UFC 174: 5 Reasons to Watch

Riley KontekFeatured ColumnistJune 10, 2014

UFC 174: 5 Reasons to Watch

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    David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

    UFC 174 marks the company's return to pay-per-view this weekend on the back of a UFC title fight. Led by Demetrious Johnson and Ali Bagautinov, the show boasts a stacked card with stars from the top to the bottom of the bill.

    There has been somewhat of a negative reaction to this pay-per-view—whining about a lack of star power.

    However, the card boasts a championship bout, a bout for potential No. 1 contendership, the return of a former UFC heavyweight champion and many other guys in their respective title pictures.

    Do you need five reasons to watch this event? Here are five that should persuade you to check out the card this weekend.

Underrated Title Bout

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    Steve Yeater/Associated Press

    For some reason, most MMA fans have not gotten behind Demetrious Johnson. That is foolish considering he is a UFC champion who is only getting better.

    Johnson was criticized for not being a finisher. So what did he do? He tapped out John Moraga with an armbar and knocked out Joseph Benavidez in brutal fashion.

    Basically, Johnson is a stud. He may not be a top pay-per-view draw now, but he should and could be in the future.

    He does face an interesting challenge in the form of Ali Bagautinov, though. Bagautinov is a sambo fighter with heavy hands. He presents the wrestling and dangerous striking that could be tough for Johnson to deal with.

    Say what you want about this fight, but if what you say is anything outside of respect for this interesting title bout, you're crazy. 

Top Contenders Fight for Spot in No. 1 Contendership Bout

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    USA TODAY Sports

    It's possible that the winner of Rory MacDonald vs. Tyron Woodley in the co-main event could earn a shot at the No. 1 contendership.

    Right now, Matt Brown and Robbie Lawler are set to fight for the shot at Johny Hendricks and his UFC title.

    That doesn't mean there shouldn't be a line forming behind them.

    The MacDonald-Woodley fight represents two of the best fighters in the UFC at 170. So does the fight between Hector Lombard and Dong Hyun Kim.

    Assuming the top contention bout between Lawler and Brown doesn't fall through, we could have two storms colliding. The winner of MacDonald vs. Woodley against the winner of Lombard vs. Kim for the next shot at the championship would be awesome.

    That's why this fight in the co-main event is so important. 

Return of a UFC Champion

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Strikeforce wasn't a good time for Andrei Arlovski. He went through a valley in his career where he was losing fights in brutal fashion.

    Since then, the former UFC champion has been quite successful. Outside of a loss to top light heavyweight Anthony Johnson, Arlovski has been top notch in beating his foes.

    He has a tough challenge in his return fight when he takes on Brendan Schaub, though. His chin and takedown defense will likely be tested. If those aren't up to par, Arlovski will struggle in his return to the world's largest MMA promotion. 

Jabouin vs. Easton: FOTN Material

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Do you like striking affairs in the cage? Of course you do, especially when they are active, entertaining bouts.

    That's what you will get in an undercard bout between Yves Jabouin and Mike Easton.

    Both men have a track record of putting on wildly entertaining fights. Jabouin is a flashy, quick striker who knows nothing but entertainment. Easton is a brawler with immense power and is always moving forward.

    These two are on a collision course for a Fight of the Night check. If the fight goes as expected, you can be certain that it will be an early treat for fans. 

Debut of Michinori Tanaka

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    The UFC has been signing exciting prospects left and right lately. Not too many are as exciting and interesting as Japanese grappler Michinori Tanaka.

    Tanaka is an undefeated fighter who has dominated opponents since stepping into the pro ranks. His grappling and submission acumen have made him into one of the best up-and-coming 135-pounders in the world.

    He has a tough test in front of him in the form of Roland Delorme, a judo black belt with solid grappling chops himself. It will be a good measuring stick for Tanaka, who could be a future top-20 fighter with the company.