UFC 174 takes place Saturday night from Vancouver, British Columbia. In the main event, Demetrious Johnson defends his UFC flyweight title against challenger Ali Bagautinov. Johnson was the first UFC flyweight champion and has successfully defended his title three times. Bagautinov, a Russian fighter nicknamed the Puncher King, comes into the bout on a 11 fight winning streak. In the co-main event, 16-2 24-year-old British Columbia native Rory MacDonald takes on 13-2 Missouri bred contender Tyron Woodley in an important welterweight contest.
UFC flyweight title: Demetrious Johnson vs. Ali Bagautinov
Johnson is the unquestioned king of the 125 pound division, having cleaned out almost all of a thin crop of talent. He defeated top contender Joseph Benavidez twice as well as other key contenders John Dodson and Ian McCall. Bagautinov is an interesting challenge, bringing a wide array of skills in sambo, wrestling, jiu jitsu and boxing. Johnson is a heavy favorite but Bagautinov could be his toughest challenge in the near future.
Round 1. Bagautinov throws some heavy punches that miss and then connects with a body kick. Johnson throws a few leg kick but isn't using many punches, clearly showing respect for the power of the Russian. They clinch and Bagautinov looks for a takedown. Johnson throws a few knees to the body from the clinch. They trade knees and Johnson lands some hard ones to the head. Bagautinov slams Johnson down late but Johnson gets back up. Close round. Bagautinov was doing better early but Johnson gets it with his late offense. 10-9 Johnson.
Round 2. Bagautinov clinches but can't get a takedown. Johnson lands a few leg kicks from the outside. Having gone low consistently, he catches Bagautinov with a head kick. Bagautinov lands a few punches but Johnson is more active. Johnson hits Bagautinov with a hard right hook that is one of the best punches of the fight. Bagautinov goes for a high kick. Johnson then moves in with a knee and they clinch. Bagautinov tries for a takedown but can't get it. 10-9 Johnson.
Round 3. Johnson lands some kicks from distance early. Bagautinov swings and misses with punches but he is able to grab Johnson and slam him down hard. Unfortunately for Bagautinov, Johnson stands right back up. Johnson lands some knees from the clinch late. 10-9 Johnson.
Round 4. Johnson shoots in. He teases a takedown but then just lands a few knees and backs off. Johnson is connecting a lot more because of his speed but he isn't doing a lot of damage. Johnson uses the same technique from before of teasing a takedown, landing a knee, and getting out. Johnson mixes in kicks at different angles. Johnson slips and eats a punch. Johnson moves in with a flying knee and lands a few additional knees from the clinch. 10-9 Johnson.
Round 5. Johnson goes back to work from the outside. Bagautinov looks for a takedown from the clinch but can't get it. They separate and Johnson continues to attack, mixing in kicks low and high with knees when they move into close range. 10-9 Johnson.
Winner: Demetrious Johnson, unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45).
Tyron Woodley vs. Rory MacDonald
Woodley and MacDonald are two of the welterweight division's best. Woodley came from a wrestling background and has added power punching to his repertoire as well. MacDonald is considered one of Canada's best fighters, well rounded and dangerous at only 24. He has seemed to take a step back in some recent fights, making this an important fight to show where he stands against elite opposition. The winner was supposed to get a title shot at champion Johny Hendricks, but now it appears that shot will go first to the winner of a Robbie Lawler-Matt Brown contest on Fox. Regardless, the winner of this fight will be right near the top of the line for a future opportunity at UFC gold.
Round 1. The crowd chants for Rory as the fight commences. Woodley moves in and attacks the body from the clinch. He lands a series of knees before MacDonald breaks away. Woodley lands a nice kick to the body and moves out. MacDonald comes in with an elbow and a kick to the body. Woodley clinches and eats a knee to the body. MacDonald lands a kick to the body but Woodley catches it and lands a punch up the middle. Woodley gets a takedown but MacDonald immediately stands back up. MacDonald consistently is moving into close range with Woodley and backing him up against the cage. MacDonald lands a series of punches by the cage at the end. Close round. 10-9 MacDonald.
Round 2. MacDonald throws an ax kick that misses. MacDonald teases a takedown but doesn't go for it aggressively. MacDonald backs Woodley up against the cage. Woodley lands a nice leg kick. MacDonald attacks the body with punches. MacDonald follows with additional punches by the cage. Woodley is struggling to get in offense. MacDonald attacks with punches high and low on Woodley. He isn't doing a ton of damage but he is controlling the pace and nature of the fight. MacDonald is waiving his hands around and taunting a little. He then hits Woodley with a crisp jab as the round ends. 10-9 MacDonald.
