UFC 174: Johnson vs. Bagautinov Saturday, June 14 – 11:30 p.m. ET
Demetrious Johnson (19-2-1) vs. Ali Bagautinov (13-2)Flyweight title bout
Line: Johnson -550, Bagautinov +400
Ali Bagautinov looks to pull off the huge shocker and take the flyweight belt as he goes up against champion Demetrious Johnson at UFC 174 on Saturday night in Vancouver.
Johnson has been on quite a tear as of late, winning five consecutive matches, including four straight title bouts. In his last victory on Dec. 14, he defeated a very talented fighter in Joseph Benavidez with a vicious knockout in the first round. Johnson is a very complete fighter that has the ability to win any different style of match, and has gone through some very good fighters during his streak. In addition to defeating Benavidez twice during the ride, he also defeated John Moraga by fifth-round submission, and John Dodson. If Johnson is focused and locked in, he will be in great position to win the match. For Bagautinov, this is an incredible opportunity for him to show he is for real in the UFC. Bagautinov enters the match on a very impressive 11-fight winning streak, with his last victory coming against John Lineker at UFC 169 on Feb. 1. Bagautinov was able to get the victory over Lineker by way of unanimous decision after holding a 49-27 striking advantage and 6-0 takedown edge. Like Johnson, Bagautinov has shown the ability to win a fight in many different ways, but for the heavy underdog to have any chance to get the win, he has to come out early and really get off to a great start. In the end, JOHNSON will prove to be too talented and get the big victory.
"Mighty Mouse" Johnson comes into this fight with 19 wins in his career, with eight of them coming by way of decision. He also has seven victories by submission, with another four wins by way of knockout. Johnson will have an advantage when it comes to striking, landing 3.32 significant strikes per minute, compared to 2.99 for Bagautinov. The 27-year-old Johnson, who fights out of Parkland, WA, also lands a higher percentage of his strikes (51%) than Bagautinov (42%). Johnson is incredibly fast with his strikes, and is very unpredictable when throwing those punches as well. He also has an advantage in takedown average (3.69 to 3.45), while also being more accurate in takedowns (56% to 48% takedown accuracy), and also defends against the takedowns better (62% to 50%). It's easy to see why Johnson is so heavily favored, having the advantages in pretty much every category. As long as he sticks to his game plan, Johnson will be in great shape to get the win. However, what makes the UFC such an exciting sport is that all it takes is one mistake and the match can change, and Bagautinov does have the knockout power to make that happen.
Of "Puncher" Bagautinov's 13 career victories, five of them have come by way of knockout. He also has four wins by both decision and submission, and has the ability to win any different fight. For the Russian Bagautinov to have a chance of winning this fight, he will have to get off to a great start and really use his punches well. He certainly has this ability, having taken care of six opponents in the first round in his career, but Bagautinov's past three opponents have all lasted to at least the third round. The 28-year-old former boxer has great strength for this weight class, and will have to use that to his advantage. The 5-foot-4 Bagautinov also has a one-inch height advantage for this fight. This is a very difficult match for him, so he must set the pace early.