John Dodson praises “talented” Jenel Lausa and Pinoy grapplers


As they say in the sports world: “Greatness recognizes greatness.” And when UFC contender John Dodson sparred with Jenel Lausa, Eros Baluyot, and Erwin Tagle, he knew that he was dealing with high-caliber fighters.

[mks_dropcap style=”square” size=”52″ bg_color=”#1588db” txt_color=”#ffffff”]F[/mks_dropcap]il-Am bantamweight contender John Dodson visited the Philippines from July 23 to 26 to meet the fans and media. He also hosted an open workout at Robinson’s Place Manila to showcase the type of skills that have led him to the upper rankings in the UFC.

You’ve likely been to one or two (or three or four) of these UFC open workouts before, but this one was different. You know why? Because Dodson didn’t hesitate to get his hands dirty, and he and his Filipino sparring partners didn’t hold back.

At the event, Dodson took on Filipino PXC flyweight champion Jenel Lausa, BJJ brown belter and grappling world champ Eros Baluyot, and former pro fighter and Pinoy MMA pioneer Erwin Tagle.

All three of them held their own against the former two-time UFC flyweight title challenger, who showed how strong and technically savvy he was in their grappling exchanges. Baluyot also aggressively pursued the takedown against the UFC standout, but Dodson was always creative with his defense.

After their intense sparring sessions, Dodson told us that he was impressed by the skill levels of the Pinoy martial artists.

“We had the PXC champion (Jenel Lausa) who’s also a flyweight,” Dodson tells Dojo Drifter in an exclusive interview. “He showed great heart and determination. He had real skill in what he knew. On his actual techniques, he knew when to go for the takedowns, where he wanted to be; his positioning was excellent. And the same thing with the guy who’s a world champion (Eros Baluyot).”

Dodson worked up a real sweat at his open workout. But at that rate, he believes one of his sparring partners went easy on him.

“[Erwin Tagle] was sitting there; I think he was being way too nice. Cuz he was letting me just mess around and I was like ‘haha…thank you.'”

A video posted by erwin tagle ( on

Following both his seminar at The Factory in Makati and his open workout in Manila, Dodson got to work with both casual and competitive Pinoy athletes. And based on what he saw, Pinoy fighters are on the right path toward making a splash in the big leagues.

“These guys are very talented,” said Dodson. “They are showing why they are up-and-coming and why they’re gonna be a force to be reckoned with in the future.”

For our full gallery from the John Dodson open workout, click here.

Gab Pangalangan

Gab Pangalangan is a former collegiate national Judo champ and the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of You can find his other works in the Philippines' leading magazines and websites.
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