Bust out your flannel and ironic mustache boys and girls, it’s time for a Portland edition of The Downes Side. If you’re looking for 100% organic, free range combat, the UFC will have it live from Moda Center. John Dodson and John Lineker, two of the hardest hitting bantamweights in the world, will be slinging some leather in the main event. We’ll analyze that fight and a few more. Grab some single origin coffee, a gluten free bagel and some homemade preserves, it’s fight time!
We begin in the middleweight division, live on UFC FIGHT PASS, with Nate Marquardt and Tamdan McCrory. Marquardt’s return to the UFC has been a bit rough. He’s 2-5 during that stint with all five of those losses by knockout. The “Barn Cat” McCrory had a six-year hiatus from the Octagon, and wants to make up for lost time. He won his return fight against Josh Samman, but comes off a KO loss to Krzysztof Jotko in June.
MORE FROM FIGHT NIGHT PORTLAND: Free Fights - Lineker vs Rivera | Dodson vs Gamburyan | Dodson has one-punch KO power | KO of the Week - Oliveira vs Hallman | Tamdan McCrory on a long road back | Brooks is Chicago Tough
Marquardt’s skills may have diminished, but he still possesses one-punch KO power. He holds his hands at his chest, doesn’t throw a lot of volume and exposes his chin when he retreats. This also makes him prone to KO losses. Jotko may have given him the first KO loss of his career, but McCrory has some tendencies that are a cause for concern. His tall, upright stance makes him an easy target for an overhand right – Marquardt’s favorite punch. McCrory was able to get in dominant positions against Samman by scrambling or sweeping after he was taken down. Marquardt may have lost a step or two, but he still has above average takedown defense. Marquardt struggles with speed and that’s not one of the Barn Cat’s best attributes. Marquardt shows off his power with a second round knockout.
Next, we move to featherweight for Hacran Dias and Andre Fili. A Novo Uniao product, Dias can make a jump into the top 10 with a win. He has 12 career finishes, but all six of his UFC fights have gone to decision. Fili is another 145-pound prospect who hasn’t strung together a winning streak to make the jump into the elite end of the division.
Both fighters have very different striking styles. Dias has a heavy, traditional Muay Thai stance that emphasizes low kicks and power punch combos. He overreaches on many of those punches, but he’s never been finished in his career. Fili stays light on his feet and has a more wide open, surprising form of attack. This makes him harder to plan for, but he also wastes a lot of movement. Fatigue was one of the main reasons Yair Rodriguez was able to finish him in his last fight. Dias may be predictable, but he’s reliable. That makes him an unlikely choice for prom king, but a solid choice for this fight. You can’t forget the fundamentals and Dias shows why with a decision win.
We move up to lightweight for Will Brooks and Alex Oliveira. A former champion in Bellator and currently riding a nine-fight win streak, Brooks successfully debuted in the UFC with a win over Ross Pearson in July. After losing to Donald Cerrone, Oliveira came back to defeat James Moontasri. Plus, he was allowed to keep his “Cowboy” nickname, so at least he has that, too.
Despite strong wrestling credentials, Brooks has fashioned himself a striker as of late. He stands heavy in his stance and uses his powerful legs to create a lot of force. Defensively, he prefers to play the matador role. He would rather move and dodge than hold his ground and block. He can get too loose at times, though, and create opportunities for counter attacks. He also pauses after attacking to admire his work. By contrast, Oliveira holds his hands at his waist and swings much more freely. He also showed a totally different style against Moontasri, preferring to push him against the fence and rely on in-fighting. Either way, neither one of those methods of attack will work against Brooks. “Ill Will” is shown some good will by the judges as he takes home the decision victory.
JOHN LINEKER VS. JOHN DODSON
Time for the main event! John Lineker may have had some difficulties at flyweight, but he hasn’t slowed down since moving back to bantamweight. He’s won five in a row, including a first round KO of Michael McDonald in July. John Dodson has also decided to return to the bantamweight division. He only needed 37 seconds to dispatch of Manny Gamburyan, and could move to the title contention shortlist with a win.
Both fighters are known for their heavy-handed knockout wins, but they go about them in different ways. Dodson has that rare mix of speed and power. He likes to stay on the outside and then sprint in with his left hand. Lineker prefers to slowly stalk his opponents into a corner and then let his hands go. What they do share in common is the same weakness – pressure. Demetrious Johnson crowded Dodson and prevented him from using his explosiveness. Lineker also struggles to fight moving backward. Despite all their power-punching prowess, I don’t see either fighter getting finished. There will be some close calls, but I expect this fight to have a lot of back and forth. With that being the case, you have to favor the more active fighter. It may seem counterintuitive, but that’s Lineker (5.68 significant strikes/minute compared to 3.17). Lineker has his “Hands of Stone” raised as he picks up the judges’ decision.
That wraps up another Downes Side that even a hipster could enjoy. Follow me on Twitter @dannyboydownes. Also, don’t forget to leave your own predictions, thoughts, favorite farmers market and other things you enjoy ironically on the page here. Nobody better say PBR.