UFC 174 is this Saturday and headlining the card is the main event between 125 pound Flyweights Demetrious Johnson and Ali Bagautinov for the UFC title in that division.
The main card has several fights with major divisional implications aside from the main event. The co-main event between Rory MacDonald and Tyrone Woodley comes with the reward of a title shot at 170 pound Welterweight champion Johnny Hendricks.
These two fighters both possess high level wrestling, largely those fights produce more stand up fights as the wrestling credentials of both is cancelled out. I see MacDonald having the cardio edge in this fight as well as a technical striking edge. The power advantage would go to Woodley, however I feel Rory’s movement, jab, and cardio will be enough to clinch the win.
Prediction: MacDonald by decision.
The fight below the co-main event puts two light heavyweights together who have both struggled with consistency, Ryan Bader vs Rafael Cavalcante. These guys bring big time power to this fight, both can end the fight with one big shot at any time, however they are very different fighters. Bader the much stronger wrestler of the two would be advised to take the fight to the ground and not get into a fire fight with Cavalcante as Bader has come out on the losing end of those in several of his last few fights. If Bader is able to get the fight to the ground and impose a grinding style of wrestling be should be able to prevail by way of decision as Bader also has a better gas tank than Cavalcante who has lacked endurance before.
Prediction: Bader by decision.
When deciding who will win a Heavyweight fight sometimes logic is just thrown out because these guys can go down at the seemingly lightest of touches because there is simply so much power behind them. This is what we have here in the Andrei Arlovski vs Brendan Schaub match up. Both fighters have been finished by strikes multiple times in their career and might be known to have “glass jaws” which is a term thrown around too much I believe. Arlovski is the more technical striker and Schaub the better overall grappler. If the fight stays on the feet Arlovski could end it quickly. If Schaub gets him to the ground he may be able to submit Arlovski. What the heck, I’ll go with the Hail Mary bold prediction on this one.
Prediction: Schaub by Submission
The fight to open the main card is two fighters who are attempting to make a splash in the Light Heavyweight division by finishing in exciting fashion. Ovince Saint Preux vs Ryan Jimmo. Jimmo is the better striker of the two with his elusive karate style of darting in and out to land. Ovince Saint Preux finished his last fight by way of the rarely executed submission the Von Flue choke. Saint Preux is the bigger man in this contest and it fully expect him to impose that will with his size.
Predictions: Saint Preux by Decision
Jumping back up to the top of the card we have the main event of the evening 125 pound Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson vs Ali Bagautinov. Many have been saying this is Johnson’s biggest test, Bagautinov has is said to have better wrestling, bigger, and just as quick. I’ll squash that right now. No, Bagautinov is not nearly as quick as Johnson. Demetrious is the fastest fighter in the game today period. I am very high on the prospect Bagautinov, I think he is an immensely skilled fighter who is very good everywhere, I had touted him ever since before his debut. Unfortunately for him he is running up against a buzz saw. Demetrious Mighty Mouse Johnson should be higher on the pound-for-pound rankings because of the way he has evolved from fight to fight. He will dominate this fight for five rounds and secure another title defense.
Prediction: Johnson by decision
UFC 174 should be a wildly exciting card with a good stylistic match up in every fight. I think we will see something special once again from the champ Johnson and a title contender in Rory MacDonald will emerge in the Welterweight division. Tune in Saturday night for can’t miss excitement. Come on, your Saturday’s aren’t that great where you can afford to miss this one.