UFC 174 was a let down, and that could very well be an understatement.
The undercard of the event never looked stellar, but it did exceed its expectations and included three finishes.
Jason Saggo TKO'd Josh Shockley on the UFC Fight Pass preliminary card, Tae Hyun Bang stopped Kajan Johnson in the opening FX preliminary bout and Kiichi Kunimoto capped off the prelims with an upset submission over Daniel Sarafian.
However, folks had already turned their attention to a main card that looked like it could deliver on paper.
Ovince St. Preux vs. Ryan Jimmo would set the winner on the path towards a top 10 fight in the light heavyweight division. A lot was at stake, but an injury marred the bout. Jimmo broke his arm at some point and was forced to verbally submit.
Next on the docket was the return of Andrei Arlovski to the UFC. He would take on Brendan Schaub in a sure-fire thrill ride in the heavyweight division.
Arlovski and Schaub failed to deliver much action at all. It was a painful 15 minutes.
Schaub was looking for one specific combination to end the fight, and that made it easy for Arlovski to avoid. The former UFC champion was not very active in the bout at all. It was a tentative bout with low output. A disappointment to say the least.
Ryan Bader and Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante was up next. Another high-stakes light heavyweight tilt—another disappointment.
Bader looked very good. He executed a game plan that ensured him a victory. Feijao's ineptitude during the fight brought down the excitement, and Bader's inability to do much damage was equally as draining for the fans. It was just another 15 minutes of waiting for something special to happen.
Surely the co-main event would deliver? Partially.
Rory MacDonald was the fan-favorite. The hometown kid put on one of his best career performances. However, he failed to truly hurt Woodley and put a stamp on the performance. Instead, it was 15 minutes of domination. After the first five, we got the gist of the fight.
Watching MacDonald was entertaining, but the fight itself was not due to how one-sided it was.
The same can be said for the main event between Demetrious Johnson and Ali Bagautinov.
The fans in the arena were heading for the doors after the fourth round. It looked like Miami Heat fans heading for the exit during a blowout. Everyone knew Johnson had it in the bag, and no one expected a finish at this point. There wasn't any reason to stick to the edge of your seat. It was time to beat the traffic.
UFC 174 ended without much to talk about. No one put themselves on the map.
UFC President Dana White did not even show up at the post-fight press conference. It was that kind of night. Everyone was frustrated by how the event came off.
We cannot expect every single event to be a winner, but even with the lackluster offerings we hope to come away feeling we spent our time well. UFC 174 was not time well spent. The winners were fans who couldn't catch the show and had to read the results. They saved time.
UFC 174 was forgettable. Now that it is over, we will all turn our attention towards bigger fights down the pipeline and hope that future UFC events provide us with a better slate of action.
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