Saturday, April 16th, 2016 in Tampa, Florida for UFC Fight Night 87: “Teixeira vs. Evans” by Daniel Tom

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John Dodson (17-7)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’3″ Age: 31 Weight: 135 lbs Reach: 66″
  • Last Fight: Decision loss / Demetrious Johnson (9-5-15)
  • Camp: Jackson-Wink MMA (New Mexico)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   TUF 14 Winner
+   2x Wrestling State Champ (NM)
+   8 KO victories
+   7 first round finishes
+   2 Submission wins
+   KO Power
+   Dangerous knees
+   Freakishly strong & agile
+   Solid Counter wrestling
^   84% Takedown defense
+   Excellent scrambling & get-ups
+   Good footwork & feints
^   Manages distance well
+   Lightning speed
^   Deceptive distance closer
+   Devastating left hand
^   Accurate & intercepting
–    Slightly low standing guard
^   Especially upon exits


Manny Gamburyan (15-8)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’5″ Age: 34 Weight: 135 lbs Reach: 69″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Scott Jorgensen (7-7-15)
  • Camp: Glendale Fight Club (California)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Judo Black Belt
+   Multiple Judo Accolades
+   2 KO victories
+   8 first round finishes
+   7 Submission wins
+   KO power
+   Dangerous right hand
+   Underrated kicks
^   Right leg & body kicks
+   Strong inside the clinch
^   Good throws & takedowns
+   Improved shot entries
^   Changes level well
+   Solid top control
+/-Will drop for leg locks
+   Active guard
+   Excellent submission variety
–    Head often on center
^   Hurt/dropped in 4 of last 5 fights


The UFC returns to Florida as Fight Pass comes strong with five preliminary matches, including a featured fight between John Dodson and Manny Gamburyan. Coming off his second failed bid for the Flyweight Title, John “The Magician” Dodson will be returning to Bantamweight as the TUF 14 winner will have a fresh start in a new division. Looking to halt the magician’s ascension is a man who has fought in many weight classes, as Manny “The Anvil” Gamburyan is currently riding a two-fight unbeaten streak since moving to his new home of 135-pounds.

In a fun stylistic matchup, I expect much of this fight to be contested standing. Starting off on the feet, we have to two power punchers with vastly different approaches. Since debuting with the organization back in 2007, Manny has made clear efforts in tightening up his boxing with the Glendale Fight Club. Instead of wildly throwing right-hand haymakers, Gamburyan will now set up his big punches with feints and improved movement.

The Anvil also has an underrated kicking game that could serve him well in this fight given Dodson’s defensive tendencies. Comfortable with his speed advantage amongst most, John keeps his hands at a slightly lower level. With this being especially apparent upon his exits, we have seen this tendency cost Dodson in his fights with the Champion, and particularly against Zach Machovsky, who landed multiple head kicks in their bout. Although Gamburyan primarily kicks to the legs, he has shown the ability to go high with effect in his match with Michihiro Omigawa.

That said, I feel Dodson should have the on-paper edge in the striking department. Though the magician should have a clear speed advantage, I feel it will be his movement that makes the difference. Demonstrating deceptively efficient footwork, Dodson manages and adapts to distance exceptionally well. Despite wielding explosively dynamic attacks on the offensive, John has developed into more of a counter fighter throughout the years.

Similarly to a smaller version of Chuck Liddell, Dodson will play on the outside along the inner black octagon lines, baiting opponents into exchanges and counter strikes. Looking to land his left hand, in particular, John thrives off of his opposition’s mistakes and eagerness. For this reason, I see Dodson having a stylistic edge over the aggressive Armenian. Although Manny shows improved defensive hand positioning, he still tends to keep his head on center quite often. Traditionally opening up counter opportunities, this habit has gotten Gamburyan hurt and or dropped in 4 of 5 of his last outings.

I feel Manny’s best chances in this fight will be by using his pressure style to make Dodson grapple. Though Gamburyan has a strong clinch game, grabbing a hold of Dodson is much easier said than done. Manny will likely have to lean on his reactive shot to enter space against the speedy magician. Should Gamburyan ground John, the Armenian has tremendous grappling chops & submission skills that could test Dodson. Ultimately, I see John’s notorious takedown defense holding up, as his speed & footwork will likely funnel this fight into his favor.

Official Pick: Dodson – Decision

Official Outcome: Dodson – TKO (round 1)

Preliminary Card Predictions

  • Dariush def. Chiesa
  • Pennington def. Correia
  • Ponzinibbio def. McGee
  • Dodson def. Gamburyan
  • Brown def. Graves
  • Makhachev def. Dober
  • Bamgbose def. Ferreira
  • Akhmedov def. Zaleski dos Santos

Recommended Plays

Fantasy MMA Picks

High Tier Picks:

-Khabib Nurmagomedov
-Glover Teixeira
-Beneil Dariush

Low Tier Picks:

-Cezar Ferreira
-Tecia Torres
-Manny Gamburyan

Pieces for your parlay:

-Islam Makhachev
-Glover Teixeira
-Beneil Dariush

Props worth looking at(

-Beneil Dariush – by Submission: +420
-Namajunas/Torres – Over: -230
-Glover Teixeira – by TKO/KO: +250

Fights to avoid:

-Bamgbose vs Ferreira
-Swanson vs Dias
-Pennington vs Correia

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