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UFC Fight Night 96: John Lineker vs John Dodson AKA The Battle of The Hard-hitting Little Guys

UFC 205 has had everyone in a bit of a frenzy this week. Since the announcement of Conor McGregor’s bid to challenge Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title, there has been nonstop talk from every media source, including this one, about how enjoyable and historic the event will be. So when the revelation that John Lineker versus John Dodson was occurring this weekend, you can understand that I was a bit surprised. It’s an event that not many are talking about and that’s a huge mistakes as two of the hardest hitting bantamweights under 5’6″ tall will be trying to take each other’s heads off.

John Lineker has officially become a dark horse at bantamweight. Ever since giving up on his flyweight title aspirations due to weight cutting issues, Lineker has moved up a weight class with devastating results. He’s been knocking out bantamweights left and right with the same tactics ever time. His forward pressure, head movement and ability to cut off the cage while throwing hard hooks eventually pushes his opponents back to the fence. With their backs against the cage opponents usually feel compelled to come forward with strikes, which usually never works out well for them. Either you’re forced to move to the left where a Lineker right hook will be waiting or to your right where the left hook is also sure to call problems. Much like every other bout, Lineker should use his high pressure style to give Dodson few escape routes. Dodson’s speed will give Lineker problems, so targeting the legs with hard kicks should definitely be an option.

John Dodson has also failed to capture gold at flyweight, but unlike Lineker was able to challenge the champion Demetrius Johnson. Unfortunately for Dodson, Johnson had too many different tools at his disposal causing Dodson to fall flat at his second title challenge. Dodson is still extremely dangerous and talented with a number of striking tools that should give Lineker trouble. Firstly, Dodson has a great deal of speed in his strikes as well as in his footwork, abilities that he must use to secure victory. While lateral movement is something to focus on when fighting a wrestler or grappler, Dodson needs to do the same to avoid Lineker’s nasty power strikes. When he does decide to commit to his strikes, throwing two or three at the most is ideal as well as exiting off on an angle. Staying too long in the pocket with Lineker is a dangerous gamble and Dodson has the speed to land shots and get out of harms way with the quickness. A pot shorting game will suit Dodson best in this fight, following up with kicks after probing with the hands.

This fight is sure to be an insane display of movement with both men landing their fair share of shots. If Dodson decides to get into a brawl with Lineker than it will surely prove to be his undoing. If Dodson instead chooses to play the outside game then victory can be in sight. Look for John Dodson to play the long game as he defeats John Lineker by unanimous decision.

Who do you think wins at UFC Fight Night 96?

Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his Twitter and Facebook to keep up with his antics.

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