As far as Demetrious Johnson was concerned, the scouting report on John Dodson was to take him into deep waters, sure that Dodson could not carry his explosiveness into the final moments of a tense fight. And as the UFC on FOX 6 flyweight title bout began, it soon became clear that Johnson would have to be right. As Dodson got off to a strong start, Johnson's room for error narrowed until there was almost none left.
When Johnson was knocked down in the second, his challenge grew. But slowly, the tide turned. The spring in Johnson's legs lessened, and the explosion on his punches flattened to a lesser pop. And that was Johnson's time to take over. Time to shine.
Those final 10 minutes -- the "championship rounds" -- were all his. Johnson is one of the rarest breeds in fight sports who can fight at maximum RPMs from beginning to end. And when Dodson couldn't keep up, Johnson took total control.
Battering Dodson from the clinch with knees to the head and body, Johnson dominated the fourth and fifth rounds, and captured a unanimous decision at the United Center in Chicago.
After a close opening three rounds, the fourth and fifth went like this: Johnson landed 117 strikes, and Dodson managed just 28. There was a bit of controversy involved, as an illegal strike by Johnson against Dodson while he was in a three-point stance could have led to a point deduction, but referee John McCarthy decided against it.
All of the action from that point on was a sea change from what came before, when Dodson looked settled in and fully capable of handling Johnson's speed. From the opening bell, Dodson (15-5) ran out to the center of the cage and proceeded to land sharp strikes as Johnson attempted to move into striking range. It culminated in a left cross that briefly dropped Johnson. That was Dodson's best opportunity of the night, and he lied in wait, trying to land the finishing blow. He landed another big left about 20 seconds later, but Johnson was able to hang on, and he recovered brilliantly between rounds.
All three judges scored the final three rounds for the champion.
"I got dazed a little but I'm in great shape," said Johnson, whose first title defense made him 17-2-1. "It''s going to happen. it's like going swimming; you're going to get splashed."
Within 60 seconds, Johnson was back with the same quick footwork that marks his style, and Dodson soon began to fade. Johnson's pressure offense, particularly from the clinch, sealed his win.