In a battle of former No. 1 contender flyweights -- both of whom are looking to make their way back to champion Demetrious Johnson --John Dodson made the most of his home soil fight in Albuquerque. He defeated John Morago via
As expected, the movements were quick, the pace was frantic, and the technical side of things was flashing at warp speed. The Johnson-Winkeljohn fighter and hometown favorite Dodson circled Moraga in the first round, changing levels with rapid footwork, landing his left hand in isolation and in volume. Moraga, the one-time Arizona State wrestler, wasn't able to get Dodson to the canvas, but did land some good shots to Dodson's body.
In the second round, Dodson, pogoing outside of Moraga's range, began as he did in the first -- but a minute-and-a-half in the action picked up. Moraga landed a couple of big shots after catching a Dodson kick. Dodson parlayed that into a takedown, but the two bounced back up and continued the frenetic exchange. Dodson, perhaps more tentative after eating the punches, was less aggressive than the Arizona Combat Sports fighter Moraga, who was beginning to find his range.
Towards the end of the round, though, Dodson came to life. He blasted Moraga with a huge left knee and went into assault mode, battering Moraga with a barrage of strikes on the fence. Moraga, who was bleeding profusely out of his nose, was apparently saved by the bell.
Only, he wasn't. Moraga was deemed unable to continue, and was unable to answer the third round bell. It was the first time the 30-year Moraga has been finished via strikes in 17 pro fights.
"Man, I was trying to sit down on my punches because I know Moraga, he is a gamer," he told Jon Anik in the post-fight interview. "He came out here willing to fight me in my hometown, in my own backyard, so you guys give it up to Moraga right quick.
"I was going in making sure, because I saw him dipping hard, and I was chasing him down trying to land that head kick and I ended up hitting him with the knee, so sorry it had to stop that way. I wanted to put him to sleep for you guys."
"You know what, I believe I've done enough," he said. "Whoever wins that title fight next week, look out for me! I'm the one who works for that belt. I'm bringing that home. I'm the world champion. Because I am the best in this division! I have the most power and everybody knows it. Let's see what happens!"
With the victory, Dodson improves to 16-6, while Moraga falls to 14-3.