In a high-profile main card, four WEC veterans emerged victorious, as Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson defended his flyweight title and three more rising stars made solid cases for title contention.
Demetrious Johnson vs. John Dodson
What would happen when two of the fastest men in the UFC met inside the Octagon? Though neither man was short on endurance, it was Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson who endured, defending his flyweight title against John Dodson’s attempts over five fast-paced rounds.
Johnson approached the fight in signature Mouse style: moving forward at a seemingly impossible rate, attacking with kicks and single shots while looking for the power double.
Early in the fight, Dodson’s power seemed to be getting the better of Johnson. Though Johnson managed to get takedowns against the fence in the early frames, Dodson sprawled and defended in the center of the Octagon. Yet Dodson’s left hand had even more dramatic results, dropping Johnson four times in the first two rounds.
But Johnson’s striking started to pick up at the end of the second, and he started to trade with Dodson on a more tit-for-tat basis. Dodson continued to impress with high-energy moves – including a flying knee that he bounced off the cage to deliver – but Johnson’s pressure was relentless, and Dodson eventually slowed, and he absorbed more and more body shots and short strikes, particularly against the fence.
Frequent tie-ups on the fence turned out to tilt the momentum in Johnson’s direction, as he began landing knees from the clinch with increasing accuracy. Despite one break early in the fourth for a knee to Dodson while he was downed, the clinch became the story of the fight in late rounds. Dodson tried for takedowns of his own, but Johnson controlled the fight, at one point palming Dodson’s head to keep it in place as he threw knee after knee. In the fifth, Johnson poured it on, hurting Dodson with knees, uppercuts
and a body shot against the fence and following up with still more Muay
Scores came in 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46 for Johnson in his first title defense, with all three judges giving Dodson the second round and two of them the first. Johnson remains unfinished in his MMA career, and the latest win bumps his record to 17-2-1; Dodson’s defeat is his first at flyweight and in the UFC, and he’s now 15-6.
"He hit me pretty good a couple of times," said the 125-pound champion.
"I was stunned but my head cleared very quick. I hit him with a lot of
knees late on but he’s very tough. That was a great fight and great
Dodson was as gracious in defeat as his opponent was in victory, saying: "I don’t think I won. I think it was close, and there was one round in it -- but you got to win those one rounds. I will be back in the title picture soon. I should have got out of that clinch better, but when I come back I will be better.”
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Glover Teixeira
After mowing through his last 17 opponents, light heavyweight Glover Teixeira faced his most dangerous and high-profile opponent yet: a motivated and angry Rampage Jackson. But for three rounds en route to a unanimous decision win, Teixeira proved what his mentor Chuck Liddell said: “He hits really hard and can take a punch.”
The big guys traded heavy leather on the feet for much of the fight. What started out slowly would explode into mad flurries. As if to tilt the scales in otherwise even exchanges, Teixeira easily scored a takedown during each of the three rounds, and also got style points by touching Jackson with a few high kicks.
Jackson’s boxing did look sharp, particularly in the second round, when he would meet Teixeira’s long jabs with incredibly fast counter combinations. And even as he started to fade and spend long stretches with hands down, he would explode back with hooks that kept Teixeira at bay even when Jackson appeared wounded. Teixeira landed all manner of punches to the body and head, and wobbled Rampage near the end of the first round with a left hook followed by a high kick. But when Teixeria’s overhand rights would whiff, Rampage was particularly dangerous with his counters. Rampage connected throughout, and it was his giant hooks that had the most impact.
But both men took the best the other had to offer, with Rampage goading Glover to come forward in the second and Glover returning the gesture in the third. Though Teixeira – who’s tapped six of his opponents – toyed with submission attempts and ground-and-pound, each time he got things to the mat, he appeared to back off and let Rampage back to his feet.
In the final few minutes of the fight, Jackson was clearly exhausted, walking slowly around the cage with his arms down. Teixeira used almost no energy or defense in picking up his second single-leg takedown of the third round (to the resounding boos of the crowd), then landed some elbows and allowed Rampage back up. He followed Jackson around the cage until there were thirty seconds left, then got another easy single-leg, hopped into mount and dropped elbows and hammerfists until the bell.
Judges gave the bout to Teixeira 30-27 twice and 29-28 once (with one judge giving Rampage the third frame). Teixeira, who made his UFC debut in May of 2012 after a lengthy delay due to visa issues, is now 20-2 in his career, 3-0 in the UFC, and determined to fight for a title in the next two years.
