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Demetrious Johnson keeps title; ‘Rampage’ Jackson loses last UFC fight

UFC Fox mixed martial arts United Center.    January 26 2013 I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

UFC on Fox mixed martial arts at the United Center. January 26, 2013 I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

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A strong finish enabled Demetrious Johnson to retain his UFC flyweight championship Saturday at the sold-out United Center.

The 125-pounders — the UFC’s newest weight class — took center stage before a crowd of 16,091, with Johnson defeating John Dodson by unanimous decision
(49-46, 48-47, 49-46) in his first title defense.

Dodson (15-6, 3-1 UFC) started well, knocking down Johnson twice. But Johnson (17-2-1, 5-1-1) used a combination of strong takedowns, Muay Thai skills and endurance to outpoint Dodson in the final three rounds.

Johnson said he wasn’t too worried about the knockdowns.

‘‘It’s going to happen,’’ he said. ‘‘You’re going to get knocked down in a fight. When you’re going against a guy with punching power, it’s going to happen. I’m in great shape. I recovered good and stuck to the game plan.’’

Dodson said he wished he could have finished Johnson in the first two rounds and said he needed to work on going the full five rounds of a title fight.

‘‘He came out there swinging for the fences,’’ Dodson said. ‘‘He made sure he got me [in the later rounds]. He took my shots and kept coming forward.’’

Both fighters earned $50,000 fight-of-the-night-bonuses.

Fighting in his final UFC bout, former light-heavyweight champion Quinton ‘‘Rampage’’ Jackson held his own against talented Glover Teixeira of Brazil but lost by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).

Jackson (32-11, 7-5) started a bit tentatively against Teixeira (20-2, 3-0). He weathered several takedowns and gained confidence as the fight went on, but he never could do any serious damage.

Also on the main card, lightweight Anthony Pettis (14-2, 3-1) leveled Donald ‘‘Cowboy’’ Cerrone (19-5, 6-2) with a highlight-worthy kick to the liver at 2:35 of the first round.

With the knockout, Pettis moved closer to a long-sought, so-far-denied title shot against lightweight champion Benson Henderson. Pettis beat Henderson in their WEC days.

‘‘What do I got to do to get a title shot?’’ he asked UFC president Dana White after the fight.

White laughed cage-side. Afterward, White said Gilbert Melendez would fight Henderson next, with Pettis likely the next in line.

The card featured a strong local flavor, with four fighters from the Chicago area.

Ricardo Lamas of Elmhurst finished his fight
impressively, pulverizing and bloodying Erik Koch with a flurry of forearms and elbows and forcing the referee to stop the bout at 2:32 of the second round.

On the undercard, Johnsburg native Clay Guida won his featherweight debut with a razor-close split
decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
against Hatsu Hioki of
Japan; Chicago heavyweight Mike Russow lost to Shawn Jordan by second-round technical knockout; and Crystal Lake welterweight Mike Stumpf lost to Pascal Krauss by unanimous decision.

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