You can't just talk it out in this business.
UFC 174: "Johnson vs. Bagautinov" took place last night (Sat., June 14, 2014) from Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with a pay-per-view (PPV) offering that put a lot of us in a deep slumber.
In the main event, Demetrious Johnson showed up to work and took care of business against Ali Bagautinov, defeating the Dagestani over the course of five rounds to retain his flyweight championship. "Mighty Mouse" now has four successful flyweight title defenses to his name.
Rory MacDonald may not have earned a title shot by beating Tyron Woodley in the main event, though it was easily one of the best performances of his career. He beat "T-Wood" from pillar to post, nullifying his foe's attacks and got the people talking about him again (highlights here).
In other main card action, Ryan Bader destroyed Rafael Cavalcante, Andrei Arlovski somehow beat Brendan Schaub in a putrid fight, and Ovince St. Preux continued his win streak by toppling Ryan Jimmo.
Before all the mixed martial arts (MMA) action unfolded inside the Octagon, there were promotional appearances to generate awareness for -- and interest in -- a trip to Vancouver. Fighters said this and that, answering questions galore when all they really wanted to do is be left alone and not be bothered.
MMAmania.com does a pretty good job of passing along all the noteworthy pre- and post-fight comments for each event. But as we've done before, let us look back at the words that left the fighters' mouths before they stepped into the cage last Saturday night.
"The long term goal is to keep on winning and hold onto the belt as long as I can. I've been working extensively on my stand up to make sure I keep on knocking people out. It's going to make for a great fight. I'm very excited to fight Ali Bagautinov just because it's fresh. I've fought Dodson, I've fought John Moraga, I fought Joseph (Benavidez) twice, I fought Ian McCall twice; so it's good to see a new face, a new challenge. Ali is a great fighter. He's had great success in the Octagon. I can't wait to mix it up with him and see what he can offer."
-- It wasn't that exciting, but "Mighty Mouse" continued his flyweight dominance in the main event, making it difficult to think of someone who can challenge him next. He even mentions anticipating a new face, but unfortunately, that's probably not going to happen.
"I've put timelines on it before but over the years I think I've learned that you just have to go with the flow a little bit. But I do see me holding the championship in my future. I plan on this year to be a great year, my best year, and me wearing the belt at the end of the year. I'm very confident going into this Woodley fight. It's back in Vancouver, my home province."
-- Maybe MacDonald will be a champion one day. It's not exactly an impossible feat for him to accomplish. He may have to wait a little longer or put in more work, since there's another meeting which could steal the spotlight at welterweight. Still, we can't say that the eagle has landed, but it has definitely come back for more.
"I want this fight to just be completely one sided. I want to whoop him so bad that nobody can deny or say that somebody else should deserve the title shot. You got two guys that are salivating for the opportunity to fight for the world title. We both want Johny Hendricks, we both want the belt. The fans are in for a great treat. ... I gotta be able to walk into that cage and go out there and dominate."
-- Every fighter believes they will walk out of the cage with a victory days ahead of their fight. Unfortunately for "The Chosen One," things didn't exactly go according to plan. He's definitely a talented fighter, but his chance at contending for a belt at 170 pounds is practically non-existent at this point.
"Coming off The Ultimate Fighter and getting into the UFC, I've always hovered around that top 10 status. I've fought pretty much every name in this sport. But for me, I feel like I'm just hitting my stride right now. Now's the time for me to start making that run from going from nine or 10 to, you know, five or six and then to number one contender and champion. In the next couple years, you're going to see that from me. I'm 30 years old and I feel better now than I've ever felt. I'm just getting into the point where I'm actually doing all the right things this past year or so and having all the right people around me. ... The fighter I am now would destroy the fighter I was three years ago."
-- Bader is actually right. He is by far a better fighter than he ever was, but the problem is he's not really all that exciting anymore. His standup worked against the likes of Vinny Magalhaes and Keith Jardine, but when he started to lose against guys like Glover Teixeira and (lolz) Tito Ortiz, he needed to reassess his game. He's been doing damage with his wrestling pedigree, yet it's probably not going to please everyone.
"When he was in the UFC and he was the champ, it was Frank Mir, Andrei Arlovski, Tim Sylvia, and they were fighting each other every other weekend. So it's a different game now. However, he's had this long layoff from the UFC and he's been competing all over the world, but now we're dealing with a different Arlovski. We're talking about an Arlovski who didn't have a Greg Jackson in his corner before. He didn't have a Freddie Roach to work with on the mitts, so I have to welcome Andrei Arlovski 2.0 to the UFC and it's a tough task, but the way I show him the utmost respect is by going in there and just putting it to him."
-- Well, no, he wasn't Arlovski 2.0, but the judges may have thought so. Schaub respected Arlovski before, during, and after the fight, so you have to raise your glass to a fighter that gets a lot of hate for reasons that can't be explained. Anyhow, UFC President Dana White isn't all that sympathetic when it comes to Schaub's shortcomings.
That just about does it.
For extensive coverage of UFC 174: "Johnson vs. Bagautinov," including video highlights, post-fight recaps and more, click here.