John Lineker won a close, split-decision victory over John Dodson Saturday night at UFC Portland, overcoming him with superior power punching and overall aggression.
The final scores were 48-47x2 for Lineker and 48-47 for Dodson.
The Number 3 ranked contender thanked God after the fight, then said he wanted a shot at the reigning bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz.
"I came here to give a show to you all," Lineker said. "I trained very hard for this fight; I came here for 5 rounds. I am fighter, and I will fight anyone they put in front of me."
For Lineker, the bout resembled what happens when you try to pick up a wet bar of soap in the shower: just when you think you have it in your hands, it slips out, back to the bottom of the tub.
The Brazilian chased Dodson around the Octagon, throwing right hand after right hand. The blows frequently grazed Dodson's face, but the "Magician" slipped away from his power shots for the most part, staying just out of the heavy hitter's reach.
As the fight wore on, Dodson landed counter punches and kicks on Lineker. Twice, Dodson hit Lineker square in the face with a leg kick, and both times Lineker just stood there, seemingly unphased. The fans booed Dodson for his punch-and-dash style.
At one point, in the second round, a frustrated Lineker stopped in the middle of the Octagon, asking Dodson to stop dancing. He mimicked him, putting his hands on his hips and dancing to the side.
While Dodson sometimes bore a resemblance to Demetrious Johnson's stick-and-move attack, Lineker quietly landed some heavy body kicks and punches on him throughout the fight.
Round 4 saw the most action of the fight. Lineker connected with the heavier punches that seemed to slow his opponent down considerably. Dodson stood there, attempting to exchange blows with him, landing several straight lefts. Lineker, who missed weight by half a pound, was staggered by the last flurry, and finished out the round windmilling big bombs, but not landing any of them.
Lineker came out slow in Round 5, and Dodson made the most of it, landing punches in spurts. Dodson went for a takedown, but Lineker was able to stuff it. Dodson then turned, and jumped on Lineker's back. The Brazilian powerhouse got to his feet, and the referee eventually broke the fighters up.
At the end of each round, the fighters slapped gloves as a sign of respect.
When the fight was over, Dodson's face looked untouched, but Lineker's right eye was visibly swollen. Since Lineker pressed the action throughout the fight, the judges rewarded him with the split decision victory.
Lineker moved to 29-7 and is now on a 6-fight win streak. Johnson falls to 18-8.