RIO RANCHO – The magic is back for John Dodson.
Dodson, affectionately called “The Magician,” recorded his first UFC knockout in nearly four years, disposing of England’s Nathaniel Wood at 16 seconds of the third round at UFC Fight Night Rio Rancho, Saturday at the Santa Ana Star Center.
In the featured preliminary fight, short-notice replacement Daniel Rodriguez of Los Angeles repeatedly stung Jackson-Wink’s Tim Means with left hands, and drew a close to the welterweight feature with a front-choke submission.
The end for Means came at 3:37 of the second round.
In recent fights, Dodson (21-11) has seen a murderer’s row of ascending prospects, most recently Petr Yan and now Wood.
Dodson said he isn’t ready to become a gatekeeper for a bantamweight division, and still considers himself championship caliber.
“Every single time these (prospects) beat me, I’m a huge victory (for them),” Dodson said. “… They want to come after me because I’m the biggest threat in the division.”
A few seconds into the third round, Dodson landed a counter left hand to floor Wood (16-4), and followed up with his trademark swarming, rapid-fire shots to force the stoppage.
Dodson said he took some corner advice to heart between the second and third rounds.
“(My corner) said ‘John, go ahead and hit this dude so we can go home.’ So, I did,” Dodson said.
Means (29-12-1) took Rodriguez (11-1) down early in the first round, but let him up quickly. As the opening round progressed, Rodriguez settled in, and started to connect with his jab.
Just before the first-round horn, Rodriguez landed a hard left behind Mean’s right ear sending Means to the canvas.
Means wobbled back to the corner, and said post-fight that he was caught with a big punch, but also damaged his right knee.
“Hats off to Rodriguez and his team,” Means said. “About a minute and a half, I felt something pop in my knee. We’re going to get that checked out, but great fight on (Rodriguez’s) part.”
In other fights:
Scott Holtzman (14-3) won his fifth lightweight fight in six outings taking a 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 unanimous decision from UFC veteran Jim Miller (31-14).
Holtzman’s best moment came late in the second round when he executed a takedown and bloodied Miller with ground and pound.
Miller was making his 34th appearance in the UFC octagon to tie Donald Cerrone for the most all-time appearances in the UFC.
Miller was fighting in the UFC for four years before Holtzman made his professional debut.
“I didn’t know if I could win, if I’m honest,” Holtzman said, “but my team believed in me.”
Devin Clark (11-4), fighting for Jackson-Wink, continued his string of alternating wins and losses claiming a unanimous decision over Dequan Townsend (21-11).
The three judges saw it 30-27, 30-26, 30-26.
Clark is 5-4 in the UFC, but has not lost back-to-back fights.
“I’ve been doing this won-loss thing recently,” Clark said. “So, I have to find my groove and put a win streak together.”
Surging bantamweight, Merab Dvalishvili (10-4), dealt Casey Kenney (13-2) his first UFC defeat picking up a 30-27, 30-25, 29-28 unanimous decision.
Dvalishvili, who fights for New York-based Serra-Longo, executed takedowns in all three rounds to gain the nod.
Macy Chiasson (6-1) bounced back from her first professional loss in dominant fashion.
Chiasson, of New Orleans, defeated UFC promotional newcomer Shanna Young (7-3) by unanimous decision, 30-26, 30-26, 30-26.
Chiasson scored repeatedly with knees from the clinch to capture the opening round, and used stifling top control after takedowns in the second and third rounds to sweep the scorecards.
In the night’s opening fight, Brazil’s Raulian Paiva (19-3) may have saved his job when he stopped Mark De La Rosa (11-4) in the second round.
A graduate of the Dana White Contender Series, Paiva dropped his first two UFC flyweight fights, but an overhand right forced the stoppage at the 4:42 mark. “We trained that a lot,” Paiva said through an interpreter, regarding his fight-ending punch. De La Rosa has dropped three straight fights.