UFC 174: JOHNSON VS. BAGAUTINOV Date: June 14, 2014 Location: Vancouver, BC Venue: Rogers Arena Broadcast: PPV UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson (-425) Since losing to bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz in October, 2011, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (19-2-1) has taken over the UFC’s flyweight division with relative ease. He won the UFC’s four-man flyweight tournament with wins over Ian McCall and Joseph Benavidez to become the first-ever 125lb champ, then he defeated John Dodson via decision in his first title defence. He then followed that up with a submission win over John Moraga to once again defend the belt, and then in his last outing at UFC on FOX 9 he knocked out Benavidez in their rematch to cement his place as the No. 1 flyweight fighter on the entire planet. Now, he puts his belt on the line once again this June, only this time it’s against a fresh face in Ali Bagautinov. UFC Flyweight Contender Ali Bagautinov (+305) Another one of the Russian prospects making waves in MMA, Ali Bagautinov (13-2) earned a UFC title shot after just three fights in the Octagon. He defeated Marcos Vinicius in his debut but KO, then he took out Tim Elliott and John Lineker via decision to cement himself as the No. 1 contender. A small flyweight, Bagautinov is blessed with big knockout power and solid wrestling to boot. He is taking a serious step up here against Johnson for the title, but it’s a fight that, based on styles, is winnable. And this June, we’ll find out just how good he really is — or isn’t. Opening UFC 174 Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Johnson a -425 favorite (bet $425 to win $100) while Bagautinov opened as a +305 underdog (bet $100 to win $305) at Several Bookmakers. This is a fight pitting the top flyweight fighter in the world against the de-facto top contender, and it should be a fun fight when it goes down this June. But there’s no doubt that Johnson, with his combination of speed, power, wrestling, and submission prowess — and his amazing fight-to-fight improvement — deserves to be the favorite here and there’s a reason why the line is so high. Having said that, Bagautinov has excellent wrestling and striking himself and should make for a formidable foe. That being said, not many people are giving him a chance here and that’;s why the line is so inflated in Johnson’s favor. Who wins? Well, we’ll have to wait and find out, but early indications are that Johnson has all the tools to pull out the W and if Bagautinov pulls it off it would be a massive upset. Profiles by Jason Nawara.