Demetrious Johnson vs. John Dodson:
While no doubt still a potentially great fight, I don’t think the rematch will provide the same fireworks as their back-and-forth first match-up did. ‘Mighty Mouse’ has simply evolved to an elite level as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in MMA, and Dodson has been plagued by a knee injury and a lackluster performance in his last fight against Zack Makovsky. So while the knockout possibility will always be there for ‘Magician,’ I think that Johnsons should be able to use his scary good all-around game to stay just out of range of Dodson’s looping hooks and score enough takedowns to clearly win this one. “Mighty Mouse” by unanimous decision.
Demetrious Johnson is one of the most underrated and special champions in the entire UFC roster. His opponent John Dodson certainly gave him a good run for their money in the first fight, and he could well do so again, but I’m not having any trouble making this pick. ‘Mighty Mouse’ is simply too fast, highly skilled and overwhelmingly talented for Dodson to keep pace with. I expect the champion to look even better than in his last fight, and I can’t see this one leaving the first round even. My pick is a TKO win for Johnson, take it to the bank.
Being a rematch nearly two years in the making, this is quite an intriguing flyweight title fight. When these two met for the first time, Dodson challenged Johnson more than “Mighty Mouse” has ever been challenged in his title reign, especially since “The Magician” actually dropped the champion multiple times. Dodson is probably the most powerful and most explosive fighter in the division, and I believe his best chance to win will be to land his big left hand. However, that won’t be an easy task, as I truly believe that “Mighty Mouse” is the most well rounded fighter on the planet, as he seems to just do everything perfect. I think he will use smooth transitions between striking and wrestling to keep Dodson guessing, and eventually take over the fight as he did the first time. Dodson also struggled with his cardio the first time around, and he should look to keep the fight standing. Either way, I believe that “Mighty Mouse” is just the more superior fighter overall. Johnson by unanimous decision.
Andrei Arlovski vs. Frank Mir:
I’d like to think that Mir plays it smart and uses his world-class ground game to neutralize Arlovski’s power, but even he has admitted that he’s just gone in there and slugged it out after four consecutive losses. Mir has seemingly thrown caution to the wind during his recent resurgence, and he joins his fellow former champion Arlovski as unlikely comeback stories in a bout that will have the winner on the brink of a title shot. I don’t see anything but a slugfest going down here, and while it may not be the same one-round classic as Arlovski’s latest win over Travis Browne, it could come close. Although it’s tough to pick a winner because it means one of these feel-good stories has to end, I just think that Mir is going to land a fight ending shot for some reason. Of course, that could just as easily happen to him, but I’m picking the upset. Mir by first round TKO.
Andrei Arlovski and Frank Mir are staying active with a reasonably quick turnaround for two ex-champions. The similarities don’t end there, they have both shown massively improved stand up skills, have had their chins somewhat rejuvenated, and are experiencing a massive upswing in what could have been the twilight fights of their career. The difference here is the grappling prowess of Mir and the striking chops of ‘The Pitbull’. Although Mir looked quality in destroying Todd Duffee and Antonio Silva, I don’t think he plans on engaging too much with the much heavier-handed Arlovski. The question is will he be able to ground the Belarusian striker for long enough to submit him? On first glance I was going to call Arlovski by knockout, but I have a gut feeling that Mir will pull it out of the bag. Don’t run to the bookies, but I’ll tentatively pick Mir for the first round submission finish.
This is also quite an interesting match-up, as these two heavyweight veterans have somehow bounced back after it looked as if they were both done. Both are former heavyweight champions, and it should be a close bout. When it comes to Mir, it’s no secret that he’s one of the best submission artists that the UFC has ever seen, but he’s also improved his boxing thoroughly, scoring two straight knockout wins. Arlovski, however, is still probably the better striker, and he too has scored consecutive knockout wins. I think the “Pitbull” should look to keep this fight on the feet, but that may not be easy. If Mir can avoid the heavy hands of Arlovski, I see him dragging the fight to the ground and ending it there. I’m going with the upset, and picking Mir by second round submission.