Jonathan Hayward / The Canadian Press/AP
Published Saturday, June 14, 2014 | 7 p.m.
Updated Saturday, June 14, 2014 | 10:09 p.m.
After 25 minutes of combat, Demetrious Johnson panned to the camera and threw one last combination of crisp punches through the air.
“Mighty Mouse” showed not a single sign of fatigue after revving his never-ending motor in yet another title defense against Ali Bagautinov. Johnson routed the Dagestani challenger in the main event of UFC 174, pocketing a unanimous-decision victory in which he won all five rounds on every judge's scorecard.
“I’m the king,” Johnson said while still in the octagon. “I’ll stay the king as long as I can.”
Johnson has now defended his 125-pound championship four times. Those fights have totaled 16 rounds, and he’s only ever unanimously lost one of them.
Johnson certainly didn’t lose one at Rogers Arena, tenderizing Bagautinov’s legs with kicks and bashing the challenger’s head with knees.
“I don’t know how many times my knee hit his jaw,” Johnson said. “My knee is on fire.
“I hit a lot of guys in the gym with those shots and they go down, but he was tough.”
The two supporting fights were similar to the main event in that they ended going the distance with one fighter clearly winning every round. First, Ryan Bader smothered Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante to get a unanimous-decision nod in a light heavyweight bout.
In the co-main event, Rory MacDonald quickly turned a pick’em fight with Tyron Woodley lopsided. MacDonald mastered his range, keeping Woodley at bay and tearing him apart with front kicks and right hands.
“One day very soon,” MacDonald said, “the belt will be mine.”
Controversy reared itself in a featured heavyweight matchup where Andrei Arlovski won a split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) over Brendan Schaub. Each of the first two rounds were dull, but Schaub came on strong in the third by taking down Arlovski and landing ground-and-pound.
Schaub walked out of the arena disappointed, and with a disfigured jaw to boot. But it wasn’t even the worst injury of the night, as Ovince St. Preux broke Ryan Jimmo’s arm in the first main-card fight with a second-round armbar.
Jimmo verbally submitted to officially hand St. Preux a second-round TKO victory.
Look below for the Sun’s live blog, including preliminary results at the bottom of the page, and check back later for more coverage.
The UFC makes history tonight at Rogers Arena.
Not the type of history the Las Vegas-based promotion trumpeted in advertisements across a diverse set of media. Not even the kind significant enough to someday serve as the answer to a trivia question.
But the main event will bring a first when Demetrious Johnson and Ali Bagautinov step into the octagon at UFC 174. The flyweight division has officially graduated to the UFC’s preferred platform of pay-per-view.
Each of Demetrious Johnson’s first three title defenses of his 125-pound belt took place on free television. The inaugural flyweight title fight, between Johnson and Joseph Benavidez, was on a pay-per-view but fell as the co-main event on an event headlined by Jon Jones vs. Vitor Belfort.
Tonight will be the first time the UFC can find out if the fledging division is capable of carrying a major show on its own. The promotion didn’t leave them hanging without some solid support.
Some evidence indicates fans are more excited for a few of the other main-card fights. The arena should reach its loudest when the co-main event between Rory MacDonald and Tyron Woodley commences.
MacDonald is a local product in what UFC President Dana White says is the biggest fight of his life. The same is true for the Saint Louis native Woodley.
A win for either fighter puts them to the front of the line for a title shot against Johny Hendricks at the welterweight division. The winner of a July bout between Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown is next for Hendricks, but MacDonald or Woodley will queue themselves up for the opportunity of a lifetime next year.
One fighter on the main card already realized his championship dreams, as Andrei Arlovksi is the former heavyweight king from 2007. Arlovski returns to the UFC for the first time since 2008 against Brendan Schaub in the second pay-per-view bout.
It follows a light heavyweight tilt between Ovince St. Preux and Ryan Jimmo. After Arlovski vs. Schaub, another 205-pound fight is scheduled between Ryan Bader and Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante.
Stay tuned to lasvegassun.com for live coverage of the main card and look below for preliminary results.
Kichi Kunimoto finished off the preliminary card with a fifth upset in six fights. Kunimoto forced Daniel Sarafian to tap out with a rear-naked choke at 2:53 of the first round.
Valiere Letourneau raised her hands and leapt into the air the second her name was announced. Her women's bantamweight bout was so close that no one knew for sure which way it was going but Letourneau ended up with the split-decision victory (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) over Elizabeth Phillips.
Yves Jabouin caught Mike Easton off-guard by making wrestling his main plan of attack. The strategy paid dividends when five takedowns scored Jabouin a unanimous-decision win over Easton in a bantamweight bout that all three judges scored 29-28.
A lightweight slugfest between Kajan Johnson and Tae Hyun Bang may win the Fight of the Night bonus. Bang definitely won the fight, knocking out Johnson at 2:01 of the third round with a lethal right hand.
Michinori Tanaka took down Roland Delorme at will, and stayed out of submissions. Tanaka captured a unanimous-decision victory (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) for his dominant bantamweight performance against Delorme.
Jason Saggo heard the 10-second notification and knew he had to turn up the intensity to get the finish. Saggo pounded out Josh Shockley seven seconds later, officialy winning via TKO at 4:57 in the lightweight bout between two debuting fighters.