Demetrious Johnson dominated from bell to bell. | Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
The Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight crown will remain right where it has been for the last 630 days: on the mantle of the man they call “Mighty Mouse.”
Demetrious Johnson retained his 125-pound championship with another virtuoso performance, as he turned away two-time combat sambo world champion Ali Bagautinov by unanimous decision in the UFC 174 headliner on Saturday at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Johnson (20-2-1, 8-1-1 UFC) pitched a 50-45 shutout on all three scorecards, extending his current winning streak to six.
The diminutive but dynamic champion outclassed the rugged Bagautinov (13-3, 3-1 UFC) at every turn, his speed and technique leaving the Dagestani grappler puzzled and frustrated. He did much of his damage from the Thai plum, crashing knees into Bagautinov’s body and head repeatedly. By the end of the 25-minute encounter, the challenger’s torso was riddled with various bruises and abrasions, providing hard evidence of Johnson’s dominance. “Mighty Mouse” left the cage without a scratch.
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The defeat snapped Bagautinov’s string of 11 consecutive victories.
“I hit a lot of guys in the gym with those shots and they go down,” Johnson said. “He’s a tough guy, man.”
Johnson still has never lost as a flyweight.
“I’m the king,” he said. “I’ll stay the king as long as I can.”
MacDonald Overwhelms, Dominates Woodley
In the co-main event, Rory MacDonald made a strong case for a title shot at 170 pounds, as he dominated Tyron Woodley for three rounds en route to a lopsided unanimous decision. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for MacDonald (17-2, 8-2 UFC).
Outside of a few leg kicks, Woodley (13-3, 3-2 UFC) did nothing of note offensively. MacDonald frustrated the American Top Team standout with his length and skill, landing kicks and punches to the head and body throughout the 15-minute match. His finely tuned jab was also a factor. Woodley spent much of his time in a defensive shell with his back to the cage. MacDonald put the final touches on his latest victory in the third round, where he took down the two-time NCAA All-American wrestler and eventually moved to mount before settling in side control. From there, he grinded on Woodley with sweeping left hands until the horn sounded.
“It went really, really well,” said MacDonald, who has won seven of his last eight fights. “Everything we worked on came out in the fight.”
Bader Rolls Past Cavalcante
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 8 winner Ryan Bader systematically dismantled former Strikeforce champion Rafael Cavalcante with improved standup, a series of takedowns and damaging ground-and-pound, as he earned a unanimous decision in a light heavyweight showcase. Bader (17-4, 10-4 UFC) swept the scorecards by identical 30-27 marks.
Cavalcante (12-5, 1-2 UFC) could not stay upright. Bader secured takedowns in all three rounds and ripped into the Brazilian with ground-and-pound, from short punches and elbows to the head to crackling knees to the thighs, buttocks and body. By the time the third round arrived, “Feijao” was a spent force and in no position to produce the stoppage he needed.
Bader, 31, has won five times in his last seven appearances, losing only to Glover Teixeira and Lyoto Machida. The Power MMA Team export is now 7-0 in fights that reach the judges.
Arlovski Downs Schaub on Split Verdict
Former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski made a triumphant but controversial return to the Octagon, as he pulled out a contentious split decision over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 10 finalist Brenan Schaub in a featured heavyweight duel. All three cageside judges cast 29-28 scorecards, two of them siding with Arlovski (22-10, 11-4 UFC).
Neither man offered much in terms of meaningful offense in the first round. Arlovski started to counter effectively in the second, connecting with a variety of power punches and looking more like the fighter who had resurrected his career outside the UFC. Despite what appeared to be a broken jaw, Schaub (10-4, 6-4 UFC) did his best work in round three, where he struck for a takedown and applied his ground-and-pound from inside the guard of “The Pitbull.” Much to his surprise and dismay, the decision did not go his way.
Arlovski, who had not fought in the UFC in more than six years, has won five of his last six fights.
St. Preux, Arm Injury Derail Jimmo
Ovince St. Preux won for the 12th time in 13 outings, as he forced former Maximum Fighting Championship titleholder Ryan Jimmo to verbally submit in the second round of their light heavyweight showcase. The end came 2:10 into round two after Jimmo (19-4, 3-3 UFC) suffered an apparent arm injury.
St. Preux (16-5, 4-0 UFC) was in command for much of the encounter, mixing takedowns with powerful left hands and kicks to the body of the Canadian karateka. The 31-year-old Strikeforce veteran struck for a takedown inside the first minute of round two, achieved full mount and transitioned immediately to Jimmo’s back. Moments later, with St. Preux framing a kimura, Jimmo alerted the referee to his injury -- he twice shouted “my arm is broken” -- and asked out of the match.
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