Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson's nickname is "Mighty Mouse." Like his cartoon namesake, Johnson has a habit of getting in trouble early before prevailing in the end.
Johnson started off slow against challenger John Dodson on Saturday night. But the champion rallied in the late rounds and won a unanimous decision to retain his title in the main event of UFC on FOX 6 at Chicago's United Center.
Johnson (20-2-1), the inaugural champion of the UFC's 125-pound weight class, is known for his speed and elusiveness. But Dodson (14-6), an Albuquerque native, managed to keep up with the champion and tagged him on several occasions in the opening rounds.
The champion, though, managed to turn it on over the final two rounds. Aided in part by an illegal knee to the head (which perhaps should have resulted in a deducted point, but wasn't called), Johnson's cardio came into play as Dodson faded. Johnson was particularly strong in the fifth and final round.
The judges' scores were 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46 in favor of the Tacoma resident, who won his third consecutive fight.
"It was a great fight, I had a great training camp," said Johnson. "I've worked on my Muay Thai clinch trying to become a complete mixed martial artist. You're going to get hit, you're going to get caught, he caught me, but that's OK."
In the evening's co-main event, Brazilian Glover Teixeira (20-2) scored his biggest career victory with a one-sided decision win over former light heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. The judges' scores were 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
Teixeira, a protege of former UFC star Chuck Liddell, got the best of Jackson from the get-go, outstriking him while standing and scoring effortless takedowns. While Jackson had his moments over the first two rounds, the 34-year old Memphis native tired in the third, which Teixeira dominated.
This looks like the end of the line in the UFC for Jackson, who was fighting in the last fight of his contract and has now lost three straight bouts and four of his past six. Teixeira won his 18th consecutive fight and is now 3-0 in the UFC.
In a fight with consequences in the lightweight division, Milwaukee's Anthony Pettis stated his case for a shot at Benson Henderson's title with a dominant victory over tough Donald Cerrone.
Pettis (16-2) crumpled Cerrone (19-5, 1 no-contest) with a gigantic kick to the ribs, then landed a pair of punches before the fight was called off at 2:35 of the first round.
Pettis was the last fighter to defeat Henderson, as he won a unanimous decision to claim the World Extreme Cagefighting title in December 2010.
"[UFC president] Dana White, what do I have to do for a title shot?" Pettis asked. "Donald called me out and said I was scared. I'm not scared of everyone. I want that title."
The opening fight of the network television broadcast brought a convincing victory for a local favorite. Featherweight Ricardo Lamas scored an impressive win over Eric Koch via second-round TKO. The first round was a bit of a stalemate. But in the second round, Lamas (13-2) got the best of Koch (13-2) in the standup. Lamas dropped the Cedar Rapids, Iowa native with an uppercut which opened a nasty cut, then followed with a series of elbows on the ground which finished the fight. The referee called the bout off at 2:32 of the round, giving Lamas his fourth consecutive victory.
"I feel great," said Lamas. "I'm a nervous wreck before all my fights but being at home in Chicago with my friends and family, I was more at ease than for any of my fights. When I get on top, you better watch out. I'm not getting off you until you're bloody, or knocked out."