If Dodson intends to remain a factor in the UFC bantamweight division, and if Means hopes to become a factor at welterweight, now is not the time for a two-fight losing streak.
Saturday on a UFC Fight Night card in Belém, Brazil, both New Mexicans face crucial challenges.
Dodson (19-9) is scheduled to face Pedro Munhoz (15-2). Means (27-9-1) is matched against Sergio Moraes (12-3).
Dodson, who twice fought for the UFC flyweight (125-pound) title, moved back to 135 — he had campaigned at that weight earlier in his career — after his second loss to flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. He’s 2-2 at 135 since the change and is coming off a split-decision loss to Marlon Moraes in November.
Dodson is the UFC’s No. 8 challenger for the bantamweight title held by TJ Dillashaw, whom he defeated by first-round knockout in 2011.
Means is unranked at welterweight (170 pounds) and is coming off a split-decision loss to Belal Muhammad in November.
It certainly doesn’t help the New Mexicans’ cause that both their opponents are from Brazil. But Munhoz and Moraes are both from São Paulo, some 1,800 miles south of Belém.
Dodson and Means train at rival Albuquerque gyms — Jackson-Wink for Dodson, FIT-NHB for Means — but they undoubtedly have crossed paths. They’re both 33 years old, and there’s a good possibility they were classmates at Moriarty High School.
MEANS LAWSUIT: Means has filed a civil lawsuit against parties he claims are responsible for a January 2016 positive drug test that resulted in a six-month suspension levied by the United States Anti-Drug Agency.
Means said a supplement he used prior to a scheduled fight contained the banned substance ostarine, but that ostarine was not listed as an ingredient. USADA eventually agreed that Means’ positive test was due to an unintentional ingestion of ostarine but nevertheless handed down the suspension.
In a suit filed in February 2017 in Santa Fe District Court, Means seeks damages from the manufacturers and distributors of the product.
TROUT: Las Cruces boxer Austin Trout has an opponent for his Feb. 17 bout at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso.
As first reported by espn.com, the former WBA junior middleweight champion will face Colombia’s Juan De Angel on the undercard of a Premier Boxing Champions card.
De Angel (20-7-1) compiled an 18-3-1 record in Latin America before coming to the United States in 2016. He’s 2-4 since, but the losses have come against opponents who had a combined record of 70-4-1.
In De Angel’s last bout, he lost by fourth-round knockout to Antoine Douglas (22-2-1) in Miami last July 14.
Trout (30-4, 17 KOs) was born in El Paso. He hasn’t fought there since November 2011, when he beat Australia’s Frank LoPorto by sixth-round TKO in Trout’s second defense of the WBA junior middleweight title he’d won earlier that year.
The Las Cruces southpaw has lost his last two fights, both IBF junior middleweight title bouts — first to Jermall Charlo by unanimous decision, then to Jarrett Hurd by 10th-round TKO.
The Feb. 17 main event, matching former welterweight champions Devon Alexander and Victor Ortiz, is scheduled to be telecast on Fox. The Trout-De Angel bout is not expected to be televised.
BORG: Albuquerque MMA fighter Ray Borg’s scheduled fight against Mexico’s Brandon Moreno, originally scheduled for Feb. 18 in Austin, Texas, has been rescheduled for April 7 on UFC 223 at Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The UFC made the announcement on Wednesday. A training injury suffered by Moreno caused the postponement.
Borg (11-3) last fought in October, losing by fifth-round submission (arm bar) in a bid for Johnson’s UFC flyweight title. Moreno (14-4) is coming off a loss by unanimous decision to Sergio Pettis in August.