Back to the self-proclaimed Fight Capitol of the world; Las Vegas, Nevada welcomes back the UFC’s Strawweight Champion, Demetrious Johnson, as he defends his belt against John Dodson for the second time. The two lightning quick strawweights locked horns in January 2013, when Johnson was able to come back and win the fight by decision after he was dropped by Dodson twice during the fight. Surely Johnson will have a different approach to this bout with Dodson the second time, not many fighters can take the shots he did the first fight and still come back to win. It shows his durability and willingness to remain champion, but also hints at how dangerous Dodson actually is. In the co-main event, two former UFC Heavyweight champions step in the cage to see who could possibly challenge for the title next, as Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski hopes to keep the streak alive against submission guru, Frank Mir. The rest of the card is equally as impressive as former title challenger Anthony Johnson and rising women’s star Paige VanZant holds slots on the remaining pay-per-view card. The early preliminary bouts kick off on Fight Pass at 7 p.m. EST, hit televised cable on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. EST, with the main card exclusively being held on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. EST. Lightning and thunder perfectly describe the main and co-main events alike, tune in to catch the fireworks!
[C] Demetrious Johnson (21-2-1) vs. #1 John Dodson (18-6) Flyweight Title Bout – While the masses continue to throw dismay at the UFC Flyweight champion, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, the small in stature but larger than life superstar is satisfied baffling the haters. On and on again he dismisses his opponents with ease, credit to Dodson though, he has been the toughest opponent Johnson has faced thus far as champion. Both are electric with their movements, strike quicker than a flash, and both will be equally tough to follow for the viewers. Johnson has shown that he can mentally and physically tread into deep water and still finish his opponents; while Dodson has been considered a one trick pony, widely relying on his in-and-out speed and power to win fights. Fantasy value is real iffy in this one, both Johnson and Dodson will produce the statistics needed, but a finish is highly unlikely. Johnson has never been finished inside the octagon, and Dodson has never fallen victim to a finish either. Overall, the champion is the better fighter, and the outcome will be no different from what it was before. Demetrious Johnson via Unanimous Decision.
#4 Andrei Arlovski (24-10) vs. #8 Frank Mir (18-9) Heavyweight Bout – The UFC has really been hyping the re-arrivals of these two heavyweight legends, but the subject matter really needs to be further looked into. Mir has won two in a row, via knockout, over a suddenly dissipating Antonio Silva and the wildly erratic Todd Duffee. Could almost call it a resurrection if Mir piled up a few wins beforehand, but the fact is, he had lost four in a row before putting together his recent two fight winning streak. Andrei Arlovski, on the other hand, has truly revived a career that seemed to be heading into a downward spiral after his loss to Fedor Emelianenko in 2009. Arlovski has strung together nine victories in his last 11 fights, with one questionable ‘No Contest’ decision over Tim Sylvia, in which Arlovski dropped him and proceeded to kick Sylvia in the face. Neither here nor there does that tad bit of information really matter, but it should be 10 wins for the record. Anyway, to be quite frank, nine times out of ten, Mir does not stand a chance against Arlovski, Here is why. Mir’s striking is slow, predictable, and not the most technically sound. Mir’s takedown game is very lackluster, Arlovski has the best takedown defense in the division. Arlovski is extremely elusive for being a UFC heavyweight and has been crowned one of the best strikers in the division by many. Any fighter, even a heavyweight for that matter, has a puncher’s chance in a fight, which is why Mir was given a ten percent chance. Realistically though, granted a huge upset, Arlovski will knock Mir unconscious and may possibly be granted the next shot at the UFC heavyweight title. Capping off an incredible run in the promotion and in a division that he was the champion of nearly 10 years ago. Andrei Arlovski via Knockout.
#1 Anthony Johnson (19-4) vs. Jimi Manuwa (15-1) Light Heavyweight Bout – A last-minute fill-in is always tough to do. It does not help matters that Manuwa will be facing a highly motivated light heavyweight looking to rebound from his title loss and his many personal issues. Johnson has scary power, make a fighter wish he was not born, power. Johnson had littered his walking trail with fighters that have fallen to his hulk like smashes, until he met interim light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, that is. Cormier wrestled Johnson to submission, and gave the former number one contender a much-needed reality check before he stepped foot back inside a UFC cage. Manuwa is no slouch and has racked up 15 wins for a reason, but this fight will stay in Johnson’s element, which is a bad idea for Manuwa. Not to knock Manuwa’s striking prowess what so ever, he has 14 finishes in his 15 wins, but this is Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. There is not a man who has been able to stand and trade successfully with Johnson, with very few surviving the exchanges. No surprise here, throw Arlovski and Johnson on your DraftKings lineups and roll the dice. Anthony Johnson via Technical Knockout.
#12 Jan Blachowicz (18-4) vs. Corey Anderson (6-1) Light Heavyweight Bout – The experience level of each fighter really holds a key element in this fight between Blachowicz and Anderson. Anderson’s record speaks for itself. He has seven fights under his belt and is still ultimately raw when it comes to his set of skills. Blachowicz prides himself on being technical, but really hinders himself when he thinks too much and becomes hesitant. Aggressive fighters have been the Achilles Heel to the Polish light heavyweight, and Anderson really makes up for what he lacks skill wise in his aggressive approach. Still, when it comes down to it, Anderson striking defense is not up to par, and Blachowicz will pick it apart for a decision. Jan Blachowicz via Unanimous Decision.
#7 Paige VanZant (5-1) vs. Alex Chambers (4-2) Women’s Strawweight Bout – To Paige VanZant this fight makes a ton of sense, to the rest of the fighting faithful, it does not. Time and time again, Chambers struggles with aggressive fighters and does not possess the striking or power to keep them off of her. VanZant marches forward at a frantic pace, one that is hard for any other UFC women’s strawweight can match. She applies constant pressure and continually succeeds on taking down her opponents. Chambers is tricky on the ground, winning two of her fights by submission, so VanZant must be prepared for some sneaky sub attempts from the Aussie. Minus a complete mental collapse, VanZant takes home another easy victory, make a point to pick her up in fantasy if Johnson or Arlovski are too expensive. Paige VanZant via Technical Knockout.
In other names worth mentioning that may provide some UFC 191 fantasy impact, here are a few to target. Ross Pearson should be one to keep an eye on, coming off a loss, he usually responds in emphatic fashion and may catch Felder sleeping in one of his spinning attacks. John Lineker, who won possibly his biggest fight in his career against Ian McCall not long ago, is known for his hands of stone. Look for a potential barn-burner between himself and Francisco Rivera. Joaquim Silva is making his promotional debut and is aggressive as they come. Look for the new prospect to get a quick finish and make an impression on the UFC brass. For a future preview of UFC events, stay tuned into the MMA Spotlight for the coming weekends.
Commentary By Justin Huffman
Edited By Leigh Haugh
Follow Justin’s Coverage in the MMA Spotlight section
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