Johnson vs. Bagautinov: Complete Guide to UFC 174 Fight Card

Jeremy Botter@jeremybotterMMA Senior WriterJune 9, 2014

Johnson vs. Bagautinov: Complete Guide to UFC 174 Fight Card

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    It has been three years, nearly to the day, since the Ultimate Fighting Championship and its one-Octagon circus last rolled into Vancouver. The sport of mixed martial arts has long been plagued with issues in British Columbia, and the issues were great enough that the UFC avoided the area altogether.

    Those issues are mostly resolved now, and the promotion is headed back to town with a world championship fight and an intriguing main card that features the return of one of its more popular former heavyweight champions. And, as always, the entire card is available for viewer consumption in one form or another.

    So kick back, prepare your mouse-clicking finger and get ready to check out the entire UFC 174: Johnson vs. Bagautinov fight card.

Jason Saggo vs. Josh Shockley

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    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Saggo 9-1, Shockley 11-2
    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    This fight serves as the UFC debut for both Jason Saggo and Josh Shockley.

    Saggo, Canadian by birth, has spent nearly his entire fighting career competing on the Canadian indie circuit. His record is mostly filled with opponents you've never heard of; his biggest opponent was Jesse Ronson, and Saggo lost that one by decision.

    Shockley actually competed in Bellator, in which he lost to Toby Imada but defeated Shamar Bailey. Which is to say that Shockley and Saggo are probably at the same stage of their careers, though Shockley has faced far better opposition.

    Prediction: Josh Shockley

Roland Delorme vs. Michinori Tanaka

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    Division: Bantamweight
    Records: Delorme 9-2, Tanaka 9-0
    See it on: UFC Fight Pass

    Roland Delorme comes into the fight off a loss; he dropped a split decision to Alex Caceres at UFC 165 last September. He has two wins in the UFC and is one of those guys who always surprises you when he outperforms your expectations of what he is capable of.

    I think he'll do the same thing against the undefeated Michinori Tanaka. A zero in the loss column always looks impressive; it is less impressive, though, when you consider that Tanaka's level of competition is not remotely close to Delorme's.

    Tanaka's gym is called Reversal Gym Yokohama Ground Slam, though. So at least he has that going for him. After UFC 174, he'll no longer have an undefeated record.

    Prediction: Roland Delorme

Kajan Johnson vs. Tae Hyun Bang

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    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Johnson 19-10-1, Bang 16-8
    See it on: FX

    I won't call Kajan Johnson a patsy, because he is a long-time veteran of mixed martial arts. He's also a member of the vaunted Tristar Gym in Montreal, which has turned out a few pretty good fighters over the last decade.

    But the truth of the matter is that over the last 12 years, every time Johnson has faced someone with a modicum of skill, he has lost. I expect that to continue against Tae Hyun Bang. Which is not to say the South Korean product is a world-beater, because he is not. He's just better than Johnson.

    Prediction: Tae Hyun Bang

Mike Easton vs. Yves Jabouin

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    Division: Bantamweight
    Records: Easton 13-4, Jabouin 19-9
    See it on: FX

    This fight feels as though it should be the "FX main event"; the concept of having a television main event is a silly one, but if they're going to do it, why not fill the spot with two guys who people have heard of?

    Regardless of placement, the fight is happening, and it could be fun. It could also be boring, which might be why Sean Shelby elected to bury it further down the card. Mike Easton has lost three in a row. Even though those losses were to T.J. Dillashaw, Brad Pickett and Raphael Assuncao, the UFC rarely allows fighters to lose four in a row and keep their jobs. This is a critical fight for Easton, and he'll be looking to get a win any way he can.

    Yves Jabouin isn't in such dire straits. He has lost two of his last three, but he's in no danger of being cut. That gives him more freedom in the cage, but he'll need to keep Easton off of him for three full rounds, and I don't think he can do that.

    Prediction: Mike Easton

Valerie Letourneau vs. Elizabeth Phillips

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    Division: Women's Bantamweight
    Records: Letourneau 5-3, Phillips 4-1
    See it on: FX

    This is one of those fights that started as something and ended up as something else entirely. Valerie LeTourneau was originally a replacement for Germaine de Randamie, and then she ended up facing a replacement opponent of her own. And so, instead of Germaine de Randamie vs. Milana Dudieva, we have Valerie LeTourneau vs. Elizabeth Phillips.

    Both women are making their UFC debut, though Letourneau had a brief fling with the promotion when she lost to Roxanne Modafferi in an elimination fight on The Ultimate Fighter. Neither are all that experienced, and it is hard to imagine either of them progressing enough to be considered a legitimate title threat.

    Prediction: Valerie Letourneau

Kiichi Kunimoto vs. Daniel Sarafian

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    Division: Welterweight
    Records: Kunimoto 16-5-2, Sarafian 8-4
    See it on: FX

    This could be the last chance for Daniel Sarafian, a veteran of the UFC's first foray into Brazilian versions of The Ultimate Fighter, to make something of his tenure in the UFC. He is dropping from middleweight to welterweight; dropping a weight class is usually a sign of someone who desperately needs a win.

