COMMENTARY | Demetrious Johnson (17-2-1) beat John Dodson (14-6) via unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 48-47) to retain the UFC flyweight title on Saturday, January 26. Johnson's win capped an exciting night of fights which featured Anthony Pettis and Ricardo Lamas earning critical victories and possibly Rampage Jackson's last appearance in the UFC.
Here are three thoughts on the card:
Anthony Pettis and Ricardo Lamas stake their claims for a title shot
True title contenders have a killer instinct. That's what we saw from Pettis and Lamas on Saturday night. Lamas (13-2) earned his victory by capitalizing on his own mistake. In the second round, Lamas slipped during an attempted leg kick, but he ended up in Erik Koch's guard. Lamas used the opportunity to posture up and land some powerful shots to Koch's face, one of which opened a massive cut close to his eye. It was a brutal finish that put Lamas in position to potentially face the winner of next weekend's title fight between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar.
Meanwhile, Pettis (16-2) utilized a series of kicks to Donald Cerrone's body, one of which dropped him to the mat in pain. Pettis rushed in and landed a couple shots to force the stoppage. With the victory, Pettis has now won seven out of his last eight fights, including a three-fight win streak over solid UFC contenders. At this point, you have to wonder what else Pettis has to do to earn a shot at the belt.
Goodbye Rampage Jackson
There once was a time when Rampage Jackson (32-11) reigned as the UFC light heavyweight champion. Unfortunately, those days are over. Now he's nothing more than a one-dimensional fighter with bad knees.
The truth is that the sport of MMA has passed Jackson by. He's a wrestler who has abandoned wrestling. It was embarrassing to watch Jackson get taken down so easily by Glover Teixeira. I know that he intends to keep on fighting, but I have to wonder who will want to pay him big money to compete. It's not fun to watch a champion's body break down, especially when he no longer likes to train.
Johnson edges Dodson
The flyweight division is one of those weight classes that has yet to really establish itself in the UFC. However, after watching Johnson edge Dodson, I have to believe that there are better days ahead for the flyweights.
This fight was billed as a matchup between the two fastest fighters in MMA, and they lived up to that billing. Both men gave high-energy performances that had the fans and media wondering how the judges would see it. I scored the bout 49-46 for Johnson, but I could understand 48-47 for either fighter. It was a tough fight to judge with a clear winner in only the fourth and fifth rounds.
Either way, it was a great fight, and I think this isn't the last time we'll see the two men face each other in the cage. I look forward to seeing their rematch; it will happen sooner rather than later.
Derek Ciapala has been following MMA for 20 years. He has been published on GatewayMMA.com, UltimateApocalypse.com and multiple other websites. You can check him out on Facebook or on Twitter @dciapala.