The main card kicks off with a bantamweight bout between Merab Dvalishvili and John Dodson. Prior to this bout Merab currently has a 4 fight win streak while Dodson came off of a win in his last bout against Nathaniel Wood to snap his 2 fight losing streak. Let’s break down this bout.
John Dodson’s style is one of a kind. It’s a boxing/wrestling stance with a Karate style of blitzing in and out of range. Everything thrown comes with the power of a man double his size. Usually not one for a technical battle, Dodson will blitz his way in to attempt to take your head off, then exit out of range.
In this fight, Dodson will feel like he’s got the advantage on the feet, without discrediting Merab’s striking.
To avoid the relentless pressure and takedowns of Merab, Dodson will need to use his movement wisely, especially in a small cage. Circling out and avoiding being up against the cage is 2 things Dodson needs to be aware to do.
In the grappling, Dodson will need to show his ability to scramble. Something we surprisingly haven’t seen much of. Despite being around for what seems like forever, Dodson has been brilliant with avoiding grappling. The one-man that got him down consistently was Demetrius Johnson.
Whilst not being exclusively a grappler, there’s not many better in the business than Demetrius Johnson at grappling. And despite being taken down, he shows brilliant get-ups every time. Demetrius, one of MMA’s most impressive grapplers couldn’t hold Dodson down, so it begs to see what Merab can do.
The Georgian, often mistaken as a Dagestani native due to the flamboyant headdress. Reminiscent of Khabib’s headdress, the difference is in size and color. Georgian culture uses the black version.
Despite his hands and the extravagant striking technique that got him into UFC, it’s the grappling of Merab we will need to see on full display come Saturday night. A fantastic chain wrestler, Merab is relentless in his pursuit of a takedown. Whether it be the single leg or the double, Merab won’t give up. He has a very Khabib-like style of griding you against the fence and dragging you down.
As well as the draining type of wrestling where he will make you carry his weight until he gets you down, his ability to clasp the hands and secure picture-perfect takedowns aren’t lost in his rugged wrestling syle.
After finally clasping the hands, Merab gets Simon down with a beautiful body-lock throw. Working for the hands together against the fence, adding in the knees, he was able to secure the takedown and end up in side control.
On the feet its all action, crazy attacks with ferocious power. His best shot is his 1-2(disguise usually). He will throw it over and over, to get his opponent expecting it, then change to a jab-hook combo or a jab-uppercut. Against Simon, he lured him in with countless spinning attacks and the same 1-2 down the pipe, he switched it to a beautiful jab-uppercut that stunned and dropped Simon.
I see Merab taking Dodson down and draining the American’s gas tank. Most likely a 3rd TKO or decision.
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