The UFC heads back to Canada as Demetrious Johnson and Ali Bagautinov headline the 174 card in Vancouver, British Colombia. Welterweight contenders Rory MacDonald and Tyron Woodley will occupy the co main event, both looking to score a victory that may propel either of them into a title shot. The early prelims will start at 7 pm EST on Fight Pass, then will switch to FX for the remainder of the prelims at 8 pm EST. The main card will kick off at 9 pm EST on pay per view only, so make sure to contact your local television provider for ordering information.
[C] Demetrious Johnson (19-2-1) versus #4 Ali Bagautinov (13-2) – Flyweight Championship The flyweight division is Demetrious Johnson’s world and everyone else is just living in it, including Ali Bagautinov. Ever since making the move down in weight, the flyweight champion has yet to be beaten, while defending his title three times during that span. The champ is arguably the fastest and most technical UFC fighter on their roster, and at the age of 27 is only getting better. Do not count out the Russian Ali Bagautinov though, as he has won his last 11 fights in a row dating back to 2011. The Sambo practitioner has never fought anybody of Johnson’s caliber, and may be fighting from behind very early in the fight. Johnson’s movement and mixtures of striking to grappling is very appealing to watch. The speed that most flyweights operate at is just amazing to watch in general. Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson will continue his reign on the division here, potentially setting up a rematch with John Dodson in the near future. Demetrious Johnson by Unanimous Decision.
#2 Rory MacDonald (16-2) versus #3 Tyron Woodley (13-2) – Welterweight Bout Who wants this fight bad enough is what it comes down to. Sure Dana White announced that the winner of Lawler versus Brown would get a title shot, but what if either Woodley or MacDonald finish in devastating fashion? This fight between the two welterweight contenders deserves just as much of an opportunity for a title shot the any other. Back to the task at hand though, MacDonald will need to avoid his decision winning ways against Woodley if he wants to fight Johny Hendricks for the championship. Woodley is a hard riddle to solve, but has at times, been known to gas in the later rounds. That is where Rory may look to take advantage of a gassed Woodley. Other than that, Woodley may be the far superior fighter. Explosive is a word that does not do enough justice to describe the man that is Tyron Woodley. The Missouri native is dangerous in all areas, and has quietly become a much improved striker. The hometown advantage will not do Rory MacDonald any good in this match up. Woodley is on the brink of super-stardom, and is potentially only one fight away from the gold. Tyron Woodley by Unanimous Decision.
#9 Ryan Bader (17-4) versus #12 Rafael Cavalcante (12-4) – Light Heavyweight Bout If Ryan Bader plays this one smart, it could be one of his easier contests in the UFC. Cavalcante has known issues of gassing early in fights, and has very inconsistent take down defense. Ryan Bader excels in the wrestling category, but has been known to walk right into some heavy shots, resulting in losses by knockout. If Bader can avoid the power of Cavalcante early on and get him to the mat, the UFC veteran could wear him out with a nice dose of ground and pound. If Cavalcante does not execute his striking game early, it could be a long night on his back for him. Ryan Bader by Unanimous Decision.
#13 Brendan Schaub (11-3) versus Andrei Arlovski (20-10) – Heavyweight Bout Brendan Schaub welcomes back Andrei Arlovski to the UFC octagon, as the two heavyweights clash on the second bout of the main card. Both are very well versed in the striking game, and each can hold their own in the grappling department. It really comes down to who will land that heavy shot first and impose their will afterwards. Arlovski is the more well rounded striker, involving kicks along with boxing skills tuned by none other then by boxing coach legend, Freddie Roach. Schaub has power upon power, one overhand right is all the “Hybrid” needs to connect on Arlovski’s chin. Arlovski has been on a roll as of late, as well as the more experienced of the two inside the UFC octagon. The homecoming party for the former heavyweight champ is a good one, as “The Pitbull” puts a stamp on the “Hybrid”. Andrei Arlovski by Technical Knockout.
#14 Ovince St. Preux (15-5) versus Ryan Jimmo (19-3) – Light Heavyweight Bout Ovince St. Preux is one of the rising of the rising prospects in the light heavyweight divison, who is undefeated since joining the UFC, and has won 13 out of his last 14 fights. Jimmo has since cooled off after joining the promotion, with a record of 2-2 in four fights with the promotion. St. Preux is getting better by each fight, could find himself as one of the best of the division by years end. Preux must not look past a game Jimmo,who is a threat in all phases. Jimmo has become somewhat susceptible to getting caught by big punches, and may leave St. Preux a sliver of opportunity at some point in the bout. Sooner or later Ovince St. Preux is going to overwhelm Jimmo, and find ways to connect with his punches; the pressure will just be too much for the Canadian fighter. Ovince St. Preux by Technical Knockout.
In other notable fights on the card, the Brazilian Daniel Sarafian will take on the Japanese Kiichi Kunimoto; to finish off the prelims shown on FX. The females are also back in action as Valerie Letourneau and Elizabeth Phillips duke it out in a bantamweight bout. For everything UFC make sure to check in on the Guardian Liberty Voice for the full results following the event.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
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Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer leading the coverage in MMA