso illustration.
On Saturday night, Teixeira meets former UFC champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, and despite his lack of experience against elite competition, oddsmakers have the prospect as more than a 3-to-1 favorite.
'Rampage' Jackson Has Bad Blood with UFC; Last Fight on His Contract
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Rampage Jackson might be the most popular light heavyweight in UFC history who is not named Chuck Liddell. His fanbase is full of hardcore followers who love his over-the-top antics, trademark howl and tendency to body slam opponents into unconsciousness.
Unfortunately, that apparently doesn't translate into a happy relationship with his employers at the UFC.
Jackson was gifted a title bout against Jon Jones at UFC 135, and he was dominated by the younger champion. Apparently, that wasn't enough to make "Rampage" feel respected by the UFC.
These days, Jackson cannot wait to complete the final fight on his contract and end his relationship with the UFC.
Despite asking for high-profile rematches against either Shogun Rua or Forrest Griffin, Rampage was stuck with an undesirable matchup against very dangerous prospect Glover Teixeira. It is a fight that few expect him to win. Not exactly the sendoff that a popular stud like Jackson deserves.
Post-UFC, Rampage has talked about heading into boxing, although Bellator has displayed interest in acquiring his services.
John Dodson Is the Only TUF Contestant to Get a Title Shot Since Season 5
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There is a lot of reason to believe that The Ultimate Fighter has been diluted in recent seasons. Not only are multiple seasons of the show airing simultaneously across the globe, but non-title contenders like Roy Nelson and "Mayhem" Miller are being afforded the opportunity to coach the program.
Not only that, but with show winners like Mac Danzig, Efrain Escudero and James Wilks falling flat inside the Octagon, the later seasons do not appear to be producing the high-quality stars as before.
Season 14 winner John Dodson looks to put that school of thinking to rest when he challenges Demetrious Johnson for the UFC flyweight championship in the evening's main event.
Dodson is the only fighter from any season after the fifth installment to get a title opportunity. That season saw title challengers in the form of both Nate Diaz and Gray Maynard.
Demetrious Johnson Is Fighting an Opponent with Better Accuracy & Power
CagePotato recently published an excellent analysis of the striking prowess of the flyweight division. It measured a fighter's knockdown ratio, accuracy of power head strikes and striking pace.
In a result that might surprise you, challenger John Dodson actually has higher accuracy than champion Demetrious Johnson, who is acclaimed for his incredible pace and accuracy.
Pace is shockingly another category where Dodson has put up better numbers. While "Mighty Mouse" outstrikes his opponents at a ratio slightly above 1-to-1, Dodson is close to 1.4-to-1.
Not only that, but the data shows us that Dodson has the highest ratio of knockdowns to power punches in the division.
Keep in mind that these numbers only reflect flyweight fights occurring in the UFC. The reason that is important is because Johnson has faced the highest ranked flyweights on the planet in the form of Ian McCall and Joseph Benavidez. Dodson has met neither man in the cage.