WSOF 18 Fight Breakdown: Hakeem Dawodu vs. Tristan Johnson

hakeem-dawodu The opening main card bout at WSOF 18 is a three-round featherweight bout between Hakeem Dawodu and Tristan Johnson. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Dawodu is a -360 favorite (bet $360 to win $100) while Johnson is a +300 underdog (bet $100 to win $300). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Dawodu at -315 and Johnson at +235, and so far the action is on the favorite Dawodu. I lean towards Dawodu to get the job done in this one. Here’s why. Dawodu (3-0) is new to MMA, having only been a pro fighter for a year, but he’s looked exceptional so far. The 23-year-old Canadian comes from a muay Thai background and so far in his MMA career he’s proven to have made a smooth transition, going 3-0 with three TKO wins in either the first or second round. He is a vicious striker and in his last fight knocked out top Canadian prospect Mike Malott, someone I was very high on, which shows me this guy is legit. Obviously his wrestling and ground game are fairly untested, but if he can keep his fights standing he will almost always have the edge, and going up against a guy like Johnson who can get caught up in a brawl, the style matchup here definitely favor Dawodu and that’s why he is the favorite going into the fight. Johnson (9-5) is a veteran of the Canadian regional circuit. The 31-year-old Canadian is a gatekeeper, someone who the organizations match up against top prospects to see how those prospects will fare. Sometimes those prospects pass the test, but other times they fail — it just depends what version of Johnson shows up on fight night. If it’s the guy who TKOed Lyndon Whitlock in Score Fighting Series, Dawodu could be in for a tough night, but if it’s the guy who was TKOed by Rick Glenn, it could be a short night for Johnson. He is definitely the more well rounded of the two fighters in this matchup with Dawodu, but as of late Johnson has been apt to stand on his feet and trade, and that’s not a smart gameplan against a powerful striker like Dawodu. If Johnson makes this a wrestling match he has a chance, but if he stands and bangs he will be KOed, and that’s why you see the line the way it is. Dawodu has looked exceptional since converting from muay Thai to MMA and I expect that trend to continue in this fight. I like Johnson and he’s long been a tough guy on the Canadian regional circuit, but Dawodu is a serious prospect and I expect him to look quite impressive in this fight and probably get an early knockout. At the current line, I think Dawodu is someone to definitely consider playing this weekend in a two-team parlay.

Written by Adam Martin.

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