Round 3. MacDonald again presses Woodley against the cage. He attacks the body with kicks while attacking higher with punches. MacDonald gets Woodley down two minutes into the round, taking down the wrestler with his wrestling. MacDonald isn't able to land all that much, but he controls Woodley from the top while landing the occasional shot. MacDonald postures up to get leverage on his punches, but also has to deal with some upkicks in the process. MacDonald moves into mount and then over into side control in the final minute. MacDonald drops down punches until the fight ends. 10-9 MacDonald, 30-27 MacDonald.
Winner: Rory MacDonald, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Ryan Bader vs. Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante
Bader has been a contender in the light heavyweight division for quite a while now since breaking into the UFC by winning the Ultimate Fighter. His biggest wins are over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Quinton Jackson. He mixes an excellent wrestling background with solid power in his fists. Feijao is first and foremost a striker, with all 12 of his wins coming via strikes. He made his way through the IFL, Elite XC and Strikeforce organizations before arriving in the UFC.
Round 1. Bader gets a takedown less than a minute in but Feijao stands right back up. Bader pulls him back down but Feijao gets back up again. Again, Bader pulls him down. Again, Feijao stands up. That repeats itself once more. Bader trips him down, but Feijao again stands up immediately. Bader throws a series of knees to the legs. Bader finally backs off. Bader lands a nice right and then gets out of range before Feijao can land a big counter. Feijao moves in with a hard left hook. He follows with a jab. Bader charges in and gets a big takedown. Feijao eats some punches by the cage trying to get up. He hits Feijao with a vicious knee to the body at the end of the round, easily his hardest shot of the fight. 10-9 Bader.
Round 2. Feijao lands a spinning back kick at the onset of the round. Bader moves in for a takedown but has it blocked. Bader shoots for another takedown and this time he gets it. Feijao gets up without taking much damage. Feijao has slowed down and is just looking to land one big shot. Bader lands a punch, teases a takedown, and backs off. Bader gets a takedown late. 10-9 Bader.
Round 3. Feijao connects with a couple hard punches early. He lands a few more moments later and appears to have Bader in a little trouble. Bader moves in for a takedown and eats some hard elbows to the ear. Bader shoots for another takedown and this time he gets it. He attacks the body on the ground. Lackluster fight finally ends. 10-9 Bader, 30-27.
Winner: Ryan Bader, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Jason Saggo vs. Josh Shockley
Saggo and Shockley are making their UFC debuts. Saggo has achieved a 9-1 record mostly on the Canadian circuit while Shockley is a 11-2 Bellator veteran coming off a win over respected veteran Micah Miller.
Round 1. Saggo takes down Shockley with a beautiful throw. Shockley looks to trap Saggo's arm for a submission from the bottom but Saggo gets out and passes into side control position. He then transitions into mount but quickly loses it. Shockley gets up and throws some knees to the body. From the clinch, Saggo gets another takedown. Saggo lands some punches from the top and takes Shockley's back when Shockley tries to get up. He lands a flurry of punches from that position. Shockley turns over and Saggo continues landing punches from mount. Shockley turns again, eats more punches from the back, and the referee stops the fight at the very end of the round.
Winner: Jason Saggo, TKO, round 1.
Roland Delorme vs. Michinori Tanaka
Delorme is a Canadian Ultimate Fighter veteran coming off a loss to Alex Caceres. Tanaka is an undefeated Japanese prospect who excels in the ground game and is making his UFC debut.
Round 1. Delorme drops Tanaka with a punch and pursues to the ground. Tanaka is quickly able to sweep Delorme and take top position. Delorme looks to lock up a triangle from the bottom but can't get it. Delorme then attempts to stand but Tanaka nicely keeps him grounded. Tanaka drops a few punches from the top. He continues to maintain control and do work. 10-9 Tanaka.
Round 2. Tanaka lands a solid 2 punch combination early. Delorme tries to pursue but Tanaka keeps moving out of range. Tanaka shoots in and gets a takedown up against the cage. Tanaka drops elbows and maintains control for the remainder the round. One-sided round for Tanaka. 10-9 Tanaka.
