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UFC 174 breakdown, betting odds and picks

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Tyron Woodley yells to a camera after defeating Josh Koscheck during their fight at UFC 167 Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

From a competitive standpoint, UFC 174 is surely the Las Vegas-based promotion’s best event of the year.

Four of the five fights on Saturday’s pay-per-view card at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, feature nearly pick ’em odds in sports books. Oddsmakers couldn’t come to a consensus in two of those fights — Rory MacDonald vs. Tyron Woodley and Andrei Arlovski vs. Brendan Schaub — on who should be favored as the lines have bounced around and differ depending on the location.

As the odds would hint, the Las Vegas Sun’s picks panel is all over the map with their selections. All five prognosticators didn’t agree unanimously on a single one of those four fights.

The main event is the only main-card bout in which oddsmakers give one side better than a 58 percent chance to win. Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson is a hefty minus-550 (risking $1 to win $5.50) favorite over challenger Ali Bagautinov, who comes back at plus-400 (risking $1 to win $4).

Everyone picked Johnson, but “Mighty Mouse” was just one of three fighters on the 11-bout card overall to garner all five choices.

Check below for a complete preview of UFC 174 with odds and picks from ESPN Radio’s Steve Cofield (58-24 year to date), ESPN’s Brett Okamoto (53-29), Las Vegas Sun’s Ray Brewer (53-29), Las Vegas Sun’s Case Keefer (52-28) and KSNV’s Randy Howe (46-36).

Ali Bagautinov

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’4”
  • Weight: 125
  • UFC record 3-0
  • MMA record 13-2
  • Out of: Dagestan Republic, Russia
  • Betting line: +425

Demetrious Johnson

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 5’3”
  • Weight: 125
  • UFC record 7-1-1
  • MMA record 19-2-1
  • Out of: Parland, Wash.
  • Betting line: -550

Flyweight Championship Bout

Main Event

Last fight: Unanimous-decision victory over John Lineker at UFC 169.

Punch list: “Puncher” is so dedicated to becoming UFC champion that he left his home to train in America despite the birth of his son two weeks ago. Bagautinov had already won six fights in a row before signing with the UFC but has improved since appearing in the octagon under the tutelage of Greg Jackson at his Albuquerque camp.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Johnson

Cofield: Johnson

Last fight: First-round knockout over Joseph Benavidez at UFC on Fox 9.

Punch list: “Mighty Mouse” currently sits at No. 4 in the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings, but he could merit an even higher standing. Johnson fought his way to a title bout in a weight class too big for him, the 135-pound division, before reigning over the 125-pound class for the past two years.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Johnson

Brewer: Johnson

Okamoto: Johnson

Tyron Woodley

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 3-1
  • MMA record 13-2
  • Out of: Coconut Creek, Fla.
  • Betting line: -125

Rory MacDonald

  • Age: 24
  • Height: 6’0”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 7-2
  • MMA record 16-2
  • Out of: Montreal
  • Betting line: -105

Welterweight Bout

Co-Main Event

Last fight: Second-round TKO victory over Carlos Condit at UFC 171.

Punch list: With two straight knockout wins over Josh Koscheck and Carlos Condit, Woodley expects to earn a title shot if he beats MacDonald. His mix of wrestling and striking isn’t unlike the style of the man he’s striving toward — champion Johny Hendricks.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Woodley

Cofield: MacDonald

Last fight: Unanimous-decision victory over Demian Maia at UFC 170.

Punch list: The handpicked successor to Georges St. Pierre, MacDonald ruined those plans with a lousy performance against Robbie Lawler last November. He bounced back to beat Maia and put himself right back into a beneficial position.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: MacDonald

Brewer: MacDonald

Okamoto: MacDonald

Rafael Cavalcante

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 2-1
  • MMA record 12-4
  • Out of: Rio de Janeiro
  • Betting line: +125

Ryan Bader

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 9-4
  • MMA record 17-4
  • Out of: Tempe, Ariz
  • Betting line: -155

Light Heavyweight Bout

Pay-Per-View Bout

Last fight: First-round TKO victory over Igor Pokrajac at UFC Fight Night 32.

