UFC 174 takes place tomorrow night so it’s about time we gave you our predictions for all the fights.
Demetrious Johnson vs. Ali Bagautinov
Bagautinov got his title shot perhaps a little prematurely due to the fact that Johnson has already defeated a who’s who of the division, but he’s still a talented fighter with good power and a solid wrestling background.
However, the champion is one of the most well rounded, technical fighters in the sport, and combined with the fact that he’s lightning quick that makes him exceptionally difficult to defeat.
Johnson has been dropped a few times, so a Bagautinov power punch is his best route to victory, but he telegraphs his shots and Johnson’s constant movement, speed and reactions should limit his opportunities.
I’d expect Johnson to pick apart his opponent on the feet, mix things up with takedowns, and turn up the heat in the later rounds as his cardio advantage pays off to earn a convincing decision victory.
Demetrious Johnson to win by decision.
Rory MacDonald vs. Tyron Woodley
Woodley has very good wrestling and some serious power in his hands, but MacDonald is the more complete mixed martial artist overall and is technically very sound.
MacDonald does the fundamentals very well and I think a good jab and solid takedown defense will take him a long way against Woodley. He also pieces together combinations of strikes nicely, whereas Woodley will be looking for one big punch to end the fight on the feet.
I’d expect Woodley to attempt to get into the clinch a lot if he’s unsuccessful in the striking battle, but MacDonald won’t be overwhelmed there and should be able to minimize those opportunities by keeping at range. Overall I feel that MacDonald will come out on top, but I’m not convinced it’ll be the most exciting fight and I doubt he’ll be able to finish Woodley.
Rory MacDonald to win by decision.
Ryan Bader vs. Rafael Cavalcante
‘Feijao’ is the better overall striker here though his defense isn’t the best, while Bader does has good power in his hands, but isn’t the fastest or most versatile in terms of his offensive output.
Bader is a strong wrestler though and that could be his smartest route to victory here, and I can see him getting ‘Feijao’ down and finishing him with ground and pound here.
Ryan Bader to win by TKO in Rd2.
Andrei Arlovski vs. Brendan Schaub
Arlovski has only lost once in his last eight fights, but it’s a record that flatters to decieve a little as he’s put in quite a few underwhelming performances along the way and been rocked several times in the process.
As questionable as his chin is though, the same can be said of Schaub who’s only a couple of fights removed from two brutal KO’s in a row. Couple that with the fact that both men hit hard and one punch could certainly be enough to end either’s night here.
Schaub proved against Lavar Johnson that he’s not afraid to take the fight to the mat and grind out a victory if required and his submission game is improving too, so I think he has more ways to win here, and together with him being the younger and more athletic fighter at this stage in their careers I’m leaning towards him here – but it really could go either way.
Brendan Schaub to win by submission in Rd2.
Ryan Jimmo vs. Ovince St. Preux
We potentially have another close fight on our hands here. Jimmo is a karate stylist who also brings good clinch work and wrestling to the cage.
OSP’s biggest strengths are also in striking and wrestling though his submission game is coming along too, and for me he’s been more consistent in his performances over the course of his career and I believe is the more talented fighter of the two overall.
Jimmo will try to win ugly here with stifling clinch work, but I think he’ll struggle to overpower OSP from there and St.Preux’s more orthadox approach to striking will prove to be more effective in the stand-up exchanges, doing enough over the course of three rounds to eek out a decision victory.
Ovince St.Preux to win by decision.
Daniel Sarafian vs. Kiichi Kunimoto
Yves Jabouin vs. Mike Easton
Kajan Johnson vs. Tae Hyun Bang
Elizabeth Phillips vs. Valerie Letourneau
Roland Delorme vs. Michinori Tanaka
Jason Saggo vs. Josh Shockley