Round 3. Tanaka clinches and throws Delorme down again. Tanaka moves into side control position but quickly loses it and Delorme takes top position. Delorme moves into mount but loses it and Tanaka takes back top position. He retains control and lands punches to finish the round. 10-9 Tanaka, 30-27 Tanaka.
Winner: Michinori Tanaka, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Kajan Johnson vs. Tae Hyun Bang
Johnson is a Canadian who has been fighting since 2002 and brings a lackluster 19-10 record into his UFC debut. Bang is a 16-8 South Korean fighter who lost his UFC debut via unanimous decision.
Round 1. The fighters come out swinging early. Johnson lands a head kick early and then a pair of hooks that connect solidly. Bang answers with a nice counterpunch of his own moments later. Bang drops Johnson with a left hand and a scramble ensues where both fighters end up back on their feet. Johnson lands a clean left hook and straight right. They clinch and Johnson takes Bang down. Good, close round where both fighters had their moments. 10-9 Johnson.
Round 2. Johnson looks to establish range with straight punches up the middle. Bang doesn't come out as aggressively as he did in the first round. Johnson looks for a takedown but it's blocked easily. Bang then stuns Johnson with a right hand. Johnson goes for a takedown but Bang rolls through with a choke and takes top position. Johnson looks to attack the leg but gets hit with a series of elbows to the head. Johnson takes top position. Bang looks for a guillotine choke and then stands back up. 10-9 Bang.
Round 3. After a bit slower paced early standup exchange, Bang knocks Johnson out with a big overhand right.
Winner: Tae Hyun Bang, KO, round 3.
Yves Jabouin vs. Mike Easton
Jabouin is a respected WEC and UFC veteran who fights out of Montreal's Tristar Gym. He has fought some of the best fighters in the lighter weight classes, including Mark Hominick, Raphael Assuncao, Brad Pickett and Eddie Wineland. However, he has generally fallen short against top shelf competition and is now 35-years-old. Easton is a proud Washington, DC native who worked his way into bantamweight contention with three straight wins to begin his UFC career. He has dropped his last three fights via decision, albeit to high level opponents, and badly needs a win here.
Round 1. Easton comes out throwing power punches from the inside. He appears to stun Jabouin, but Jabouin switches levels and takes Easton down. Not much happens on the ground and Easton stands back up. Jabouin takes Easton back down but Easton gets right back up. They clinch and Easton lands some knees. Easton looks for a takedown but Jabouin blocks it and ends up back on top. Jabouin drops a hard elbow and Easton gets back up. Easton then takes Jabouin down and gets side control. He lands a few punches and works to set up a kimura. Jabouin powers out and stands up. Jabouin lands an uppercut in an exchange and the round concludes. Close round. 10-9 Jabouin.
Round 2. The second round starts at a fast pace. From close range, the fighters exchange punches and kicks. Easton uses a nice knee and low kick. Jabouin gets a takedown but it doesn't last for long. Jabouin lands a few punches and a spinning back kick on the feet. He adds a hard right hand moments later and takes Easton down. They are stood up for inactivity. 10-9 Jabouin.
Round 3. Easton attacks with straight punches while Jabouin answers with more looping attacks. Jabouin goes for a takedown but Easton pops right back up. They clinch and Jabouin attacks the body with knees and punches. Easton lands a few punches but gets taken down. Easton grabs a kimura and uses it to take top position but then gives it up. Easton looks for the kimura again but can't get it. Easton drops some nice knees to the body and lands some punches to close the fight. 10-9 Easton, 29-28 Jabouin.
Winner: Yves Jabouin, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Valerie Letourneau vs. Elizabeth Phillips
Letourneau and Phillips are making their UFC debuts. Letourneau has a 5-3 MMA record and lost her qualifying fight to make it onto the Ultimate Fighter. Phillips is 4-1 in MMA, but those opponents have a collective 9-10 record.
Round 1. Phillips looks for a takedown but can't get it. Letourneau lands a few nice shots from range. Phillips connects with a nice right hand up the middle of her own. Phillips follows with another similar right to the same area and there is some bad swelling on the face of Letourneau. They exchange wildly to end the round. 10-9 Phillips.
Round 2. Letourneau catches Phillips with an uppercut as Phillips come in. Phillips lands a stiff front kick up the middle. Letourneau goes for a takedown but doesn't get it. Phillips then attempts a takedown of her own. Letourneau prevents it. Phillips noticeably is slowing down midway through the fight. Letourneau continues to utilize her uppercut. Phillips lands a few straight punches. 10-9 Letourneau.
