Former World Series of Fighting champion Marlon Moraes took the split-decision nod over John Dodson at UFC Fight Night 120 on Saturday in Norfolk, Va.
Each fighter’s strategy was clear from the opening bell. Moraes went to work attacking Dodson’s lead leg with inside kicks, while Dodson was working his double-straight-left punch from his southpaw stance.
It was Dodson who drew first blood, countering a Moraes right hand with a left hand that put Moraes on the canvas, but he quickly returned to his feet. Moraes landed a low kick square to the groin that affected Dodson for the remainder of the round.
Dodson scored two takedowns in round two, taking the early lead, but Moraes made it a difficult round to score. Moraes landed a big right hand at the start of the round and even when Dodson took him down, he immediately attacked with a heel hook on one attempt and a leg lock on the other. He also controlled the final couple minutes of the frame and took Dodson to the canvas in the waning moments of the round.
Both men turned up the heat for the final frame, Dodson going back to attacking primarily with multiple straight left hands, while Moraes again amped up his kicking attack.
The round played out with a lot of back-and-forth action, but Moraes locked in a guillotine choke on a Dodson takedown attempt, sinking it tight, but time ran out before he had a chance to finish. Dodson tapped Moraes' side, but the tap came a second or two after the final horn sounded.
Moraes took scores of 30-27 on two of the judges’ scorecards, while Dodson also got a 30-27 nod, but only from one judge. The split decision fell in Moraes’ favor and he took the moment he had on the mic to call out Jimmie Rivera, who is without an opponent for UFC 219 on Dec. 30, after Dominick Cruz fell out of the fight due to injury.
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) November 12, 2017