Dvalishvili steamrolls Dodson at UFC 252 with 30-27 Unanmious Decision
‘The Machine’ takes his win streak to 5 fights after dominating ‘The Magician’ for three rounds at UFC 252
John Dodson (21-11) has struggled with alternating wins and losses before hitting a two fight losing skid with losses to Jimmie Rivera and divisional darling Petr Yan. Dodson bounced back with a win in his most recent bout finding the Round 3 TKO finish over Nathaniel Wood. Dodson steps into the octagon with surging prospect Merab Dvalishvili (11-4). Dvalishvili is a apart of the new wave of Georgian talent in the UFC, boasting a four fight win streak, all by unanimous decision.
Early in the first round both fighters were feinting heavily and feeling each other out. It wasn’t until the second half of the first round that the striking opened up and gave way to the clinch. Dvalishvili forced Dodson onto the fence with control of his back and unloads dozens of knees into the back of Dodson’s legs. Dvalishvili wrapped up Dodson’s left wrist and maintained and under hook of the right arm.
With Dodson trapped Dvalishvili was free to savage his way to a conveyor belt of strikes. Dodson eventually was able to break free from the trap but with little time to make up the deficit this round likely goes to Dvalishvili.
At the lively start to the second round the plucky feinting opens up a single leg attempt from Dvalishvili. Dodson did well to defend the takedown, but the scramble eventually leads to Dvalishvili lifting Dodson and carrying him to the center of the octagon. Following the slam Dodson quickly scrambles to his feet and in a nimble sequence evades much of Dvalishvilis dashing strikes. Every time the clinch leads to the fence, Dvalishvili finds the take down, but Dodson is cunning and always flashes back to his feet.
Dvalishvili ended the second round very strong by pressing the pace and action. He controlled the octagon with his movement and feinting, the tension in his shoulders erupting from the wrists.
The same eruptions carried over into his war cries to start the third round. His volume engorged the cramped, hollow atmosphere of the UFC Apex.
Dvalishvili continued with his relentless pacing and struck his way into take down attempts. The variety keeps Dodson on the back foot and unable to counter.
It wasn’t until late in the second half of Round 3 that Dodson finally started to connect with a few shots, but still was unable to capitalize on any momentum. Dvalishvili is a powder keg of emotion and energy as the contest expires, celebrating in adorably broken English as he takes his UFC win streak to 5 fights in a row.
Dvalishvili is work ethic, immigrant mentality and pure cardio incarnate. Although he has yet to find a finish, he consistently dominates his way to Unanimous Decisions with a gas tank to spare. With Dodson playing a bit of Gatekeeper, Dvalishvili is poised for another step up in opponent quality. His next booking could be quite critical.
While some may avoid signing a contract with him, it is getting crowded at the top of the division and a quality dance partner shouldn’t be too hard to come by. Regardless of who is next for the rising Bantamweight, there are few in the division who can maintain his pace and energy level. Dvalishvili will be troublesome in an already deep and exciting 135lbs division.