Diving into the FOX Sports 1 Prelims for UFC 174

Daniel SarafianUFC 174 will be live from Rogers Arena in Vancouver, B.C, Canada on Saturday, June 14th with an 11-fight card, including a four-fight preliminary card what will be broadcasted live at 8pm ET on FOX Sports 1. Getting the action started for the UFC 174 preliminary card on FOX Sports 1 is a welterweight contest that will see TUF: Nations contestant Kajan Johnson take on the heavy-handed Tae Hyun Bang. This will be the promotional debut for Johnson, who was defeated via TKO and suffered a broken jaw in the TUF: Nations semi-finals against eventual winner and fellow Canadian Chad Laprise. For Bang, it will be his second attempt at getting his hand raised inside the Octagon, as he dropped a unanimous decision to Mairbek Taisumov in his promotional debut. He was outwrestled by a fighter who is predominantly a striker, so I am interested in seeing this this bout against yet another striker will pan out. Both fighters like to keep things on the feet, so that’s where I expect the fight to take place. That said, I wouldn’t be surprise to see Johnson go for a takedown to test his skills on the mat, or vice-versa. The biggest concern in this bout for me as a fight fan is the possibility that the hard-hitting Bang may land flush on Johnson’s chin, giving the Canadian his third broken jaw of his professional Mixed Martial Arts career, and likely sending him towards retirement. Next up will be a bantamweight scrap between a pair of strikers in the form of Yves “Tiger” Jabouin and Mike “The Hulk” Easton. This could be a “loser goes home” match-up for both fighters, with Easton being on a two-fight skid and Jabouin being 1-2 in his last three. However, their losses could be forgivable, considering Jabouin’s came against Eddie Wineland and Brad Pickett, and Easton’s came against Pickett, current number-one contender Raphael Assuncao, and current UFC Bantamweight Champion TJ Dillashaw. This is a very important fight for both 135-pounders. As much as they each need to pick up a win, I think even more so, they need to impress. Following the men’s bantamweight bout will be a match-up in the women’s bantamweight division featuring promotional newcomers Valerie Letourneau and Elizabeth Phillips. Two-time Octagon veteran Germaine de Randamie was originally scheduled to face Milena Dudieva in this slot, but had to pull out of the fight due having issues with her visa that restricted her from entering Canada. I expect we’ll be seeing her booked on a card very soon, States-side. Letourneau, replacing de Randamie, stepped in to take on Dudieva. However, Dudieva suffered an injury in training and was forced to be removed from the card with the fight only one week away. Enter: Elizabeth Phillips. Phillips made her promotional debut nearly two years ago, suffering a first round TKO defeat at the hands of current Invicta FC bantamweight Miriam Nakomoto. The good news is that she bounced back with four straight victories, three of them coming inside the distance. The not-so-good news? The four opponents she defeated have a combined record of 7-9. In Letourneau, Phillips will certainly be taking a step up and facing her toughest opposition since Nakomoto. The only blemishes on Letourneau’s professional Mixed Martial Arts career resume have come against some of the best in Women’s MMA. She lost to former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Sarah Kaufman, and came close in split-decision’s against current UFC women’s bantamweight title challenger Alexis Davis and currently undefeated strawweight Claudia Gadhela. She also appeared on season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter, where she suffered a submission loss at the hands of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist Roxeane Modafferi in the elimination round of the tournament. Since appearing on the reality series, she has picked up a TKO victory that came at the 34-second mark of the very first round. Most fight fans are unfamiliar with these two, and considering they are both taking this fight on such short notice, I feel there are more questions than usual surrounding this one. Surely, they will be answered Saturday night. Headlining the UFC 174 preliminary card on FOX Sports 1 will be a welterweight contest that will see the Brazilian-Armenian Daniel Sarafian make his 170-pound debut against Japan’s Kiichu Kunimoto. Sarafian is now 1-2 inside the Octagon and desperately needs a win on Saturday night. He last faced fellow TUF: Brazil veteran Cezar Ferreira and lost the bout via split decision on the judges’ scorecards, largely due to his size disadvantage against Ferreira. Seven months later and a new weight class, he will be looking to impress on Saturday night. This is a rare winner vs loser match-up, since Sarafian is coming off the Ferreira loss, and Kunimoto is coming off a DQ win in his last outing against Luis Dutra just over four months ago. The victory made it five in a row for him, and he now has only one loss in his last 13 fights. I think this should be a fun fight, whether it lasts a few minutes or goes all 15. The biggest concern for me in this bout is Sarafian’s conditioning. His cardio was poor at 185-pounds, so I am interested to see what it will look like at 170-pounds. UFC 174 this Saturday night presents a solid night of fights, from unknowns at the bottom of the undercard to the fast flyweights headlining the main card. Be sure to be tuned it for all of the action, ‘cos you won’t want to miss a thing.

Written by Gabe Killian

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UFC 174 Full Opening Betting Odds

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