Punch list: “Feijao” hasn’t panned out as well as some projected a few years ago either. He captured the Strikeforce title in 2010, leaving many to rank him among the best light heavyweights in the world, but he has gone only 2-2 since successfully defending the belt once.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Cavalcante

Cofield: Bader

Last fight: Unanimous-decision win over Anthony Perosh at UFC Fight Night 33.

Punch list: After he won his first five UFC bouts, hopes were high for Bader’s future. The former Arizona State wrestler has gone only 4-4 since then, however, to underachieve compared with the lofty expectations he set for himself.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Cavalcante

Brewer: Cavalcante

Okamoto: Bader

Brendan Schaub

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 6’4”
  • Weight: 245
  • UFC record 6-3
  • MMA record 11-3
  • Out of: Venice Beach, Calif.
  • Betting line: -155

Andrei Arlovski

  • Age: 35
  • Height: 6’3”
  • Weight: 240
  • UFC record 10-4
  • MMA record 21-10
  • Out of: Las Vegas
  • Betting line: +125

Heavyweight Bout

Featured Contest

Last fight: Submitted Matt Mitrione in the first round at UFC 165.

Punch list: Getting back to relying on the strength that got him onto NFL rosters, Schaub has put together a two-fight win streak. He’s at his best when closing the distance and pressuring opponents, not exchanging strikes, as the win streak came after two straight knockout defeats.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Schaub

Cofield: Arlovski

Last fight: Knocked out Andreas Kraniotakes in the second round at Fight Nights: Battle on Nyamiha.

Punch list: This is one return of a former champion that no one ever saw coming. Arlovski left the UFC on a three-fight win streak in 2008 to fight for rival promotions. The UFC stayed away for a while, but a late-career renaissance led Arlovski back to the promotion where he made his name.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Schaub

Brewer: Schaub

Okamoto: Schaub

Ryan Jimmo

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 3-2
  • MMA record 19-3
  • Out of: Edmonton, Alberta
  • Betting line: +120

Ovince St. Preux

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 6’3”
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 3-0
  • MMA record 15-5
  • Out of: Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Betting line: -150

Light Heavyweight Bout

Main Card Opener

Last fight: Knocked out Sean O’Connell at The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale.

Punch list: Technique and experience are Jimmo’s advantages. “The Ultimate Fighter” 8 veteran has fought professionally for seven years and faced several notable opponents before ever making it to the UFC.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: St. Preux

Cofield: St. Preux

Last fight: First-round submission victory over Nikita Krylov at UFC 171.

Punch list: Power and speed are St. Preux’s advantages. The former University of Tennessee linebacker is capable of hurting anyone with his strength and nimble enough to frustrate less-conditioned opponents.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Jimmo

Brewer: St. Preux

Okamoto: St. Preux

Kichi Kunimoto

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 16-5-2
  • Out of: Osaka, Japan
  • Betting line: +290

Daniel Sarafian

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 1-2
  • MMA record 9-4
  • Out of: Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Betting line: -380

Welterweight Bout

Fox Sports 1 prelim

Last fight: Beat Luiz Dutra Jr. via disqualification in the first round at UFC Fight Night 34.

Punch list: Having picked up a win in his debut because his opponent elbowed him illegally in the back of the head, Kunimoto still has plenty to prove. He’s a submission specialist, which could make for some memorable grappling exchanges.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Sarafian

Cofield: Sarafian

Last fight: Split-decision loss to Cezar Ferreira at UFC Fight Night 32.

Punch list: An alum of the original “The Ultimate Fighter Brazil,” Sarafian retreats to welterweight seeking a spark in his career. All of his previous fights were at middleweight, a division he found too big for him once inside the UFC.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Sarafian

Brewer: Kunimoto

Okamoto: Sarafian

Elizabeth Phillips

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 5’6”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 4-1
  • Out of: Spokane, Wash.
  • Betting line: -110

Valerie Letourneau

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’7”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 5-3
  • Out of: Coconut Creek, Fla.
  • Betting line: -120

Women’s Bantamweight Bout

Fox Sports 1 prelim

Last fight: Unanimous-decision win over Katie Howard at Conquest of the Cage 16.

Punch list: A personal trainer, Phillips is one quarter away from graduating from Eastern Washington University. She began fighting while in college three years ago, racking up five amateur fights before turning professional.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Phillips

Cofield: Letourneau

Last fight: First-round TKO victory over Jordan Moore at Absolute Fighting Championships 21.