“That was a tough fight, he hits very hard," said Texieria. "Jon Jones just came by and said ‘Great fight, you and me will have a great fight.' After all those years I couldn’t fight the big names because of my visa issues, it is great to fight the biggest names in the sport. I want to be UFC champion, but there are other guys there who are at the same level as me. I want to fight them and prove I deserve a title shot.”
The loss is Rampage’s third in a row, and whether or not the bout turns out to be his last in the UFC, he departs with a record of 32-11 and a performance he’s proud of. “I really wanted to win. I always said I would rather lose a good fight than win a boring-ass one, and the fans are telling me that was an exciting fight. So I guess I’m sad but not so sad. I fought like Rampage tonight. He came to fight and I respect that dude. I can’t believe he took me down so easy, he’s very talented."
Watch highlights from Rampage vs. Teixeira
Anthony Pettis vs. Donald Cerrone
A long-anticipated match between WEC-turned-UFC lightweight stars Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Anthony “Showtime” Pettis turned out to be a shorter affair than anticipated. After some brief feeling out, Pettis landed several kicks to the body of Cerrone, dropping him and ending the fight with the fourth.
A quick exchange right off the bell knocked Pettis backward, and he circled cautiously at first, zooming in to deliver lightning-fast fistic combinations from the inside. Cerrone stalked forward mainly with kicks, but it’s when he backed Pettis against the fence that Pettis unleashed a signature flashy move that let fans know it was, in fact, Showtime. In a move he claims to have never even landed in practice, Pettis jumped into the air, using his foot to push off the cage and land a knee to Cerrone’s face, punctuating it with a left hook. Two more body kicks to Cerrone followed, and then Pettis – who’d switched to southpaw – swung the finishing blow, a liver kick that dropped Cerrone and left him unable to defend the ensuing hammerfists.
Pettis’ stoppage – his second in a row via kick – clocked in at 2:35. The 14-2 fighter, who was the final WEC 155-pound champion in 2010, lobbied for a better-late-than-never title shot in his post-fight interview. The loss bumps Cerrone to a 19-5 (1 NC) record, with his only other loss in his last ten outings coming at the hands of title contender Nate Diaz.
The normally mild-mannered Pettis had plenty to say after the win: ““Knocking his ass out in the first round was great,” he said. “He’s talked nothing but sh*t for a year while I’ve been out hurt, he’s said I’m scared of him. I had to sit there and listen to that for a year. And to wreck him in the first couple minutes like that was more important than anything else. Now I never need to hear about that guy again. I want my title shot. I should have had it years ago.
Watch Pettis' post-fight interview
Erik Koch vs. Ricardo Lamas
With injuries taking him out of action and top-contender status in 2012, Erik Koch made his return to the Octagon Saturday night, only to be stopped -- for the first time in his career -- by Chicago’s own surging featherweight Ricardo “The Bully” Lamas.
After a feeling-out process with both men landing leg shots and attempting high kicks, the first round played out largely on the cage with Lamas working for takedowns and Koch sprawling and fighting to defend. Lamas did use a Koch limb to drag things to the mat twice, but both times, Koch popped right back up.
Round two went much the same was as round one, until Lamas slipped as he came forward. Koch pounced for a guillotine, and Lamas quickly secured top position. Lamas postured up and got some big body and head shots through, so Koch used his legs to pull Lamas deeper into his guard. Unable to find his reach on the feet against the lankier Koch, the ground proved to be a different story altogether – and a bloody one at that. From Koch’s open guard, Lamas landed giant fists and two massive elbows that opened up Koch’s face and triggered a stoppage at 2:32 of the round.
Both WEC imports boast records of 13-2 after the fight; Lamas now holds four wins and no losses in the UFC. "Fighting at home in Chicago, sleeping in my own bed, having my friends and family with me all week, I’ve never felt so relaxed going into a fight. The crowd were amazing, they were in my corner," said Lamas. ". I’ve beat Cub Swanson, I’ve beat [Hatsu] Hioki and now I’ve beat Koch. All those guys were supposed to be fighting for the title at one point. I beat them all. I want the winner of Aldo vs Edgar next week."
Watch Lamas' post-fight interview
WEC Forever: UFC on FOX 6 Main Card Results
By Laura Gilbert January 26, 2013