On June 14, the Ultimate Fighting Championship will head down to the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for the UFC 174 card.
In the main event, Demetrious Johnson will defend his flyweight title against Sambo specialist Ali Bagautinov, while top welterweight contenders Tyron Woodley and Rory MacDonald clash in the co-main event.
Here are my UFC 174 predictions:
Demetrious Johnson vs. Ali Bagautinov
Bagautinov (13-2-0, 5 KOs) has quickly amassed a 3-0 record in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but he’ll be in for a serious step up in competition when he steps inside the Octagon with Demetrious Johnson (19-2-1, 7 submissions).
“Might Mouse” couldn’t have been more impressive during his last outing, knocking Joseph Benavidez out cold a little over two minutes into their Dec. 2013 fight.
As impressive as Bagautinov’s striking has been inside the Octagon, Johnson’s standup skills are on a different level, so the Russian would be better off trying to put him on his back at UFC 174. Of course, that’s a lot easier said than done, plus it’s virtually impossible to keep DJ grounded once you get him there.
That’s not good for “Puncher King.”
Prediction: Johnson wins via TKO.
Rory MacDonald vs. Tyron Woodley
Woodley (13-2-0, 5 submissions) has been on a tear lately, racking up knockout victories against Josh Koscheck and Carlos Condit. The technique, power, and explosiveness he displayed during those fights was remarkable, and at this point, it couldn’t be any clearer that Tyron is a legitimate contender in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s welterweight division.
A win against MacDonald (16-2-0, 6 KOs) at UFC 174 would insert him into the title conversation.
After losing to Robbie Lawler last November, MacDonald bounced back with a win against Demian Maia, surviving a brutal first round before turning things around in the second.
Rory is the technically superior striker, but that might not be enough to make up for Woodley’s top-level wrestling and athleticism. The Canadian might be able to back Woodley off with his jab early on, but “T-Wood” will eventually find a way to close the gap and hurt MacDonald with a big shot.
Prediction: Woodley wins via TKO.
Ryan Bader vs. Rafael Cavalcante
Bader (16-4-0, 7 KOs) displayed improved striking skills during his last two fights, but that might not be enough to get him past Cavalcante (12-4-0, 11 KOs) at UFC 174. The Brazilian should get the better of the striking exchanges, and he’s extremely hard to take down.
That makes this his fight to lose.
Prediction: Cavalcante wins via TKO.
Remaining UFC 174 predictions:
Andrei Arlovski defeats Brendan Schaub
Ovince St. Preux defeats Ryan Jimmo
Kiichi Kunimoto defeats Daniel Sarafian
Milana Dudieva defeats Germaine de Randamie
Yves Jabouin defeats Mike Easton
Kajan Johnson defeats Tae Hyun Bang
Michinori Tanaka defeats Roland Delorme
Josh Shockley defeats Jason Saggo
David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter.
Don’t forget to check out my UFC 174 FightPicks after weigh-ins. Up +15.68 units so far this year. Thanks to all those who paid tribute after the record setting UFC Fight Night 40 picks that earned + 12.71 units.