UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Khabilov - John Dodson vs. John Moraga Preview and Prognostication

Photo by Esther Lin of MMA Fighting

John Dodson is a flyweight on the rise, and looking to earn himself another title shot. Is John Moraga good enough redeem himself from their previous unpaid bout?

John Dodson vs. John Moraga Flyweight

Seems like a solid, but odd co main event.

There's six fights on the main card.

Six fights on the main card????

Yea, Diego Sanchez vs. Ross Pearson.

Diego Sanchez is still fighting????

One conversation at a time. Dodson is a much better co main event than Sanchez vs. Pearson, but since we expect both guys to kill each other, guts beats out talent in the proper spotlight

I remember Dodson. He nearly killed the current bamtamweight champ didn't he?

And then some.

Dodson never really stood out before his time on TUF. Granted, his talents were always obvious. After all, Dodson flat out has unreal power in his fists. The kind of power that would translate across species. But he never seemed able to package his strengths in a way that suited his style. TUF seemed to give him a bit more direction. Then off to the all-violence team races he went.

For Moraga, this is a rematch of a bout they had in 2010. So he'll be looking for redemption after getting completely robbed in the first bout. Dodson rode out top control to earn a decision despite getting knocked down three time in the third round.

What??! Seriously?

This time they get to make money fighting each other.

No video of their first bout exists. In fact, this is all by design. Nemesis Fighting: MMA Global Invasion held their only show December 10, 2010 in Punta Cana, La Altagracie (Dominican Republic).  After the event got postponed by a storm, another storm took place. All the fighters were handed checks that would later all bounce. So nobody got paid, obviously.

The production company didn't get paid, so no footage was ever release. Tim Fields, an associate of the company, calls himself a scapegoat. Tickets for the event couldn't even be purchased until later that day...of the event. It should come as no shock that, according to one underground poster, the fight between Dodson and Moraga didn't even go to its allotted time because there were no judges, and the time of the rounds were done via mobile phone.

So yea...it was in 2010, but nothing in MMA shocks me.

Moraga is a +420 in some places. Good or bad?


According to Moraga, Dodson mostly backpedaled, which isn't inconceivable when you look at how Dodson used to fight.

Now...not so much. Dodson's brilliance is not in his one-two, which is what all the cool kids have these days. But in how he has it. Dodson's power alone isn't enough. He lands those power shots because he's able to teleport from side to side, and his movement confounds opponents because he does it all while executing textbook feints. Dodson's quick enough to catch you fail the punk test.

This is how I like to describe Dodson's efficiency on the feet; his ability to dominate the punk test. If you flinch, it's over. Dodson is rarely given enough credit for just how well he did against Johnson. While I don't know that he's improved enough to potentially beat Johnson, I do know that he still has the best chance of any flyweight. In addition, I almost feel like Johnson has to adjust more for Dodson's game in a rematch than Dodson has to adjust to Johnson's. Maybe I'm just being incredibly inarticulate like always, but if Dodson avoids the clinch, you're looking at a completely different fight.

I say all this because there's not much to say about Moraga's game. Moraga is a good fighter. He's got wrestling chops and deft boxing hands. But he doesn't stand out among the flyweight crowd. His wins over Ulysses Gomez and Chris Cariaso to earn him a shot at Demetrious Johnson will end up being something we look back on and say "my, how far we've come".

I'm not trying to highlight Moraga's strengths as much as I'm emphasizing the division's flaws. A tougher schedule, and I don't know that Moraga makes it. Nonetheless, this should end violently in Dodson's favor.

John Dodson by KO, round 2.

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