The UFC crowned its first flyweight champion less than two weeks ago, finally closing the door on the division’s inaugural championship tournament. Now, with a champion in place, the promotion needs a No. 1 contender for the 125-pound strap.

That’s where John Dodson and Jussier da Silva enter the picture. The pair will meet on the main card of UFC on FX 5 on Friday, Oct. 5, from Minneapolis.

After winning the 14th season of The Ultimate Fighter at bantamweight, Dodson quickly dropped down to his more natural weight class. He defeated Tim Elliott in his most recent outing and a third straight victory in the Octagon would give the New Mexico native a strong argument for a title shot.

Across the cage will be Brazilian Jussier “Formiga” da Silva. The Nova Uniao black belt will be making his UFC debut. The submission ace has only tasted defeat once in his career, dropping a decision to flyweight tournament semifinalist Ian McCall under the Tachi Palace banner.

Let’s take a deeper look at the match-up. And as a reminder, this is a side-by-side comparison of how the fighters’ skills matchup against one another using similar scoring to the unified rules.

Striking: Dodson – 10, Da Silva – 9

Dodson (R) spars with his coach (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Knockout power is a less common weapon in the lighter weight classes, but Dodson is one of the few fighters that has it in his bag of tricks. He utilized it frequently during his run on the reality show, ultimately finishing T.J. Dillashaw to win the show. What makes Dodson’s offensive attack so dangerous on the feet is his unpredictable nature and willingness to throw a variety of spinning and flying attacks.

For da Silva, his biggest asset in the striking department has been a strong chin and patience. As a natural grappler, his striking is not a primary weapon, but he has shown the ability to hold his own against solid strikers Danny Martinez and Mamoru Yamaguchi long enough to implement his ground game. He possesses a solid kicking attack that allows him to mix it up while standing.

Ground Game: Dodson – 9, Da Silva – 10

Da Silva (L) applies an armbar (Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog)

Much like Formiga has held his own in the striking department, Dodson has done the same in the submission game. What is a concern heading into this fight is that Dodson has never faced a fighter with the grappling accolades of the Brazilian. Dodson has never been submitted in his 18 career bouts, but his ground game may truly be tested in this fight. Dodson does have a black belt in Greg Jackson’s Gaidojutsu system, but his offense is not predicated on his submission game.

Nova Uniao black belt. That alone should speak volumes about the grappling skills of the Brazilian. While some fighters of the famed Brazilian team haven’t showcased their grappling prowess, da Silva has. Half of his 14 wins have come by way of submission and his transitional game is a thing of beauty. While fans rave about the speed of flyweights on the feet, Formiga equals that pace on the mat. If he gets on top of Dodson in this fight, don’t be surprised if he finishes the fight.

Wrestling: Dodson – 10, Da Silva – 9

Da Silva (R) works his wrestling (Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog)

In addition to Dodson’s striking attack, he has decent wrestling skills. A two-time state champion in New Mexico, Dodson primarily uses his experience to keep the fight standing. That will be important in this fight, as Dodson will not want to be on his back against da Silva.

While da Silva doesn’t have a traditional wrestling base, he does have great takedowns for a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. Formiga uses his speed and timing to slip punches and secure double leg takedowns much like a fighter who has trained on the wrestling mat his whole life. Against Dodson, he is going to have to creative and surprise the American to get the fight where he wants it.

X-Factor

The biggest wildcard in this fight is how Formiga will respond to being on a much bigger stage. He has only competed out of his native Brazil on four occasions, and his lone loss to McCall was one of those instances. Now he’ll step into the Octagon on the main card of a cable-broadcast event. Will nerves be an issue for the 27-year-old?

Scorecard: Dodson – 29, Da Silva – 28

Verdict: Although Dodson has the edge on the feet and in terms of pure wrestling, he’s going to face the biggest test of his career on the mat. Da Silva’s ability to secure takedowns and outwork his opponents on the mat will prove to be the difference. Both fighters are experienced and durable, so look for this one to go the distance with Formiga having his arm raised in victory.

Top Photo: John Dodson (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

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