The UFC returns to network television Saturday night with UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Dodson. The card takes place from Chicago’s United Center.
In the main event, UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson puts his title on the line against John Dodson. This will be the first title defense for Johnson since winning the belt in 2012.
Also, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson takes on Glover Teixeira in what will likely be the final Octagon appearance for Jackson. In a key lightweight tilt, Anthony Pettis returns to face Donald Cerrone.
Demetrious Johnson (c) vs. John Dodson for the UFC flyweight title
Dana: This match should top all other title bouts in terms of total strikes landed if it goes the distance, as Demetrious Johnson and John Dodson are two of the quickest fighters in all of MMA. Johnson has a little more big-match experience, as the UFC flyweight champion has battled Dominick Cruz in a main event before. Dodson, meanwhile, is in his first headliner act, but was cast into the spotlight while winning The Ultimate Fighter. If the fight ends early, it will be Dodson connecting with a massive punch. If it goes the distance, Johnson will have picked the contender apart over 25 minutes. John Dodson via third round TKO
Joseph: Demetrious Johnson’s first title defense comes against someone who has solid power for a flyweight. Many have criticized this division for the lack of knockouts. This could be a breakout fight as both look to make a statement for themselves and the other flyweights. In what should be a quick paced bout, I think John Dodson will use his strength to take the win and championship. Expect lots of scrambles and offense from both fighters. That running flip Dodson does off the Octagon’s cage is a sight to see and a great bonus if he does win. John Dodson via decision
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Glover Teixeira
Dana: When I first started following MMA, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson was a a big reason why. He seemed to have it all: the look, the title, the trademark howl. However, all three of those things disappeared over the past year. Years and years of fighting seemed to catch up to Jackson all at once, but the former champ looks to have his body back after an intense training camp. He’ll never it, and every bit of that trademark howl to topple Glover Teixeira. The Brazilian has wrecked two straight opponents inside the Octagon, and has excellent coaches in Chuck Liddell and others. However, I just can’t go against a motivated “Rampage.” Quinton “Rampage Jackson via second round TKO
Joseph: The end of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s UFC career is upon us. It seems like he stopped caring in his last fight when he showed up over 10 pounds the allowed weight. I think he got that taste of Hollywood and is ready to move on with that part of his career. Glover Teixeira comes in looking impressive and should be a real threat to the light heavyweight division. For Jackson, he’s just going out there to finish his contract, while Teixeira is hungry to move up the division’s ladder. This one should be all offense from Teixeira. Glover Teixeira via second round TKO
Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis
Dana: This could easily be a main event fight on other cards, but it’s not even the co-main for Saturday night. As MMA fans, we are all in for a treat, as Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis bring it each and every time they compete. Pettis will have to shake off the nearly year-long absence from competition, but being such a young fighter, I feel he’ll be able to overcome that. Cerrone, meanwhile, needs a signature win to get back in the title hunt. He was unable to solve Nate Diaz when they competed in 2011, and this is another opportunity to stake his claim to the No. 1 contendership. Anthony Pettis via split decision
Joseph: Here we have two WEC stars, in a fight that seems long overdue. I think Pettis’ almost yearlong time away from the Octagon could be the factor that decides the winner. I’m expecting them to feel each other out in the first round and come out swinging by the second. Cerrone comes in with the momentum and I can’t see him slowing down as he gets closer to a championship shot. Pettis could shock me and pull off some crazy knockout, like the one against Benson Henderson. “Cowboy” is on a roll and ready for a possible third encounter with Henderson. Donald Cerrone via third round TKO