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Round 1
Veteran referee “Big” John McCarthy is the third man in the cage for tonight’s catchweight main event. Lineker lines up orthodox against the southpaw Dodson, who steps forward to land a leg kick, then another. Lineker quickly switches to a left-handed stance, throws an awkward low kick of his own, then back to righty. Dodson scores with a kick to the body and slides out of the way just before Lineker’s clobbering right-handed counter can connect. Lineker continues to move Dodson around the edge of the cage, the Brazilian stalking with his power hand loaded up. With 90 seconds left in the round, Dodson steps out to the center and fires a left high kick. Lineker catches the leg but can’t convert the takedown before Dodson hops away. Dodson deflects a heavy left hook from Lineker and gives the Brazilian a grin. Dodson catches a kick and trips Lineker to the ground, but Lineker rolls away and back to his feet before Dodson can doa nything about it. Lineker comes lunging at Dodson with a flying knee in the dying seconds of the round, follows up with punches but can’t connect cleanly.

Round 2
Lineker is firing off some heavy shots in the opening minute of round two, but Dodson is too quick and cuts sharp angles to sprint away from the attacks. Lineker keeps trying to close in on Dodson near the fence; each time he does, “The Magician” bounces away and sometimes pops the Brazilian with a punch or two on the exit. A left hand snaps back Lineker’s head but doesn’t seem to faze him. After a little more of this, Lineker pauses in the center of the cage with hands on hips, then does a mocking dance. Referee McCarthy brings the fighters together and tells them to engage. When the fight resumes, Lineker goes chasing after Dodson again and gets a kick to the groin. Lineker takes a minute to compose himself, and the fight resumes with under three minutes left in the round. Lineker connects with a snappy left hook, then another. Dodson responds with a left of his own but leaves his right hand low and gets zapped by a counter on the other side. Dodson is still smiling at Lineker as they play a bit of patty-cake with their lead hands. The American continues to beat Lineker to the punch, but the Brazilian is clearly landing the harder strikes.

Round 3
Dodson lands a nifty combo with a right outside leg kick followed by a left kick to the body. Lineker backs him up toward the fence but doesn’t attack before Dodson angles away. Suddenly, Lineker connects with a heavy left hook that forces Dodson to go on the defensive. Lineker shouts at his opponent and waves for him to engage, but 20 seconds later, the flyweights are back in their familiar pattern. Dodson puts a hard kick on Lineker’s body and narrowly blocks a big right hand counter. Midway through the round and the fight, Lineker is starting to find a home for more of his punches, but he’s still being forced to chase after a speedy moving target. Lineker continues to give chase down the stretch; Dodson backs up to the fence and pops the Brazilian with a counter left on the exit. Lineker waves his arms to hype up the crowd, connects with an overhand right but can’t follow up.

Round 4
The flyweights are back to their familiar setup at the start of the fourth, with Lineker stalking out from the middle and Dodson in constant motion around the outside. Lineker is still swinging heavy left hands, but Dodson continues to beat him to the punch, striking with blinding speed even at this late stage in the fight. Dodson tries a quick takedown, can’t get it and goes back to hopping around the edge of the cage. Lineker picks off a jump knee attempt with a right hand that spins Dodson around. Lineker whiffs on a left hook and waves Dodson forward in frustration, but Dodson just keeps to his back foot. Lineker attacks with a body-head combination, scoring several shots to the breadbasket and a hard left up top. Dodson is in full-on sprint mode now, running away from Lineker without offering any retaliation. Lineker counters a low kick with a thumping left hand over the top, then slugs Dodson hard in the gut. Despite this strong round for Lineker, the Brazilian is the one wearing damage on his face, his right eye rapidly swelling up from underneath.

Round 5
Dodson’s frenetic movement from the earlier rounds has vanished at the start of the final frame, though he’s still able shift his hips quick enough to dismiss a Lineker takedown attempt. It’s Lineker going hell for leather here, still swinging murderous left hands, though they’re coming a bit slower now. Dodson sticks a jab as he steps off the fence, avoiding a body kick and an uppercut in the same motion. Lineker steps into the pocket; Dodson simply shoves him away. Lineker comes back again; Dodson tags him with a short, crisp left hook and then angles away. Lineker is swinging powerful punches, but Dodson looks to be deflecting nearly everything aimed at his head. With 80 seconds left, it’s Dodson nearly scoring a knockdown with a left hand to the jaw that puts Lineker on rubber legs. Down to the final minute now, Lineker comes in with his hands low and gets popped with a right hand. Dodson changes levels behind the punch and tries a takedown. When the shot leads to nothing, Dodson climbs up on Lineker’s back and takes him for a quick ride around the cage before hopping off. Dodson fires off a left high kick in the closing seconds, but Lineker eats it and charges forward for one last attack on the spot where Dodson had been standing.

The Official Result
John Lineker def. John Dodson via Split Decision (48-47, 48-47, 47-48) R5 5:00