A truly amazing fight between former Flyweights turned Bantamweights, John Lineker and John Dodson, is going down in Portland, Oregon on Saturday night. While the 11:00 ET is not fun, the thought of a fight between Lineker and Dodson will be worth staying up late to watch. They are without a doubt two of the most exciting fighters in the division, and maybe even the entire UFC. The winner of this fight will very likely vault into a top contender fight at 135 to determine the next challenger for Dominick Cruz, or whoever happens to hold the belt down the road. Both Lineker and Dodson pack tremendous power to go with their speed, with Lineker possibly having more power while Dodson holds a definite advantage in the speed department.
A lot of the talk surrounding Lineker's move up to Bantamweight has been that his power has translated to his new division. That appeared to have been the case for Dodson as well when he quickly destroyed Manny Gamburyan in just 37 seconds back in April to put the rest of the Bantamweight Division on notice. Lineker's current run at Bantamweight combined with Dodson's last victory have setup a clash between the two to determine who can get people talking and interested in the winner receiving a title shot.
There are many ways to look at this fight and how this will play out. Dodson will probably look to keep the fight at a pace that is more to his liking. While he is very fast, he doesn't particularly like to fight at a lightning-fast pace. He will look to attack Lineker in spurts and not go into the fight with the awful gameplan used by both Francisco Rivera and Michael McDonald, a strategy that didn't get either of them past the first round. Deciding to simply stay in the pocket and trade with Lineker until somebody goes down might as well mean giving Lineker a Christmas gift. Lineker does not shy away from being hit and engaging in an all-out brawl with his opponent, and that kind of mentality makes his opponents feel a sense of being trapped. They try to simply throw back just to get him off and have some space to move around. The worst thing Dodson could do is that and keeping his back to the fence without using his speed to frustrate Lineker and force Lineker to go after him.
Lineker missing weight yet again to make it a total of five times that he has failed to show up to the scale on weight in his UFC career does put a small damper on this extremely exciting bout, and he most certainly needs to get this problem under control. This problem was supposed to be eliminated when he finally moved up from Flyweight to Bantamweight. His problem making weight was the only thing that held him back from getting an opportunity to challenge Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson for the UFC Flyweight Championship.Dodson, on the other hand, had two opportunities to take the title away from Johnson and lost both fights. The first fight, which took place in early 2013, was a very close fight with Dodson having serious success in the earlier rounds including scoring multiple knockdowns against the champion. Johnson took the championship rounds and earned the close decision win. A rematch that took place a little over a year ago was a one-sided affair in favor of DJ, and with two losses to the current champion, Dodson decided to make the move back up to 135.
I am extremely excited to see this fight happen tonight, and personally, I hope Dodson can come out with the win. The odds indicate that it really could go either way. Dodson is a slight favorite, but it seems like there are quite a lot of believers in John Lineker. He continues to be his own worst enemy by repeatedly failing to get his weight under control, and it's hard to believe that the UFC is all that pleased with these problems, and it being a main event fight makes matters even worse. I was ready to see this fight as soon as I saw it was announced for this card. It is a strong candidate to be the "Fight of the Night," though it could also end very quickly and violently, which wouldn't surprise anyone with John Lineker's name attached to it.