Punch list: The French-Canadian got into the UFC as much for her losses as her wins. Her only defeats came to UFC fighters Sarah Kaufman, Alexis Davis and Claudia Gadelha with the last two coming via split decision.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Phillips

Brewer: Letourneau

Okamoto: Letourneau

Mike Easton

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 5’6”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 3-3
  • MMA record 13-4
  • Out of: Camp Springs, Md.
  • Betting line: -200

Yves Jabouin

  • Age: 35
  • Height: 5’6”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 4-3
  • MMA record 19-9
  • Out of: Montreal
  • Betting line: +160

Bantamweight Bout

Fox Sports 1 Prelim

Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to T.J. Dillashaw at UFC Fight Night 35.

Punch list: With wrestling his go-to discipline, “The Hulk” preys on opponents whom he can take down. The longtime teammate of former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz lost three in a row after starting his UFC career with three straight victories.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Easton

Cofield: Easton

Last fight: Second-round TKO loss to Eddie Wineland at UFC on Fox 10.

Punch list: With 11 career knockouts, “Tiger” can be a nuisance on the feet. The Tristar Gym fighter had won three in a row before reaching the upper crust of the 135-pound division, where he’s fallen to 1-2 in his past three fights.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Easton

Brewer:Easton

Okamoto: Easton

Tae Hyun Bang

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 16-8
  • Out of: Seoul
  • Betting line: +145

Kajan Johnson

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 19-11-1
  • Out of: Montreal
  • Betting line: -175

Lightweight Bout

Fox Sports 1 Prelim

Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to Mairbek Taisumov at UFC Fight Night 34.

Punch list: It took a decade of racking up titles in Asian promotions before Bang, a professional since 2004, caught the eye of the UFC to realize his dream. As his last name may hint, “Supernatural” likes to stand in the pocket and exchange.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Johnson

Cofield: Johnson

Last fight: Submitted Richie Whitson at Maximum Fighting Championship 31.

Punch list: It’s a home fight for Johnson, who grew up in British Columbia before relocating to train at the famed Tristar Gym. He advanced to the semifinals of “The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia” before getting knocked out by eventual winner Chad Laprise.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Johnson

Brewer: Bang

Okamoto: Johnson

Michinori Tanaka

  • Age: 23
  • Height: 5’5”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 9-0
  • Out of: Kangawa, Japan
  • Betting line: +125

Roland Delorme

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 3-1
  • MMA record 9-2
  • Out of: Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Betting line: -150

Lightweight Bout

UFC Fight Pass Prelim

Last fight: Unanimous-decision victory over Kyle Aguon at Pacific Xtreme Combat 40.

Punch list: Prodigy is a word that’s gotten thrown around in regard to Tanaka’s skill level. He won a prominent Brazilian jiujitsu tournament two months after he started training at age 18 and has five submission victories in MMA.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Delorme

Cofield: Tanaka

Last fight: Split-decision loss to Alex Caceres at UFC 165.

Punch list: Delorme sold a restaurant he owned three years ago to go on “The Ultimate Fighter.” The gamble is on the verge of paying off, as he was undefeated in the UFC before a narrow setback against Caceres.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Delorme

Brewer: Delorme

Okamoto: Delorme

Josh Shockley

  • Age: 24
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 11-2
  • Out of: Lake Station, Ind.
  • Betting line: +105

Jason Saggo

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 9-1
  • Out of: Charlestown, Prince Edward Island
  • Betting line: -125

Lightweight Bout

UFC Fight Pass Prelim

Last fight: Beat Micah Miller by unanimous decision at Hoosier Fight Club 16.

Punch list: Shockley went 2-2 while fighting in Bellator from 2011 to 2012. He’s fought a few other recognizable names in the sport while notching five submissions and three knockouts.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Shockley

Cofield: Saggo

Last fight: Submitted Stephen Beaumont in the first round at Aggression Fighting Championship 19.

Punch list: A tear of three straight wins by rear-naked choke leads Saggo into the UFC. While his opponent says he always knew he wanted to be a professional fighter, Saggo bounced around jobs before turning including a stint as a forest firefighter before turning professional.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Saggo

Brewer: Shockley

Okamoto: Saggo

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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