XMMA 4 Main Event Betting Pick: Dodson vs Rivera

The UFC’s John Dodson and Francisco Rivera jr. are free agents. John is freshly cut from the promotion and looking for his comeback fight against Francisco Rivera. This XMMA 4 betting pick covers the top mma predictions for Dodson vs Rivera, crunches the stats from their previous fights, and details the fight tape for both fighters. Place your bets for XMMA 4 by April 2nd, 2022 at 7:00 PM ET to get UFC legend John Dodson on your betting ticket!

XMMA 4 Main Event Prediction

John Dodson lost his XMMA 3 fight to the larger Cody Gibson, but Riveraa is the right size for a Dodson win. When John isn’t matched up with the best bantamweights in the world, he’s able to utilize his knockout power and hand speed to take the win. Rivera was knocked out in his last showing by an up and coming fighter. He took four years off after being cut from the UFC, and Dodson is his first big challenge since his career was revitalized. 

XMMA 4 Tale of the Tape for Dodson vs Rivera

Fighter John ‘The Magician’ Dodson Francisco ‘Cisco’ Rivera Jr. 
Money Line  -280 +220
Age 37 40
Height 5’3’’ 5’8’’
Reach 66’’  70’’
Record 21-13 14-8-0, 1 NC
Submissions/TKO  2/10 0/10
Fighter Training Camp Jackson-Wink MMA CWS Training Center

Dodson is only slightly younger than Rivera, and their finishing percentages are similar. Rivera will have a height and reach advantage, but that’s something John is familiar with. 
Dodson gave up even more height and reach to former UFC fighter Cody Gibson. In his last win over Nathaniel Wood, Dodson gave up three inches of both reach and height. 

Should Fighter Camp Affect My Bet?

Dodson has been at Jackson-Wink for a very long time, well over a decade. This camp has talent that brought him to the UFC level, and recently Jackson-Wink has seen an influx of quality prospects that are winning big fights just below the UFC/DWCS level. 
Rivera was originally with All Out MMA but switched to catch-wrestling legend Erik Paulson’s gym over the last five years. CSW has several up and coming athletes and should be a good camp for closing the game on Rivera’s submission work. 
I believe Dodson has the advantage in training camp.

Betting Odds History for XMMA 4 Main Event

Dodson was the favorite in his loss over gibson, but the underdog in the four fights prior. He upset Nathaniel Wood at +140 and beat Pedro Munhoz at -160. He was also the favorite in wins over Wineland and Gamburyan at -400 and -450. 
Rivera was the underdog against Lilley in his XMMA 1 win via TKO. He lost his last three UFC fights, and was the favorite in his bout with Brad Pickett at -155. As the underdog, Lilley was the first upset of his career. He lost to Faber, Mizugaki, Koch and Perez ranging from +100 to +750. 
Oddsmakers have had Rivera spot in against UFC level talent, and assumed he’d lose to Lilley if only because of his age. 
Dodson has been upset twice at the UFC level, but he’s never been knocked out, which is what Rivera tends to need in order to get a UFC level win (as in bouts with Caceres, Roop, Figueroa and others.)

Fight Tape for XMMA 4: Dodson vs Rivera

We’ll be focusing solely on their last few performances, including Dodson’s 2020-2021 run and recent XMMA 3 loss and Rivera’s 2021 return. Rivera has the momentum that includes a three fight winning streak, but Dodson has more consistent performances overall and has never been finished. Neither fighter has lost via knockout in their career, professional or amatuer. 

Dodson vs Gibson MMA Breakdown

Early on in the fight, Gibson looked to hang his weight on Dodson, something the shorter Rivera will have trouble doing. Gibson did a good job of staying just outside the pocket using tactical retreats to the cage to avoid the exchange. As far as point fights go, this bout with Dodson wasn’t about damage. The only significant strikes of the first round were landed by Dodson, and Gibson struggled to make contact outside of the clinch. 
Rivera doesn’t have this kind of springy footwork. I see him struggling to use his conditioning to retreat the pocket again and again. Dodson will catch Rivera inside more often than he did Cody, who was clearly playing it safe and hoping to eke out a decision win. His plan worked, but it made for boring fighting with the usually exciting Dodson. 

We should finally see a return to the kind of Dodson performances the fans have been waiting for. A stationary opponent like Rivera is perfect for the Magician to demonstrate his skills.

Rivera vs Lilley MMA Breakdown

Francisco Rivera stalked Lilley early, the kind of plodding forward movement that John wants to see. Rivera believes in his power, but that’s not such a great idea at 40. Rivera takes punches from Lilley straight down the middle, with little head movement or response. It ended up working, considering that Rivera simply had more power and a better chin, but it’s not a strategy that you can use against top tier strikers in the bantamweight division. Lilley looked more intimidated than dazed, like he was scared of the precedence of fighting a UFC level fighter than actually dealing with Francisco. In the end, he pops right up after the TKO, frustrated with himself. 

XMMA 4 Main Event Wrap Up

Even in Rivera’s best wins of his 2021 return after a five year hiatus, he’s struggling to make his style work. With age, meeting fighters’ center cage and stalking them down becomes less useful. Dodson’s style, accuracy and striking defense are still at a technically high level, and hell have more than a lifetime of combat sports toughness to lean on against the older Rivera. If you’re looking to Parlay your bet with other major promotions, start with our main event pick for CW 136. 

Jacob Clark / Author

Jacob Clark had a 15 year career as a professional MMA fighter, coach, and Greg Jackson’s alum. Now, TikTok’s 12th most important BJJ influencer is bringing his sports and betting knowledge to you here at TheSportsGeek. He spends his time cooking vietnamese food and playing D&D with his family. You can meet him at jiu-jitsu open mats all over Indiana.

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