Dominance in BC (UFC 174 Review)

ufc_174There is nothing more entertaining than a division that has plenty of turnover at the top of the division with any number of fighters having the possibility of winning the title. It makes the division much more entertaining when a champion goes into a title defence with a lot of doubt. That is not always the case in the UFC though as dominant champions are more common for the promotion. There are a number of divisions that have seen some dominant champions rule over the division and make it more about the question of who can beat the title holder rather than the amount of talent in the division. The era of a set of dominant champions is over now as Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva are outside of the UFC, for now at least. Both represented the old time of dominant champions and that period seems to be over but the time of dominant champions remains. Blending the two different eras has been Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones, Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo, and Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson. Johnson is one of the more unique stories in the UFC as he is the one and only Flyweight Champion in the UFC. When the promotion decided to make a new weight class for the lighter weight fighters. To determine the champion of this new division the UFC would put together a tournament with some of the greatest Flyweight fighters in the world. They would bring in a few of these top ranked fighters and would see some of their Featherweight fighters drop in weight to participate in the tournament. Through all of the ability in the tournament Demetrious Johnson would come out on top and take the first ever Flyweight title. After winning the tournament Johnson would move on to eliminate every one of the biggest challengers in the division, even twice in some case. With such a young division the top contenders are all still trying to sort themselves out with a small group standing out to be the best of the best and the only fighters able to challenge for the title. Meanwhile Johnson is left with few new opponents as he continues to take out everyone at the top and remain the only Flyweight champion in the history of the UFC. Every now and then though Johnson will see a new challenger rise up and pass the old faces to give him a new challenge. At UFC 174 he would see just that as Ali Bagautinov stepped into the octagon waiting to challenge one of the few dominant champions in the UFC. Bagautinov also represented the new wave of fighters coming from Russia, more specifically from Dagestan, who had plenty of success in the Combat Sambo circuit and were now looking to take over the UFC. It was the first chance for one of these new wave of Russian fighter to take a title and Bagautinov was hoping to put his name in that mold as the group of fighters begins to take some of the top spots in the division rankings. He would have to beat one of the greatest pound for pound fighters in MMA today in order to do it and would look to his experience as a world champion in Combat Sambo to do it. Both fighters were very even as they were both well-rounded fighters with a wrestling background. It would be difficult to say that either had the advantage in the stand-up or the ground game but one thing was for sure Bagautinov had never seen anyone as fast as Johnson in his MMA career which is what Johnson would look to use to continue his time as champion. The fight would show the continued evolution of the champion as he once again got better in this fight. Bagautinov would stay busy as the fight started but would not do a lot to win the fight. Johnson stayed out of danger despite the pressure of Bagautinov and launched his own counter attack. As the fight moved on Johnson only got stronger and would only pressure Bagautinov more and begin to take over the fight. In the end Johnson was a better fighter than he had ever been and for Bagautinov that was bad news. Johnson would take the fight in a Unanimous Decision and take out another challenger in the Flyweight Division. Bagautinov was only added to the list of former top contenders and he will remain near the top looking for a rematch. Meanwhile Johnson continues his reign as champion and continues to evolve which means only bad things for the entire division as the dominant champion has yet to reach his peak.

