UFC 174: Fighters in Desperate Need of a Victory

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIJune 14, 2014

Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Sometimes, spectacular things happen when there's a level of desperation involved. Fans can only hope that's the case this Saturday at UFC 174.

The main event will feature a title defense by UFC flyweight champion Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson against Ali "Puncher" Bagautinov. Johnson should use his speed and quickness to overcome the Russian challenger by decision, but as we all know, anything can happen in the Octagon. 

Win or lose, both Johnson and Bagautinov still have decent futures ahead of them in the UFC.

The same can't be said as assuredly for the next three men.


"Supernatural" Tae Hyun Bang

Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Beginning a UFC career 0-2 is the last thing a fighter wants to do. Supernatural would be staring at that unfortunate reality were he to lose to "Ragin" Kajan Johnson during the FX preliminaries on Saturday.

Supernatural came to the UFC having faced a good number of recognizable and respected fighters like Jorge Masvidal and Takanori Gomi while fighting in Sengoku and other promotions. But he wasn't able to grab the victory in those bouts.

He's 2-4 in his last six fights and has had layoffs of 32 and 21 months in that span of time. 

With that recent track record, a loss on Saturday could leave him dangling on the UFC cut line.


Mike "The Hulk" Easton

SINGAPORE - JANUARY 04:  Tae Hyun Bang (L) kicks Mairbek Taisumov during their UFC Fight Night Singapore lightweight bout at Marina Bay Sands on January 4, 2014 in Singapore.  (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)
Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

At one time, Easton looked like he was destined to rise through the bantamweight ranks and earn a title shot. That hasn't happened, and heading into his scrap with Yves Jabouin on Saturday, Easton has lost three fights in a row.

In his defense, the losses have come against real studs.

Newly crowned champion TJ Dillashaw won a unanimous decision over The Hulk in January to set up his title shot against Renan Barao.

Easton also lost to Brad "One Punch" Pickett and Raphael Assuncao, who beat Dillashaw and hasn't lost in over three years.

Still, losing is not good.

Easton needs to handle Jabouin if he wants to have a prayer of re-establishing momentum. He appears to be in good shape, per this tweet prior to weigh-in.

Jan 15, 2014; Duluth, GA, USA; TJ Dilleshaw (red gloves) fights Mike Easton (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Gwinnett Center. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Easton probably isn't flirting with the cut line, but he could fall so far out of contention that he may as well be.


Andrei "The Pitbull" Arlovski

Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

As big names go amongst active fighters, there aren't many who carry the weight that Arlovski does. He has competed against and beaten legends of the sport dating back to the early days of the UFC.

After a six-year hiatus, Arlovski is back with the big promotion with the little name and taking on Brendan "Big Brown" Schaub.

Because of the anticipation created with his return, there's a lot of pressure on Arlovski to perform well. While he may not be immediately released if he loses, the shine of his return will wear off really quick if Schaub dominates him.

Marc Raimondi of Fox Sports believes Arlovski fits the current heavyweight division, win or lose.

We probably won't see a new Arlovski on Saturday. He's likely to be the same impressive boxer with knockout power and good defensive wrestling. Schaub is obviously a tough foe. But no matter what happens in that bout, Arlovski probably has a place in the UFC's relatively thin heavyweight division. He's determined to prove that all over again.

That's probably true, but performing well on Saturday will decide whether or not he's a joke to fans moving forward.


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