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MANILA, Philippines – After spending nearly a year on the sidelines due to an injury, Filipino-American fighter John Dodson made a successful return to the Octagon by outpointing Zach Makovsky on the preliminary card of UFC 187 on Sunday, May 24 (PH Time).
In his first fight since undergoing surgery for a torn ACL and meniscus in July of last year, Dodson earned 29-28 marks on all three scorecards, largely due to his superior pressure and help from a key takedown.
Makovsky seemed to have the edge on the feet, making good use of his sharp left hand and effectively avoiding Dodson in several spirited first-round exchanges.
Dodson struggled to string together his punches, failed more often than not to crack the 32-year-old Philadelphian’s defense, and appeared hesitant in throwing his shots at times.
Near the end of a close second round, Dodson scooped Makovsky up for a significant takedown, landing in side control and sealing the period in the absence of any momentous offense.
With the three-round flyweight showdown up for grabs in the final frame, Dodson stayed on the attack, landing blows with his fists before mixing in occasional kicks and knees.
In the end, it was enough to get the cageside judges’ nod as Dodson won it via the slimmest of margins on all three sheets.
Although he got his hand raised against Makovsky, Dodson (17-6) was not particularly impressed with his performance and acknowledged that ring rust could have been a factor.
“I’m not excited about my performance. I looked like a guy coming off a long layoff. I threw a lot of punches and tried to hit him as hard as I could. I just wasn’t firing on all cylinders,” he said in his post-fight interview.
Makovsky had a 37-to-31 advantage in significant strikes landed, but he was thwarted in all 17 of his takedown attempts while being grounded twice by Dodson.
Dodson was not on par with his two previous outings, scoring emphatic knockout wins over John Moraga and Darrell Montague.
However, the 30-year-old native of Albuquerque, New Mexico remains optimistic that the victory over Makovsky will earn him a second date with UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.
“It’s a no brainer for me. I always want to beat Demetrious Johnson. I want to knock him out,” Dodson stated during the post-event press conference.
Dodson challenged Johnson in January 2013, but he suffered a unanimous decision setback.
“I thought I won the first time. I believe the next time we come around, the outcome will be way different. I will still go out there and beat him up. I am going to get a clear decision or a clear victory by knocking him out,” he stressed.
On the other hand, Johnson (22-2-1) successfully defended his flyweight title for the sixth time by submitting Japanese contender Kyoji Horiguchi in the UFC 186 headliner last April.
The 28-year-old “Mighty Mouse” was in the Philippines last week to promote the UFC’s first Philippine live event.