Before the lightest weight class in the UFC faced off to find their title two welterweights would go toe-to-toe for a chance to become the next champion. There was no guarantee that a win in the co-main event would give either Tyron Woodley or Rory MacDonald a title shot but an impressive performance was sure to put the winner against Johnny Hendricks. Both fighters had been waiting for their time to get that title shot and both had been campaigning to earn the spot in a title fight. Woodley would lead the way in that category as he had already taken his career into his own hands when he called out Carlos Condit. The move was meant to provide himself with a top contender that would put him into the title conversation. Woodley would get the win but it was a strange fight that ended when Condit twisted his knee and could not continue. The fight was impressive for Woodley but there was still a question of whether or not he could beat a top contender without a random incident. In would step the #2 fighter in the division, Rory MacDonald, who was looking to beat his own top contender to finally prove that he belongs in a title fight after Robbie Lawler earned a title shot after beating MacDonald. Both fighters were hoping to impress the UFC and prove that they can hang with the best of the best including the champion in the division. The fight would see two similar but different fighters as they both had great ground games but preferred to stay standing. For MacDonald the stand-up game was all about the technical style that made his teammate and former champion Georges St. Pierre one of the greatest fighters ever. For Woodley the stand-up game is about his power and pressing pace. These two philosophies would face off as with a chance at a title shot hanging in the balance. It was clear from the start that the technical side would take the advantage in the fight as MacDonald would begin to pick apart Woodley throughout the first round. Woodley would realize the technical advantage of MacDonald and would look to take the fight to the ground where he believed he had an advantage. MacDonald has a good wrestling game though and a good defence as he would never stay on the mat for long. Instead he kept the fight standing and continued to pick his spots. It was a dominant performance by MacDonald and one that may not have been the most exciting finish but one that showed perfectly that MacDonald is ready for a shot. The win would go to the BC native while Woodley was left to go bck and learn to make another title run with MacDonald likely earning a date with Johnny Hendricks in the near future.

 

Fight Bonuses

Performance of the Night
The main card was not the most entertaining on this night as decisions ruled the pay-per-view but the prelims were the exact opposite as Kiishi Kunimoto would be one of the fighters who impressed in prelims earning a fight bonus for his submission win

Performance of the Night
Another preliminary fight would take focus as well when Tae Hyun Bang beat Canadian MMA veteran Kajan Johnson with a TKO win in the third round earning a second bonus for Asian fighters on the card

Fight of the Night
Kajan Johnson saw his UFC debut end terribly as the veteran of the MMA world entered the octagon for the first time and los to Tae Hyun Bang but he would make an impression earning a fight bonus along with Bang for Fight of the Night

 

Fight Results

Main Event:
Demetrious Johnson def. Ali Basgautinov
(Unanimous Decision)

Main Card:
Rory “Ares” MacDonald def. Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley
(Unanimous Decision)

Ryan “Darth” Bader def. Rafael “Feijao” Calvalcante
(Unanimous Decision)

Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski def. Brendan “Big Brown” Schaub
(Split Decision)

Ovince St. Preux def. Ryan “The Big Deal” Jimmo
(TKO; Verbal Tapout, Rd. 2)

Undercard:
Kiichi “Strasser” Kunimoto def. Daniel Sarafian
(Submission; Rear Naked Choke, Rd. 1)

Valérie “Trouble” Létourneau def. Elizabeth Philips
(Split Decision)

Yves “Tiger” Jabouin def. Mike “The Hulk” Easton
(Unanimous Decision)

Tae “Macho” Hyun Bang def. “Ragin” Kajan Johnson
(TKO; Rd. 3)

Michinori Tanaka def. “Stunning” Roland Delorme
(Unanimous Decision)

Jason Saggo def. Josh Shockley
(TKO; Rd. 1)

 

Upcoming Events

UFC Fight Night 43: Te Huna vs. Marquardt (Saturday June 28th; 5:00 am ET)
Auckland, New Zealand (Vector Arena)
Main Event: James Te Huna vs. Nate “The Great” Marquardt
Notable: Soa “The Hulk” Palelei vs. Jared “The Big Show” Rosholt
Notable: Hatsu Hioki vs. Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira

UFC Fight Night 44: Swanson vs. Stephens (Saturday June 28th; 10:00 pm ET)
San Antonio, Texas (AT&T Center)
Main Event: Cub Swanson vs. Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens
Notable: Kelvin Gastelum vs. Nico Musoke
Notable: Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira vs. Andrew “Highlight” Craig

UFC 175: Weidman vs. Machida (Saturday July 5th; 10:00 pm ET)
Las Vegas, Nevada (Mandalay Bay Events Center)
Main Event: Chris “All American” Weidman vs. Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida [Middleweight Title]
Notable: “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey vs. Alexis “Ally-Gator” Davis [Women’s Bantamweight Title]
Notable: Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve vs. Matt “Meathead” Mitrione

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