UFC 174 Play: Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (-600) vs Ali “Puncher” Bagautinov (+450)

ali-bagautinov2UFC 174 Date: June 14, 2014 Arena: Rogers Arena City: Vancouver, B.C., Canada Flyweight title bout: Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (-600) vs Ali “Puncher” Bagautinov (+450) Fight Breakdown: The main event for UFC 174 on Pay Per View will be a five-round title bout between UFC Flyweight Champion, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and challenger, Ali “Puncher” Bagautinov. The champion is a heavy betting favorite heading into this title defense at -600 ($600 to win $100), with the return on the underdog Bagautinov being +450 ($100 to win $450) at Several Bookmakerss. Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (19-2-1 MMA, 7-1-1 UFC) was Inside MMA’s 2012 Breakthrough Fighter of the Year, after beating Ian McCall and Joseph Benavidez to become the first ever UFC Flyweight Champion. Since then, Johnson has made three impressive title defenses, and has earned himself a slot at #5 on Sherdog.com’s Pound-for-Pound rankings. He was last seen inside the Octagon nearly six months ago, where he knocked out Joseph Benavidez with a single punch in the first round of action, defeating the Team Alpha Male product for the second time and earning his first knockout victory inside the Octagon. The WEC veteran is exceptionally talented in every aspect of Mixed Martial Arts, and continues to improve in every aspect, as well. He is arguably the fastest fighter to ever compete inside the Octagon. Johnson is incredibly quick on the feet, and that really benefits his striking defense, which is outstanding. He puts together some beautiful combinations and often gets out of the way before his opponent has a chance to react. “Mighty Mouse” has a solid wrestling game and likes to implement it to win rounds. He is often successful in his takedown attempts, and like with everything else he does, he is very quick with his shots. He does an excellent job of setting them up with his strikes, too. While in top position on the mat, he does not just grind it out until the round ends. He spends the entire time working; landing shots, while looking for possible submissions. He is constantly looking for openings, both on the feet and on the mat, and he is always quick to take advantage of them. The former bantamweight’s defensive wrestling is also on point, as he possesses solid takedown defense. And when taken down, he is not easy to keep down. He remains active off his back, looking to score points and search for a way back to his feet. Johnson fights out of AMC Pankration in Seattle, W.A. under the tutelage of Matt Hume, who I believe to be one of the best coaches in all of Mixed Martial Arts. One of his training partners is current ONE FC bantamweight Champion Bibiano Fernandes, who is one of the best training partners a lighter-weight fighter could ask for. Since dropping down to 125-pounds, “Mighty Mouse” has been undefeated and has looked incredible in every outing. He continues to show improvements in all areas of the game every time he steps inside the cage, and we could expect more of the same in this five-round main event. The reigning, defending, first-ever UFC Flyweight Champion has incredible cardio, so I have no doubt he will be able to go all 25-minutes without breaking a sweat, should the fight go the distance. Ali “Puncher” Bagautinov (12-2 MMA, 3-0 UFC) is coming off a unanimous decision victory over John Lineker at UFC 169 just over four months ago and is now 3-0 in the UFC’s flyweight division, despite being undersized against all of his opponents. He will head into this title bout giving Johnson a size advantage, as well. If the UFC gets its rumored 115-pound men’s division, I think Bagautinov will drop down and be the champion. That said, I feel he has a decent shot against Johnson, too, especially considering how much power he packs for a flyweight. His nickname is “Puncher” for a reason. It may be the most ridiculous nickname in all of Mixed Martial Arts, but there’s surely a reason behind it: he hits really hard. All it would take is for one-punch to properly connect on the champ’s chin, which is by no means an easy task. Not for Bagautinov, and not for anyone. The 29-year old (turned 29 today, 6/10/14) is a highly skilled wrestler, both in Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling. On top of his wrestling credentials, he holds championships in Sambo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Needless to say, he is a threat on the mat, and does not have trouble getting the fight there, as he possesses excellent takedowns, including both a solid and double-leg. The Dagestani fighter is very explosive with his takedowns, and enjoys slamming his opponents down. He is a real threat when he gets on top of his opponents, but is also dangerous when he is on the bottom, as he has a very active guard. Bagautinov is also very skilled on the feet. He possesses solid boxing skills and because of his solid takedown defense, he is capable of keeping his fights on the feet and beating opponents there, as well as putting together some fantastic combinations. He packs power in both hands, has a solid left hook, a nice straight right, and a beautiful uppercut he loves to use. His kicking game is also solid, as he works good leg kicks and has some nice high kicks. Training at high-altitude out of Jackson-Winklejohn MMA in Albuquerque, NM, Bagautinov is a very tough fighter with solid conditioning and a ton of heart. This will be his first five round fight, and whether cardio plays a factor remains to be seen, but he will certainly be at a disadvantage in the department when he steps inside the Octagon to square off against the defending champ. Gabe’s Thoughts: Bagautinov’s best chances of winning this fight are by putting Johnson away within the first two rounds, or by managing to do enough to win the first three, because in rounds four and five, Johnson is going to be the fresher fighter. Dodson badly rocked Johnson a couple of times in their bout, and Bagautinov hits damn hard, too, and is very fast himself for the first round and a half, so a knockout for the Dagestani is not an unrealistic outcome to this match-up. He is a solid striker, as well as a solid grappler, so if he is able to find success with his takedowns, I think his chances of winning this fight via decision will greatly increase. Now, I think Johnson wins this fight more often than not, but I feel like Bagautinov is being under-valued, so I’m gonna take him for a very small value play and call it a gamble. Gabe’s Call: “Mighty Mouse” by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 48-47, 49-46) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Ali Bagautinov +450 .5u to win 2.25u

Written by Gabe Killian

Leave a Reply

Diving into the FOX Sports 1 Prelims for UFC 174

UFC 174 Fight Breakdown: Ryan Bader (-150) vs. Rafael Cavalcante (+130)