Johnson schools Bagautinov to retain UFC flyweight belt
MANILA, Philippines – UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson outclassed Ali Bagautinov from bell to bell to retain his world title in the main event of UFC 174 on Sunday, June 15, at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada.
“Mighty Mouse” entered his first pay-per-view headliner as a significant betting favorite and showed out by surpassing Bagautinov in essentially every facet of the championship clash to pitch a 50-45 shutout on all 3 score-sheets.
Johnson immediately took the center of the cage in the first round and switched stances in order to confuse and bait Bagautinov, whose hands stood cocked as he looked for heavy shots.
Bagautinov eventually caught up with Johnson and clinched to calm his pesky foe, but he received a series of hard knees to the midsection in the final seconds of the opening salvo from the diminutive-but-dynamic champion.
In the second round, the 5-foot-3 American harassed the inch-taller Dagestan challenger with persistent jabs and then punctuated with a lashing head kick and an overhand right.
The 29-year-old Sambo practitioner attempted to neutralize the exchange again along the fence and nab a takedown, but Johnson responded with crushing knees to his counterpart’s torso that was riddled with various bruises and abrasions.
Midway through round 3, Johnson stepped on the gas pedal, picking Bagautinov apart with a flurry of punches and kicks, but the latter had a moment of hope when he executed his trademark suplex and hip toss to pacify the assault.
Johnson unleashed an astonishing amount of punishment in the final two rounds, but he could not put away Bagautinov, who lowered his hands and swung for a big blow to turn things into his favor.
“I hit a lot of guys in the gym with those shots and they go down. He’s a tough guy,” Johnson admitted in his post-fight interview.
With his remarkable win over Bagautinov, Johnson (20-2) is now riding high on a 6-fight winning streak and has successfully defended his 125-pound crown for the 4th time.
“I’m the king. I’ll stay the king as long as I can, and I’ll keep knocking them down,” he lauded.
On the other hand, Bagautinov snaps his 11-bout victory parade with the loss and drops his win-loss record to 13-3.
MacDonald dominates Woodley in UFC 174 co-headliner
Rory MacDonald made his case as the next welterweight title contender with a dominant unanimous decision win (30-27 on all scorecards) over Tyron Woodley in the co-main event of UFC 174.
Knowing he had to watch out for Woodley’s athleticism and superior takedowns, MacDonald employed a much more aggressive approach in the first round, constantly pressuring the 5-foot-9 American Top Team standout and forcing him to move backwards.
“Ares” illustrated no hesitation in engaging with Woodley in the second stanza, frequently flicking his jab in opponent’s face and then assaulting him with a plethora of kicks to the body and head.
Woodley showed signs of desperation to start the 3rd frame, lunging in with heavy hooks that appeared to give MacDonald some trouble.
However, the 24-year-old Canadian quickly recovered and put Woodley on his back before moving to side control, battering him with left hands to the forehead.
As time ticked away, Woodley seemed to accept the inevitability of a disappointing setback to MacDonald.
MacDonald elevated his status as one of the top 170-pound fighters in the world and possibly earned a shot at Johny Hendricks’s UFC welterweight strap somewhere down the line.
“I think I’m ready. I know there’s a big fight between [Matt] Brown and Robbie [Lawler at UFC on FOX 12 on July 26]. I respect UFC’s decision and whatever they plan to do, but I just want them to know that I’m ready,” MacDonald dared.
In other matches, The Ultimate Fighter season eight winner Ryan Bader outwrestled Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante in 3 rounds to take a unanimous decision with one-sided 30-27 counts across the board.
Former UFC heavyweight titlist Andrei Arlovski made a successful return to UFC’s Octagon, but his triumph over Brendan Schaub was tainted with controversy as he walked away with a questionable split-decision win.
Although Schaub landed the more damaging blows and kept working on setting up the overhand right, two of the 3 judges saw it in favor of Arlovski with the same score of 29-28, while the other cageside official had it the 30-27 for Schaub.
Meanwhile, an injury to Ryan Jimmo‘s right arm brought a rapid halt to his scheduled 3-round encounter against Ovince St. Preux.
St Preux was in the process of fastening a Kimura lock when Jimmo cried out that his arm was broken, prompting referee Kevin Dornan to wave off the contest at the 2:10 mark of the second round and award the technical knockout to the 31-year-old fighter from Knoxville, Tennessee. – Rappler.com