Round 3. Letourneau blocks a takedown attempt and lands a knee. She backs up Phillips with additional punches. Phillips clinches but again struggles to secure a takedown. Phillip lands a few punch combinations of her own. Letourneau lands more as they swing it out at the close. Give Letourneau credit - she had her vision impaired from very early on and took over the fight as it went on. 10-9 Letourneau, 29-28 Letourneau.
Winner: Valerie Letourneau, split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Daniel Sarafian vs. Kiichi Kunimoto
Sarafian gained fame in Brazil from his stint on the first season of the Ultimate Fighter Brazil, but has struggled in the UFC since that show. He is 1-2 in the UFC, albeit with 2 split decision losses. Kunimoto is a Pancrase veteran who won his UFC debut.
Round 1. Sarafian starts fast with a hard right punch and then left to the chin of Kunimoto. Kunimoto looks for a takedown. He gets it and then takes Sarafian's back as Sarafian tries to get up. Kunimoto locks in a rear naked choke and gets the tapout.
Winner: Kiichi Kunimoto, submission, round 1.
Ovince St. Preux vs. Ryan Jimmo
St. Preux played college football at the University of Tennessee before beginning his MMA career. After getting acclimated to the sport, he has won 12 of his last 13 bouts. He is 3-0 in the UFC and is working his way into light heavyweight contender status. Jimmo is a unique personality who thrived in Canada's MFC organization before coming to the UFC. He is 3-2 in the UFC with two wins via impressive knockout.
Round 1. St. Preux opens with a hard kick to the body. He throws a few hard looping punches but they don't land cleanly. Moments later, St. Preux does connect with a big left to the jaw. Jimmo closes distance and clinches. He can't get a takedown and they eventually separate. Jimmo throws a couple of kicks to the body. He follows with a few more kicks to the body after that. St. Preux's pace slows to a crawl as he just stops throwing anything for a large portion of the middle of the round. St. Preux gets a takedown at the end of the round but Jimmo gets up. 10-9 St. Preux.
Round 2. St. Preux gets a takedown. He quickly secures full mount. Jimmo turns and St. Preux takes his back. St. Preux looks to secure a rear naked choke but doesn't have one of his hooks in, which prevents St. Preux from locking up the hold. Jimmo screams out that his arm is broken and the fight is stopped.
Winner: Ovince St. Preux, submission, round 2.
Andrei Arlovski vs. Brendan Schaub
Arlovski, the former UFC heavyweight champion, returns to MMA's premier organization after a six year absence. He was once groomed to be one of the UFC's top drawing cards but that never came to be. He has fought many of MMA's most legendary fighters and remains a well known and popular figure. Schaub, an excellent athlete with a pro football background, has a 10-3 MMA record with wins over the likes of Mirko Cro Cop, Gabriel Gonzaga and Matt Mitrione. This fight is also notable for pairing two fighters who have reputations for being easy to knock out, making a clean knockout seem likely.
Round 1. Arlovski moves in and clinches. He can't get a takedown. Schaub lands the first few punches of the fight, landing cleanly on the chin of Arlovski. Arlovski clinches again. Nothing happens and they separate. Schaub connects with an uppercut. They clinch and Arlovski again can't get a takedown. Schaub loads up a big overhand right but doesn't land cleanly. Arlovski clinches again and again does nothing with it. 10-9 Schaub.
Round 2. Schaub goes low to the body and then high with an overhand right. Arlovski moves in with some punches near the cage and then clinches again. They pull away and return to the standup. Schaub continues to look for the big overhand right power shot. As he moves in with one he gets caught with a counter left hook by Arlovski. Schaub lands that overhand right and clinches. Schaub gets Arlovski down but Arlovski immediately just stands up before Schaub can get any control. Schaub nails Arlovski with a hard uppercut, one of the better shots of what has been a dull bout. 10-9 Schaub.
Round 3. Arlovski lands the first quality blow of the round with a left hook on the inside as Schaub is moving in. Arlovski clinches again but Schaub overpowers him and takes Arlovski to the ground. Schaub attacks the body with punches while Arlovski is content to simply keep Schaub in his full guard and cover up from punches. Schaub lands some punches and hammerfists before Arlovski stands up. Arlovski, with no sense of urgency, simply clinches back on the feet. They exchange punches as the round ends. Schaub's face is badly swollen, perhaps from a jaw injury. 10-9 Schaub, 30-27 Schaub.
Winner: Andrei Arlovski, split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).