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Round 1: Chris Tognoni is the third man in the cage for this main card opener. Dvalishvili comes out with a spinning backfist that Dodson easily evades and we are off. Dodson is circling outside, being patient and looking for the counter. Dvalishvili isn’t rushing in but trying to slowly corral Dodson to the fence, but Dodson isn’t allowing it. Two minutes in and nothing of note has landed or even been thrown. Now Dvalishvili throws and overhand right and drives in on a single-leg. Dvalishvili has Dodson against the fence but Dodson is keeping upright for now. Dvalishvili slides past to the back and has the body lock and briefly gets a takedown but Dodson is right back up. Now Dvalishvili is driving knees into the hamstrings of Dodson. Dvalishvili throwing a ton of knees and Dodson seems content to take them for fear of getting take down. Dodson finally manages to separate the hands and get free and they’re back at rage with just under a minute to go. Dodon back on the outside and Jon Anik informs us that he has only thrown 11 strikes in this round. Dodson throws a few punches and a head kick to up that number as the round ends.
MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 Dvalishvili.
Round 2: In the corner, Dodson complains that Dvalishvili was just hanging onto him and his corner effectively tells him, “yes, that’s what he is going to do if you don’t stop him.” Round two starts like round one did, with Dvalishvili showing a lot of motion without much action and Dodson looking for the counter. 50 seconds in, Dvalishvili grabs an ankle but Dodson shows excellent balance and lands a good left hand. Dvalishvili back to pressuring, and he shoots a double that is deep and forces Dodson to the cage. Dvalishvili lifts Dodson into the air and marches him to the center of the cage but as soon as he gooes to complete the takedown, Dodson forces a scramble and is back on his feet and at distance. Back at range, Dvalishvili goes spinning backfist that misses but lands a good right hand follow up. Dodson just does not have enough offense. Dvalishvili drives in on another takedown and Dodson is against the cage. Same story as before, Dvalishvili lifts Dodson and goes for the takedown but Dodson instantly gets up. Dodson lands a good low kick and that’s his best shot of the night. Dodson being a little more active now but unable to land anything clean. As the round ends, Dodson lands a good knee when Dvalishvili changes levels but Dvalishvili completes the takedown as the horn sounds.
MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 Dvalishvili, 20-18 Dvalishvili overall.
Round 3: In the corner, Dvalishvili’s corner is feeling confident, as they should be. Dvalishvili and Dodson shake hands to start the third and then just scream at each other? That was odd. Get hype, I guess. Dvalishvili is back to his game plan, pressuring but this time Dodson actually lands a good counter and shucks a takedown off. Dvalishvili lands a solid lead right and that’s a punch that is starting to find a home for him as Dodson is worried about the takedowns. Another right hand from Dvalishvili who immediately drops to a double leg. He gets Dodson’s butt to the mat for half a second and Dodson is just right back up. The man is a human spring. Dvalishvili back to pressure and shoots another takedown but Dodson shucks it off. There just isn’t enough offense from Dodson. Dodson finally lands a big left hand but Dvalishvili eats it well. Dvalishvili is keeping a fantastic pace so far. Dodson is starting to swing heavy now, really looking for the finish but Dvalishvili is actually landing more on the feet at this point. Dvalishvili drives in on another takedown and Dodson goes for a knee. Dvalishvili gets the takedown but Dodson is right back up instantaneously. Dvalishvili now maintaining position in the clinch and draining the clock. Dodson separates with 10 seconds and and goes for broke but can’t land a miracle and Dvalishvili ends the fight screaming with excitement.
MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 Dvalishvili, 30-27 Dvalishvili overall.
OFFICIAL DECISION: Merab Dvalishvili defeats John Dodson by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).