Things couldn’t be going much better for the UFC right now. UFC 189 was regarded as one of the greatest events they’ve ever had, and it was followed by UFC 190, which saw Ronda Rousey legitimize her status as pretty much everybody on planet Earth’s favorite female athlete.
But the company that could do no wrong this summer looks to be headed towards a dry fall. UFC 191 (Sept. 5, 10:00 PM Eastern at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas) does have some recognizable names, like Demetrious Johnson, Anthony Johnson, and Frank Mir. But, as the early lines suggest, these fights aren’t exactly toss ups. And if an ass-whooping isn’t going to be dished out in record time, it will be interesting to see how the public responds to an underwhelming card.
Put on your promoter hat, Dana White, you’ve got your work cut out for you on this one.
Demetrious Johnson (-450) vs John Dodson (+325)
It’s hard to remember a time when “Mighty Mouse” didn’t hold the title belt in the UFC flyweight division. Winner of six straight title defenses, Johnson has been the champion since June of 2012, dominating the rest of the division. In his most recent fight against Kyogi Horiguchi, Johnson secured the win by submission in the last second of the final round; it was, obviously, the latest stoppage in UFC history.
The last time these two met, Johnson took the fight by unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47). Dodson got off to a good start, arguably winning the first two rounds, but he couldn’t last down the stretch. The early lines don’t suggest he’ll fair much better this time around.
Dodson has won three straight bouts to get another title shot, knocking out Darrell Montague and John Moraga, and winning a unanimous decision over Zach Makovsky. He’s on a good run, and his only loss over his past nine fights was to Johnson. But Johnson has never lost a rematch, defeating Ian McCall by unanimous decision and Jose Benavidez by TKO.
A versatile fighter who can win by any means necessary, Mighty Mouse will make easy work out of a rematch he didn’t even want.
Andrei Arlovski (-184) vs Frank Mir (+156)
Perhaps the only legitimately interesting fight on this card, the Belarusian “Pit Bull” Andrei Arlovski (24-10) will face Frank Mir (18-9) for the first time. Arlovski enters on a tear, winning his last five fights, including three by knockout. Looking a decade younger than his 36 years, Arlovski has climbed to fourth in the Heavyweight rankings, and will look to go even higher with a win against Mir.
After a year hiatus, Mir has won his last two bouts, a pair of TKOs against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and Todd Duffee. Mir has a weight and reach advantage over Arlovski, as well as a stronger ground game. But there’s a reason Arlovski has 17 career knockouts; he throws bombs. He can also take a licking, and has earned the favorite status in what will be the fight of the night.
(Photo Credit: Kelly Bailey [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)