Demetrious Johnson vs. Ali Bagautinov: Analyzing Mighty Mouse's UFC 174 Win

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Demetrious Johnson vs. Ali Bagautinov: Analyzing Mighty Mouse's UFC 174 Win
USA TODAY Sports

Demetrious Johnson confirmed his flyweight division dominance at UFC 174's main event, defeating Ali Bagautinov by unanimous decision on Saturday.

Mighty Mouse is definitely among the best pound-for-pound MMA fighters on the planet, and he showed a diverse arsenal with no discernible weaknesses against an outmatched Bagautinov. With more challengers at his weight bound to eagerly step forward, Johnson figures to have plenty of takers to further prove himself in his current weight class.

"I’m the king," said Johnson after the bout, per MMA Junkie's Steven Marrocco. “I’ll stay the king as long as I can, and I’ll keep knocking them down."

This fight was so one-sided—Johnson won each of the five rounds on all three judges' cards—that fans at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada, even headed for the exits early. Fans didn't want to even see Johnson cap off an outcome that was well in hand from the beginning.

MMA Show News' David Kano shared a similar sentiment with regard to flyweights as the headliner:

MMA analyst Robin Black couldn't get enough of Johnson's virtuosic display, though:

There is also still room for Johnson to improve, as devastating as he's been. Sometimes his footwork isn't the best, not quite matching up with his splendid speed. He also has enough force on his strikes to not even need devastating punch combinations.

Bagautinov simply played into Johnson's hands, not requiring him to adjust his game plan. UFC on Fox noted how Bagautinov's best strategy didn't work even in the first round, which was a bad sign of things to come:

Backpedaling frequently toward the edges of the Octagon, the Puncher King didn't quite live up to his moniker. Johnson capitalized by pummeling him against the cage and giving Bagautinov little opportunity to counter. According to FightMetric, Johnson landed 61 percent of his significant strikes compared to Bagautinov's meager 29 percent.

Considering that Bagautinov had won with relative ease in his previous 11 fights before facing Johnson, there aren't many more candidates capable of even giving Johnson a stiff test.

Credit: UFC on Fox

But the fact that fans left early suggests Johnson isn't quite the main event draw that UFC president Dana White was looking for.

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Now that Johnson has successfully defended the UFC Flyweight Championship for the fourth time, he should disprove any of his doubters that he has the ability to step into the bantamweight threshold. Perhaps fighting at a heavier weight will help Johnson's profile.

Johnson seems to be on a different level in improving his MMA record to 20-2-1. With how much of a world-class fighter Bagautinov is reputed to be, anyone keen on tangling with Johnson next should be at least slightly fearful. One strike could change everything, yet Johnson appears too fast to allow a knockout blow to come his way.

The UFC's official flyweight rankings have John Dodson as the best option to square off with Johnson next, but he lost to Mighty Mouse by unanimous decision in January 2013. Although Dodson is a compelling personality, even a career performance may not be enough to knock off Johnson.

There is almost nowhere for Johnson to go but down, or to stay stagnant, barring a move to bantamweight. However, dominating at the highest level of a sport can't be getting old just yet. Johnson figures to make good on his post-fight testimony and be crowned as the perpetual UFC flyweight champion.

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