Just about every fighter predicts a finish. It’s part of the basic pre-fight narrative.
John Dodson was no different, predicting a first-round stoppage of John Lineker at UFC Fight Night in Portland.
“I’m going to knock him out, hopefully in the first round,” Dodson said in a quote sheet distributed by the UFC on Thursday. “If it goes any longer than that, he’s going to get really tired and it’s going to be a really boring fight.”
Rashad Evans, the former UFC light heavyweight champion who will work as an analyst for Saturday’s card on Fox Sports 1 and 2, agreed with the short duration of time these two bantamweights will spend in the octagon.
“This is gonna be a quick one, I think,” Evans said. “They both have the power to end the fight with one shot. When it comes to the power, I think Lineker has the edge. John Dodson has the edge with the speed and creativity.”
Lineker (28-7, 9-2 UFC) has 13 career knockouts/technical knockouts. Dodson (19-7, 7-2) has stopped nine opponents via KO/TKO. Each fighter has six first-round KO/TKOs.
Lineker missed weight on Friday, coming in at 136.5 pounds, a half-pound over the limit for bantamweight. Dodson weighed in at 135 pounds. The fight will happen at a catchweight Saturday, with Lineker forfeiting 20 percent of his purse.
“If Dodson can stay away from the black line, you know, in that area five to six feet before you get to the cage, I think he can definitely land the shot that he’s looking for and take control of the fight,” said Evans, who will wrap up his analyst work this weekend to prepare for his next fight against Tim Kennedy at UFC 205 in New York City. “If Lineker is able to get him against the cage and get him to exchange, I think he’s gonna be able to catch John.”
Lineker is on a five-fight win streak, while Dodson has won four of his last five. Both fighters used to compete at flyweight before moving up to the 135-pound bantamweight division. For Dodson, it was more a matter of losing twice to Demetrious Johnson, the reigning flyweight champion and one of the pound-for-pound best. For Lineker, it was more about his struggles to cut down to 125 pounds. He missed the flyweight limit of 126 pounds four times in the UFC.
But once Lineker gets into the cage, regardless of his weight, he brings an exciting style. Both for fans and his opponents.
“That’s the thing about Lineker. He almost baits you into hitting him,” Evans said. “There is nothing more tempting as a fighter than when you seen an open target and you just want to hit it. And it looks so easy to hit, but then you try so hard to hit it, and then you don’t hit it and it hits you. That’s what it kind of looks like when you’re watching Lineker because he throws his punches and it looks like his chin is just high up in the air and you can just hit it. But as you try to hit it, he catches you with the shot. That’s been the kind of striking genius, I guess, that Lineker has.”