John Lineker narrowly defeated John Dodson by split decision tonight at UFC Fight Night 96 after five rounds of entertaining action.
The main event of the evening is underway.
Dodson with an early leg kick. Leneker misses with a front kick to the body. Right hand to the body by Lineker. Another leg kick for Dodson.
Leg kick for Lineker that almost knocks Dodson off-balance. Dodson with a kick to the body. Quick leg kick for ‘The Magician’. He dodges away from a kick attempt.
Tentative exchanges at this stage, with Dodson landing out a couple of more kicks, but keeping his distance as much as possible.
Right hook almost lands for Lineker, but Dodson counters after with a nice kick. Again Dodson looks to counter off a power punch from his opponent.
Overhand right for Lineker. Dodson bursts forward with punches, but Lineker avoids him. Big head kick from Dodson, but Lineker didn’t seem phased by that at all and partially caught it afterwards.
Body kick for Lineker and then a short flurry of hooks low and high. Another body kick for Lineker, but Dodson catches that and bundles Lineker to the mat. He allows him to get back up though.
Lineker with a flying knee attempt and Dodson burst straight after him afterwards, just as the round comes to a close.
Dodson and Lineker exchanging leg kicks to start the second. Lineker a little wild as he marauds forward with hooks. Dodson tries a head kick, but it’s blocked.
Dodson getting really mobile now as Lineker tries to land heavy leather. Lineker overcommits and Dodson blasts him with a hard punch.
Dodson able to evade Lineker coming forward and that annoys his opponent leading to a funny stand-off in the middle of the cage as Lineker mimics his opponent running. The ref ‘Big’ John McCarthy gets the two of them together and resets the action.
Soon after Lineker lands a punch, but gets a groin strike in return that drops him to the canvas in pain. After a few minutes he’s ok to continue though.
Both men exchanges punches as they get back to it. Left hand grazes Dodson’s head. Dodson charging forward firing off punches and Lineker welcomes that, firing back with hooks of his own. Dangerous stuff for both men as each has KO power.
Lineker pressuring Dodson, marching forward relentlessly looking for opportunities to unleash power punches. Charge forward and short strikes from Dodson.
Punch to the body and hooks upstairs from Lineker. Dodson caught with a hook as he moves away again. High kick from Dodson to end the round.
Back to punches being exchanged in the center of the Octagon. Nice kick in there from Dodson as he puts together a combo.
Front kick to the midsection for Dodson. He plays matador to Lineker’s bull, getting out the way of punches. Another intense exchange of heavy leather in close from both men. Crazy stuff.
Big right hand from Lineker lands to the chest. Nice short left from Dodson. Body kick for Dodson and eats a counter afterwards.
Lineker scores with the left hook. A couple of punches from Dodson as he drives forward and then just shoves Lineker away.
Dodson continually circling on the outside, proving a somewhat elusive target, apart from the occasional frenetic exchange. Speaking of which, Lineker wades in with more heavy artillery, but Dodson does well to evade most of it as he returns fire.
Head kick from Dodson and LIneker is again unphased as was the case earlier in the fight. he’s got a great chin.
Lineker practically running at his opponent now as he wings away with big hooks that don’t find the target. Lineker motioning to the crowd to cheer and they gladly respond. Hook lands for Lineker shortly afterwards and they are exchanging again as the horn sounds for the end of the round.
Back to it these two bantamweight heavy-hitters go with more exciting toe-to-toe battles in the opening minute of the fourth round.
Kick from Lineker, then a terrific counter combo from Dodson that snaps his opponent’s head back.
As Lineker comes forward again, Dodson ducks underneath his punch and looks for a takedown, but only partially knocks his opponent off-balance.
Hook for Lineker and a counter in return from Dodson. Body punches from Lineker. He goes back for more of the same. He’s got Dodson under pressure now as he starts to go upstairs with hurtful blows. Another punch jolts Dodson’s head back. Dodson hits reverse gear and tries to keep away from the Brazilian while he regains his composure. Easier said than done as Lineker continues to move forward and eventually Dodson is forced to fire back to keep him at bay.
nice strike from Lineker at the end of the round, with Dodson countering with a kick upstairs.
Nice left hook for Dodson as Lineker works leg kicks. Front kick to the body for Lineker. Dodson with the same and then a nice superman punch afterwards.
Lineker wild with hooks that don’t hit the target. More kicks from both men. Dodson still staying agile to keep Lineker from just backing him up to the cage and whaling away.
Short flurry inside. Dodson shoves Lineker away to create space. Nice left for Dodson. Hook to the head and then to the body for Lineker.
Lineker backs Dodson to the cage and fires off some huge hooks, but Dodson takes it. Huge body shot for Lineker and then a punch from Dodson staggers his opponent. Lineker motions for more though.
Another nasty exchange at close quarters. Dodson able to wheel around to Lineker’s back and hops up onto it. He doesn’t do much with it though and eventually pops back down again.
Final seconds of the fight and Lineker advances one last time, uncorking another salvo of strikes as dodson looks to meet fire with fire, and that’s it, both men’s chins have withstood each other’s biggest shots and we’re going to the judges to decide the winner.
Very close fight there, and it all comes down to whether you favored Lineker’s relentless pressure and desire to attack, or Dodson’s more cautious, evasive work on the outside, mixed in with occasional flurries of accurate offense.
The judges have made their decision, and it’s a split verdict, with John Lineker emerging victorious (48-47 x2, 47-48).