This Saturday in Vancouver, Canada, UFC 174 will hold a flyweight championship fight, a number one contender match in the welterweight division, and the return of a former heavyweight champion. A stacked card with competitive match ups. Let’s start breaking them down.
Jason Saggo (9-1) vs. Josh Shockley (11-2)
The opening match of the evening will welcome UFC newcomers fighting in the lightweight division. Saggo is a BJJ brown belt under Royler Gracie, and a Pan-Asian grappling champion. He has finished all nine of his opponents, with eight submissions and one TKO. Shockley is known for his aggressiveness and length advantage, a 6’1″ frame which is big for lightweight. This fight looks like it will be a grappler vs. brawler match up.
George: Jason Saggo via submission Rd. 1
Eric: Josh Shockley via TKO Rd. 2
Roland “Stunning” Delorme (9-2, 1 NC) vs. Michinori Tanaka (9-0)
Bantamweight battle of grappling specialists. Delorme is a black belt in judo and brown belt in BJJ. He was a cast member of TUF 14 and has fought five times in the UFC (3-1, 1 NC). Delorme’s last fight was a close split-decision loss to Alex Caceres. Tanaka will be making his UFC debut and bringing along an undefeated record. The 23-year old Tanaka is a second degree black belt in judo. Look for some beautiful throws and takedowns, and a chess match on the ground.
George: Michinori Tanaka via DEC.
Eric: Roland Delorme via submission Rd. 2
Kajin “Ragin” Johnson (19-10-1) vs. Tae “The Supernatural” Hyun Bang (16-8)
The second lightweight fight of the evening. Johnson is making his debut, the Canadian is out of Tristar gym and the BJJ brown belt has 11 wins by submission. Hyun Bang is a wrestler who trains with the Korean Top Team. Hyun Bang lost in his UFC debut via decision to Mairbek Taisumov. Both fighters have experience on the ground, Hyun Bang also has eight TKO wins.
George: Tae Hyun Bang via DEC.
Eric: Kajin Johnson via DEC
Yves “Tiger” Jabouin (19-9) vs. Mike “The Hulk” Easton (13-4 / #8 Ranked UFC Bantamweight)
Both fighters are well versed with their striking and on the ground, and both fighters need this win, bad. Jabouin lost his last match via TKO strikes to Eddie Wineland at UFC on Fox 10. Jabouin is 4-3 in the UFC. Mike Easton came into the UFC with a 10-1 mma record, he went on a three-fight winning streak in the UFC and then things went bad. Easton has lost his last three fights in a row to top contenders: Raphael Assuncao, Brad Pickett, and TJ Dillashaw (current bantamweight champion). A loss for either fighter could be their last fight in the organization.
George: Mike Easton via TKO Rd. 1
Eric: Yves Jabouin via DEC
Valerie “Trouble” Letourneau (5-3) vs. Elizabeth Phillips (4-1)
Women’s 135 pound action between newcomers Valerie Letourneau and Elizabeth Phillips. Both ladies like to strike and this fight will most likely be a brawl on the feet. This will be a good match up the UFC matchmakers made in order to add more depth to the growing women’s division.
George: Valerie Letourneau via TKO Rd. 2
Eric: Valerie Letourneau via TKO Rd. 3
Daniel Sarafian (9-4) vs. Kiichi “Strasser” Kunimoto (16-5-2, 1 NC)
Welterweight match up between two fighters going in opposite directions. Sarafian has gone 1-2 in the UFC, both losses were very close split-decisions to CB Dollaway and Cezar Ferreira. Kunimoto was awarded a DQ win due to his opponent using illegal elbows to the back of his head. Kunimoto is on a five-fight winning streak. Sarafian is a BJJ black belt who is well rounded and enjoys ground and pound attack. Kunimoto is no slouch on the ground as he holds eight submission wins and has decent grappling.
George: Daniel Sarafin via Submission Rd. 2
Eric: Daneil Sarafin via Submission Rd. 3
Ovince St. Preux (15-5 / #13 Ranked UFC Light Heavyweight) vs. Ryan Jimmo (19-3)
Light heavyweight fight between solid strikers and wrestlers. St. Preux is on a four-fight winning streak, with a 3-0 UFC record. Jimmo has been on a roller coaster ride in the UFC winning and losing, overall 3-2. Jimmo last fought and won via TKO April over Sean O’Connell, while St, Preux defeated Nikita Krylov in March via TKO. This fight will most likely be tactical stand up, with a battle of take downs for points.
George: Ovince St. Preux via DEC
Eric: Ryan Jimmo via TKO Rd. 2
Andrei “The Pit Bull” Arlovski (21-10, 1 NC) vs. Brendan “The Hybrid” Schaub (10-3 / #14 Ranked UFC Heavyweight)
The only heavyweight battle of the night and it will be a good one between heavy hitters. Andrei Arlovski was once a heavyweight champion of the UFC. After his contract expired, Arlovski became a journeyman in different organizations, losing some high profile fights, including four straight, to Fedor Emelianenko, Brett Rogers, Antonio Silva, and Sergei Kharitonov. Arlovski would bounce back and go 6-1 with one NC. Schaub has won back-to-back UFC matches and is putting together a journey for gold. This might be Arlovski’s last hoorah and road to glory, at age 35, Arlovski has taken some heavy hits and he might be nearing the end of his career.
George: Brendan Schaub via TKO Rd. 1
Eric: Andrei Arlovski via DEC
Ryan “Darth” Bader (17-4 / #9 Ranked UFC Light Heavyweight) vs. Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante (12-4, 1 NC / #12 Ranked UFC Light Heavyweight)
Light heavyweight battle between ranked fighters. Both guys are coming off of wins from their last fights. Bader is a Division-I All American wrestler with heavy hands. Cavalcante is a BJJ black belt who is confident on his feet as well, winning all 12 fights via TKO (one win listed as submission from strikes). The winner of this fight will make a case to get bumped up higher in the stacked division.
George: Rafael Cavalcante via TKO Rd. 1
Eric: Ryan Bader via TKO Rd. 1
Rory “Ares” MacDonald (16-2 / #2 Ranked UFC welterweight) vs. Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley (13-2 / #3 Ranked UFC welterweight)
This welterweight fight has major implications to it. The winner will be awarded a title shot against welterweight champion Jonny Hendricks. This is a very evenly matched fight with both fighters well rounded, and both have defeated high profile fighters. This has “Fight of the Night” written all over it.
George: Rory Macdonald via DEC.
Eric: Rory Macdonald via DEC
Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (19-2-1 / Flyweight champion) vs. Ali “Puncher” Bagautinov (13-2 / #4 Ranked UFC Flyweight)
The main event of the evening. Johnson has successfully defended his title in his last three bouts, including a rematch against the man he originally took the title from, Joseph Benavidez. Johnson is dangerously fast with great conditioning and technique. Bagautinov deserves this title shot, riding an 11-fight winning streak. Bagautinov is as tough as they come and he has yet to be finished off in a fight (his two losses come by decision). Bagautinov’s cardio will be put to the test, especially in the championship rounds (if the fight makes it that far).
George: Demetrious Johnson via DEC
Eric: Demetrious Johnson via TKO Rd. 4