The UFC is going to make history on Saturday with flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson defending the title against Ali Bagautinov in the first-ever 125-pound pay-per-view main event fight. Before we get to that epic confrontation, the spotlight is on the preliminary card.
For the first time since UFC 163 in August 2013, the prelims will be airing on FX instead of Fox Sports 1. That's good news for both the company and fighters on the card, as they will get more national exposure on Fox's main cable network.
As far as what fans can expect to see, Dana White and Joe Silva have done a masterful job of providing a little something for everyone. The top four prelim fights come from four different weight classes, including a women's bantamweight bout.
Here we have a look at the preliminary card, where to watch, how to watch, when to watch and all the notes you need to prepare for UFC's big event.
|UFC 174 Preliminary Card|
|Weight Class||Fighter 1||Fighter 2||Network|
|Bantamweight||Roland Delorme||Michinori Tanaka||UFC Fight Pass|
|Lightweight||Jason Saggo||Josh Shockley||UFC Fight Pass|
|Lightweight||Kajan Johnson||Tae Hyun Bang||FX|
|Bantamweight||Yves Jabouin||Mike Easton||FX|
|Women's Bantamweight||Valerie Letourneau||Elizabeth Phillips||FX|
|Welterweight||Daniel Sarafian||Kiichi Kunimoto||FX|
UFC 174 Preliminary Card Schedule
|Fight Card||Start Time (ET)||Live Stream|
|UFC Fight Pass Undercard||7 p.m.||UFC.tv (subscription required)|
|UFC 174 Preliminary Card||8 p.m.||UFC.tv (subscription required)|
Undercard Fight to Watch: Valerie Letourneau vs. Elizabeth Phillips
An unfortunate reality of women's MMA right now is that few fans pay attention unless Ronda Rousey is involved. It's understandable because she's the biggest star on the female side, but that also dismisses the many talented women who are still fighting for respect in this sport.
Valerie Letourneau and Elizabeth Phillips have to earn their stripes in the UFC—both are making their debut with the company—but they have the kind of pedigree to become stars in the bantamweight division.
As Steven Marrocco of MMAJunkie.com wrote in a preview for this event, Letourneau comes from the right gym to have a long, successful career in the UFC: "Montreal’s Tristar gym has, of course, helped produce several UFC standouts and one all-time great in former champ Georges St-Pierre."
While St-Pierre is a lofty standard for any fighter to meet, Tristar has also been the home to Kenny Florian, Rory MacDonald and Miguel Torres. Letourneau is 5-3 in her career and has a very potent punch, with four victories via knockout.
On the other side, Phillips has proved to be more diverse in her career with two wins via knockout and one each via submission and decision. Her lone loss came via knockout, which plays into Letourneau's hands.
Both fighters are also testing their stamina by coming off bouts within the last month. Letourneau didn't exert much energy in a May 16 win over Jordan Moore, scoring a 34-second knockout, but Phillips took a three-round decision on May 30.
Fighter in Desperate Need of a Win: Daniel Sarafian
Expectations were high for Daniel Sarafian following his appearance on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. The 31-year-old won both of his fights in the house by finishing his opponents (via rear-naked choke and flying knee) and was poised to become a fixture on the roster in the finals at UFC 147.
Unfortunately, he suffered an injury in training days before the event and had to pull out of the fight. His debut came at the UFC on Fox event in January 2013, losing to C.B. Dollaway by decision.
Sarafian did get back on track against Eddie Mendez, who played the role of sacrificial lamb at a UFC on Fuel event in June 2013, but Sarafian couldn't sustain the momentum, losing to Cezar Ferreira five months later.
Likely hoping to salvage his career with the UFC, Sarafian is dropping down to welterweight for his UFC 174 bout with Kiichi Kunimoto. It's clear the company wants this guy to succeed because he was so fun and exciting to watch on TUF, but this is also a harsh business. A third loss in four fights wouldn't bode well for his long-term prospects.
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