In the main event of Saturday’s UFC 174 pay-per-view, flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson successfully defended his title against No. 1 contender Ali Bagautinov via unanimous decision.
Johnson won every round on all three judges' scorecards. MMA Junkie has the official scores:
How clear of a decision was it? Bleacher Report MMA says just about any panel could have gotten this one right:
Mixing in a great balance of speed, defense and unpredictable strikes, Johnson stayed one step ahead of his tough Russian challenger.
At no point in the fight did Johnson look in peril.
Bagautinov gave a great account of himself, but he was simply outclassed by a champion who looks to be getting better with every fight.
Rob Tatum of MMA Corner seconds that:
Early in the fight, Johnson let it be known that he wouldn't be running to stay away from Bagautinov's power. He claimed the middle of the Octagon with aggression and elite skill. Bagautinov deserves credit for his toughness.
He took several hard shots but lasted to the end, despite being beat physically and mentally.
Johnson changed levels beautifully and brutalized the challenger's midsection with kicks and knees. BR MMA had a colorful description of Bagautinov's abdomen:
Johnson won the first-ever flyweight championship against Joseph Benavidez in a thrilling fight in 2012, and his victory on Saturday night against Bagautinov was his fourth consecutive title defense.
Before Johnson was fighting for the flyweight title, he was in a heavier weight class fighting the likes of Dominick Cruz for the bantamweight championship.
With the addition of the smaller class, Johnson has been able to fulfill his abilities and is proving to be one of the pound-for-pound toughest fighters in mixed martial arts. Add in wins against Ian McCall, John Dodson and Benavidez on top of the victory over Bagautinov and Johnson is proving to be a dominant force.
After the bout was over, per the UFC PPV broadcast, Johnson said: "I'm the king right now. I'll stay that way as long as I can."
From the looks of things on Saturday, that could be a very long time.
As big as the win is for Johnson, it is equally as devastating for Bagautinov.
The Russian fighter had won 11 straight fights coming into Saturday’s main event. The loss to Johnson will knock him down the rankings and force him to restart his hunt for the title.
Johnson will now have to turn his focus to his next challenger. Look for top fighters, such as Dodson, to throw their name in the mix for a potential fight and expect wild card McCall to be in the conversation if he can beat Brad Pickett in July.
For now, though, Johnson is the top dog in the flyweight division.
*Stats via UFC.com.
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