    He won't get it here.

    Kiichi Kunimoto hasn't faced the level of competition Sarafian has, but he is a slightly better fighter. He won his UFC debut, though it was a gift decision by disqualification when opponent Luiz Jorge Dutra mercilessly elbowed him in the back of the head. But when Kunimoto isn't being elbowed in the back of the head, he is a submission threat with knockout power.

    Prediction: Kiichi Kunimoto

Ovince St. Preux vs. Ryan Jimmo

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    Division: Light heavyweight
    Records: St. Preux 15-5, Jimmo 19-3
    See it on: Pay-per-view

    Ovince St. Preux, or OSP, as we call him, is slowly morphing into something resembling a threat. Perhaps not a championship threat, but a threat regardless. The former collegiate football player may be finding his stride late in life, but he is finding it all the same; he is undefeated in his UFC tenure thus far, with wins over Gian Villante, Cody Donovan and Nikita Krylov.

    Ryan Jimmo is 3-2 in his UFC career. Prior to his loss to James Te Huna, Jimmo hadn't lost a fight since 2007. He certainly possesses the skills to beat St. Preux, either by trademark boring decision or knockout. But having the skills and actually executing them are two entirely different things. It rarely happens that a Jimmo opponent has the strength to overpower him, but St. Preux does, and that will be the difference here.

    Prediction: Ovince St. Preux

Brendan Schaub vs. Andrei Arlovski

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    Division: Heavyweight
    Records: Schaub 10-3, Arlovski 21-10
    See it on: Pay-per-view

    This one is hard to call. It is. Don't laugh at me.

    On the surface, it feels like Andrei Arlovksi is being brought in to lose to Brendan Schaub, and most will look at Arlovski's loss to former welterweight Anthony Johnson as a sign that his best days are long in the rear-view mirror. His chin is terrible, too, so that doesn't help.

    But Schaub's chin is also terrible. He can avoid this by wrestling Arlovksi, but I am not certain he'll be able to do that. And if he cannot get Arlovski down and keep him there, there is every chance that he'll find himself waking up on the canvas, looking up at the lights.

    This one is simple: Someone is going to punch a dude in the face, and someone is going to get punched in the face. The dude being punched in the face will likely crumple the first time he's touched. I think that's going to be Schaub, though I do admit this one could go either way.

    Prediction: Andrei Arlovski

Ryan Bader vs. Rafael Cavalcante

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    Division: Light heavyweight
    Records: Bader 16-4, Cavalcante 12-4
    See it on: Pay-per-view

    Much like the last fight, I think Ryan Bader has an awful chin. His KO losses came at the hands of Glover Teixeira and Lyoto Machida, sure, but they were still knockouts. He has huge power, and his wrestling is always an effective weapon in his arsenal.

    Rafael Cavalcante also has a suspect chin, but overall, he is a better mixed martial artist than Bader. And though Bader hits like a mack truck, Cavalcante hits harder. The former Strikeforce champion is coming off a huge one-minute TKO win over Igor Pokrajac, and I think he'll continue his run.

    Prediction: Rafael Cavalcante

Rory MacDonald vs Tyron Woodley

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    Division: Welterweight
    Records: MacDonald 16-2, Woodley 13-2
    See it on: Pay-per-view

    With apologies to main event fighters Demetrious Johnson and Ali Bagautinov, this is the most intriguing and important fight on the entire card.

    The winner of this bout will put themselves within shouting range of a welterweight championship fight. That is a big deal for Rory MacDonald, who willingly lived in the shadow of teammate Georges St-Pierre while moving up through the UFC ranks.

    It is also a big deal for Tyron Woodley, who rebounded from a curious (and wrong) split-decision loss to Jake Shields by sending Josh Koscheck into a violent, likely retirement. He then beat Carlos Condit; the win was by injury, but the injury was caused by Woodley kicking the holy hell out of Condit's leg. So that's still a win.

    This is a fight in which MacDonald will want to get to the ground as quickly as possible, because Woodley has massive power and the striking to send anyone he faces to the canvas. The problem is that MacDonald probably doesn't have much of a wrestling advantage, and he certainly doesn't have enough power to muscle Woodley around. He is a better technical boxer, but if he is hesitant the way he has been for the past few years, he will pay for it.

    Prediction: Tyron Woodley

Demetrious Johnson vs. Ali Bagautinov

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    Division: Flyweight
    Records: Johnson 19-2-1, Bagautinov 13-2
    See it on: Pay-per-view

    Flyweight champion Johnson has nearly cleaned out his division. He has beaten every big name—some of them twice. And he is much better in every area of mixed martial arts than Bagautinov.

    Johnson is a massive favorite here for good reason. There is no area where Bagautinov can hope to gain an advantage, and Johnson's speed is simply too great. I suspect we will see a dominant performance from the champion in this fight, and he'll continue his march up the pound-for-pound ladder.

    Prediction: Demetrious Johnson