UFC 174: "Johnson vs. Bagautinov" wasn't very good.
The event that took place this past Saturday (June 14, 2014) at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada looked okay on paper, despite initial worries about ticket and pay-per-view (PPV) sales. The card itself turned out to be quite sour, and it reminded us of how devoted some of us choose to be in terms of keeping up with this sport.
Demetrious Johnson took care of business in the main event, successfully defending his flyweight title for a fourth time by defeating Ali Bagautinov. "Mighty Mouse" looked incredible in doing so, whipping the Dagestani over the course of five rounds (highlights).
In the co-main event, Rory MacDonald gained some serious steam in the welterweight division by beating Tyron Woodley, who didn't have much to offer against "Ares" throughout their pivotal contest (highlights).
We get to all the juicy stuff below, with our "Great Expectations," fresh off the stands:
What We Expected: For Demetrious Johnson to pick apart Ali Bagautinov, either winning by way of finish or in a one-sided decision.
What We Learned: Despite the market being a little unfavorable when it comes to flyweights headlining a PPV, "Mighty Mouse" looked incredible in Vancouver. Maybe his style isn't for everyone, in a sense where it's not very exciting to watch at times, yet he really put the brakes on Bagautinov and had him beat in every sense of the word.
That said, fans were apparently rushing for the exits during the latter part of the bout.
Not to mention there was a screaming woman in the front row who may or may not have been Johnson's wife, one who would have gotten the screaming PRIDE lady (Lenne Hardt) fired in her heyday for a lack of effort.
Maybe we expected more from the champion, in regards to a finish, but he did what most of us thought he would do. It's a shame things got stale fast on that fight card, since fans should really have been mesmerized by his skill set rather than be asleep on their pal's couch.
What We Expected: For one welterweight to topple the other emphatically, emerging victorious after a lopsided victory, but unable to acquire a title shot.
What We Learned: I'm not saying it was impossible for MacDonald vs. Woodley to be a close fight, but you sensed the feeling that one of these welterweights was going to put the hurting on the other.
The picks seemed to be divided before the fight. A lot of observers felt "T-Wood" was on a roll as of late, and that he was going to take advantage of MacDonald's reluctance to bang it out. Some felt "Ares" was better rounded, and had the tools to prove the former Strikeforce title contender was a flash in the pan.
The Canadian could very well be the next big thing at welterweight after another solid performance in his home province of British Columbia. He's got his haters, but MacDonald was as crisp as ever, using his ever-improved boxing to tear apart his foe, not to mention he stuffed his takedowns, too.
The way he fights may not be for everyone, and it certainly helped him that he was fighting in front of his friends and family, but that shouldn't take anything away from his performance. He's been called all sorts of things early on in his career, and if he keeps mustering up performances like these, a title shot could be on the horizon.
Apart from those two match ups, there were expectations that weren't met on the main card, including a lackluster bout involving Andrei Arlovski vs. Brendan Schaub. The two heavyweights put onlookers into a coma, when we expected one of them to be destroyed by the other's fist. It was a brutal judging decision in the end, but had the fight been a tad more entertaining, maybe we would have cared a little more.
Also, Ryan Bader vs. Rafael Cavalcante was just as bad, yet you can't knock "Darth" for getting the job done. He did what he had to do, but it wasn't all that fun to watch.
Overall, this card wasn't supposed to be great; however, we could have been pleasantly surprised just like we were at UFC 173. Unfortunately, what happened on that card reminds us why MMA can be beautiful, while UFC 174 reminded us why some fans skip town.
It's also sad to see a couple of great performances get overshadowed by a putrid fight card.
The crappy event continues a streak of terrible fight cards on the west coast of Canada, and since the promotion isn't slowing down anytime soon, it's tough to say if things are going to get better. It seems like the ball is in your court, fight fans, and you control the destiny of your remote.
Then again, were we surprised this card was going to suck the bag?
Check out our complete UFC 174: "Johnson vs. Bagautinov" post-event wrap up here.