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Demetrious Johnson vs. Ali Bagautinov to Headline UFC 174 June 14

Demetrious Johnson celebrates after knocking out Joseph Benavidez in a UFC flyweight mixed martial arts title fight in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Steve Yeater)
Steve Yeater
Steven RondinaFeatured ColumnistApril 9, 2014

Interesting news has come out that UFC flyweight champion Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson will headline UFC 174 opposite surging Russian Ali Bagautinov.

The news was first broken by Canadian sports network SportsNet, and is being confirmed by various other sources. Via Twitter:

Demetrious Johnson vs Ali Bagautinov will headline UFC 174 in Vancouver @ShowdownJoe has learned: http://t.co/bHJhdBDKwW

Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) April 9, 2014

This will be the first time a flyweight bout will headline a UFC pay-per-view card.

Johnson has been on an absolute tear as champion, notching an impressive come-from-behind victory by defeating John Dodson, utterly dominating John Moraga before setting a UFC record for latest stoppage victory. Most recently, he scored a shocking, emphatic first-round knockout over Joseph Benavidez.

While Johnson has been nothing but electric as champion, his drawing power has always been a serious question mark. He initially won the belt as a co-headliner behind a light heavyweight championship bout between Jon Jones and Vitor Belfort. From there, he fought twice in the main event on UFC on Fox.

Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; John Lineker (red gloves) fights Ali Bagautinov (blue gloves) during UFC169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

However, his UFC on Fox 9 bout with Benavidez was actually originally slated to be the main event to the finale of The Ultimate Fighter season 18 on Fox Sports 1. It wound up on Fox when a lightweight tilt between Anthony Pettis and Josh Thomson was scrapped.

It seems, though, that Johnson has earned himself a shot at headlining a pay-per-view main event. 

His opponent, Ali Bagautinov, has been similarly dominant. He owns a 3-0 record in the UFC (13-2 in the MMA) and has handily defeated two fighters that were potential contenders in Tim Elliott and John Lineker.

UFC 174 takes place June 14 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Stick with Bleacher Report for more details as they become available.

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