Is the world ready for Johnson vs Dodson 2?
That statement was slightly in jest, even though I think it will be a good fight. But after the last two months of big shows, this one is definitely a step down. And you’re going to have these types of shows. Not every single one will be big, but the main event especially on this one seems small, and not just literally.
But the action should be there even if the PPV buys won’t be.
In addition to the FGB crew, included in our picks are John LaRocca, president of Premier Wrestling, the hardest working woman in MMA, Heidi Fang who is now working for Fox Sports, and our jiu-jitsu expert, Alex Goff.
You can read Heidi’s first piece for Fox Sports, which just dropped today.
Here’s how we’re doing so far:
Here’s our UFC 191 preview:
Paige VanZant Vs Alex Chambers
Duan: Paige VanZant
Alan: Paige VanZant
John: Paige VanZant
Heidi: Paige VanZant
Alex: Paige VanZant
Jim: Paige VanZant
GG: Paige VanZant
Jan Błachowicz Vs Corey Anderson
Duan: Jan Błachowicz
Alan: Corey Anderson
John: Corey Anderson
Heidi: Corey Anderson
Alex: Jan Błachowicz
Jim: Corey Anderson
GG: Corey Anderson
Anthony Johnson Vs Jim Manuwa
Duan: Anthony Johnson
Alan: Anthony Johnson
John: Anthony Johnson
Heidi: Anthony Johnson
Alex: Anthony Johnson
Jim: Anthony Johnson
GG: Anthony Johnson
Andrei Arlovski Vs Frank Mir
Duan: Andrei Arlovski by 3rd round TKO
You know, it’s funny, just 12 months prior to that UFC 61 disaster Alan discusses below, Mir/Arlovski was actually the biggest heavyweight fight UFC had. At that point, the Pit Bull was at his career peak, having just been upgraded from interim to full champion. The man he was replacing atop the division was the then injured Frank Mir. Had Mir returned to unite the titles, it would have been a hot ticket for sure.
Each guy has been written off a thousand times between then and now. Whether it’s a testament to tenacity or a reflection of heavyweight depth, the fact that these two are still in major fights a decade on is astonishing. It’s crazier still to think that the winner here will be within touching distance of another crack at the gold.
I think Arlovski is the better fighter and better athlete at this stage in their respective runs. If this becomes a patterned fight, he picks Mir apart and probably takes him out late. It’s when the bout breaks down that Frank has his best shot. If this gets wild, I favor Mir to find his luck first in the shootout.
Alan: Andrei Arlovski by TKO
Ahhh summer of ‘06 – it was a lovely time in our lives. The Iron Sheik was wowing us with his oratory genius, we were all glued to F4WOnline on a Thursday to see what tales Buddy Wayne had for us, the Ultimate Fighter was still cool, and somewhere in Philadelphia, CZW and ROH fans were giving each other almighty stick!
However on July 8th of that year, a dark cloud fell ominously over us all – monetarily ruining our summer spirit. That dark cloud was called UFC 61. Not only did that show feature a disaster involving Ken Shamrock & Tito Ortiz (although the disaster on the night turned into a money spinner down the line) but it also featured two of the most wretched fights in UFC history – Andrei Arlovksi vs. Tim Sylvia for the heavyweight title and Frank Mir vs. Dan Christison. On that night, if you told someone that the UFC and the calibre of its fighters would evolve to amazing levels over the course of the next 9 years, the thought of Mir and Arlovski still being around would be shocking. Especially Mir who looked like the shottest of shot fighters. The thought of them in an important fight with title implications? Completely unfathomable.
However that is where we are! Love him or loath him, Mir has shown remarkable stubbornness after turning his career around in 2007/2008. He keeps hanging on to relevance by sneaking out wins whenever his back is against the wall, and has shown an ability to take advantage of the issues facing other fighters – be it the inexperience of Brock Lesnar in their first fight or the hard miles on the body of Big Nog. Mir is sneaky and dangerous and at this point we can’t ever write the guy totally off. Unlike Mir, who has clung on and hung around the UFC heavyweight scene, Arlovski fell completely into the wilderness for a few years. But he’s returned with a storm and has looked remarkably good in recent fights.
Both men have weaknesses as glaring as their strengths, for instance Mir’s cardio is as subject to as much scoffing as Andrei’s glass chin. However, I think both are now at the stage where they’re probably feeling like they’re on borrowed time and have nothing to lose. The result of that I think will be that this fight looks nothing like the UFC 61 stinkers. Both will be ultra-aggressive and looking for a quick finish. Either could be knocked out and Mir can most definitely submit anyone that falls to the ground with him. I expect a quick fight, and I’m going to go with an Arlovski win via TKO. I have to admit, I’m looking forward to this!
Jim: Andrei Arlovski by 2nd round TKO
Wow. Most guys that were fighting when these guys were in their heyday have long since been put to pasture. The fact that they are both active and somewhat relevant at this point in time is almost mind boggling. The fact is, neither of these guys is the fighter they used to be, but both remain dangerous. Mir has that solid ground game and both guys have concrete in their fists. I think Mir’s best bet here is to make this fight nasty and to do it early. Once it’s out of the first round his chances diminish greatly. If Arlovski fights smartly, I think he’s just a little too fast and elusive for Mir to get a hold of. If he forgets for one minute what Mir is capable of and rushes in on Mir he might find himself eating canvas.
John: Frank Mir
Heidi: Andrei Arlovski
Alex: Andrei Arlovski
GG: Andrei Arlovski
Demetrious Johnson Vs John Dodson
Heidi: Demetrious Johnson by decision
Dodson, as I see it, could be the man to become the next Flyweight Champ. We’ve seen his power in the past. It’s just a matter of taking advantage of huge moments in the fight. If he scores a knockdown as he did in the first fight, he’ll have to swarm in and drag DJ into deep waters to get the W. Since their first fight, Johnson has only gotten better. It’ll be more difficult than ever for Dodson to find moments to capitalize. With the speed, accuracy and endurance Johnson has, I think it’ll be a mountain too big to climb for the Magician.
Alex: Demetrious Johnson by decision
In a fight that had to happen because Henry Cejudo isn’t ready for a shot at the belt yet, We have Demetrious Johnson vs John Dodson. Demetrious Johnson won the first the first encounter and there isn’t a reason I don’t think he will win the second one. Demetrious is a good fighter and can transition well between grappling and striking and, his skill set is the reason he is undefeated in his weight class. I can only give John Dodson a puncher’s chance, but not much more than that.
GG: Demetrious Johnson by decision
I don’t feel all that comfortable with my pick because it’s hard to tell when or if Johnson is going to show any signs of slippage. But if he loses just a modicum of speed, it could be enough for the lightning quick Dodson. I think most people are tired of Johnson as the champion simply because of how many times his fights go to decision, but hey, the guy continues to beat everyone they put in front of him. I just wish I had enough confidence in Dodson here. I don’t.
John: Demetrious Johnson
Duan: Demetrious Johnson
Alan: Demetrious Johnson
Jim: Demetrious Johnson