Rogers Arena in Vancouver, B.C. hosts UFC 174 this Saturday evening and the staff here at MMASucka will make our predictions for the entire main card.
The main event is a battle between UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson and Ali Bagautinov. Johnson is on a five-fight winning streak and has defended his title three times. Bagautinov is currently riding an 11-fight winning streak, dating back to 2011.
As always the staff at MMASucka.com will make their predictions for the entire main card. As you can see from our overall running scores, some of us are much better than others. But without further ado, check out the MMASucka Staff Predictions.
Below are the scores after our UFC 173.
Allen – 31-13
Justin – 31-18
Jeremy – 30-17
Suraj – 18-9
Callum – 15-12
Thinesh – 10-7
Demetrious Johnson vs. Ali Bagautinov
Jeremy: An 11-fight winning streak is on Bagautinov’s side, but I feel that every other advantage is on the side of the champ. He has explosive power, as we saw in his last title defense against Joseph Benavidez. He has submission skills, as we saw against John Moraga and we know he has speed. Each and every fight we have seen “Mighty Mouse” get better and better and I believe this one will be no different. My pick Demetrious Johnson via Unanimous Decision.
Allen: Bagautinov isn’t receiving enough praise for what he’s accomplished in his young UFC career. He may only have one finish, but he’s soundly defeated his opposition. The way he picked John Lineker apart and controlled him was brilliant. He wore down a dangerous striker and showcased his jab well. The big difference maker here is speed and cardio. Bagautinov is relatively slow for a flyweight. He was fortunate in fighting two slow flyweights in Lineker and Tim Elliot to earn himself a title shot. In the Elliot fight, he faded in the third round and was backing away far too often. Johnson is a matchup nightmare, where he practically has no flaws. Unless Bagautinov can control him against the fence or on the ground and withstand Johnson’s frantic pace, he’ll be just another victim. I’m expecting Johnson to control most of the fight. He’s simply on another level from a striking, jiu-jitsu, and cardio standpoint. Demetrious Johnson via unanimous decision
Callum: Bagautinov is, without question, a great fighter. He’s at the forefront of the Russian expansion in the UFC, and the first of his cohort to get a title shot. He looked impressive against Lineker, but a lot of that was to do with having exposed Lineker’s weak cardio and weak ground game. Similarly, I have a strong feeling that Demetrious Johnson will do the same here with Bagautinov. His cardio has yet to be tested in the championship rounds, and Demetrious Johnson could go for ten rounds if he needed to. I see Johnson exercising caution and being simply too fast for Bagautinov, picking him off with his crisp and technical striking. If Bagautinov really fades as the fight goes on and DJ does enough damage, I could see a late finish here. There’s good money to be made on a 4th or 5th round TKO finish, so if you’re a gambler that might be worth considering. Demetrious Johnson by 4th Round TKO
Justin: As I said in Stats for Suckas, I’m picking Ali Bagautinov. For more info, read it here.
Suraj: There are only a few men who can stand toe-to-toe with Demetrious Johnson and actually have a chance at winning. Ali Bagautinov is an excellent fighter who has shown tremendous versatility, pace and defense. However, is there anyone better than Johnson in the versatility and pace department? He is constantly mixing up his strikes and has some great takedowns to go along with his impressive ground game. Throw in the speed factor and it looks like a very long night for the Russian, especially for a fighter who has yet to be finish. Bagautinov has not fought anyone close to this level and it would be an absolute shock to see Johnson lose his belt in Vancouver. Demetrious Johnson via Unanimous Decision.
Rory MacDonald vs. Tyron Woodley
Jeremy: Being from B.C. my heart is definitely with Rory and I think he has all the tools to win this fight, but my gut is telling me that Tyron is going to take this one. We have seen Woodley progress so far since his time with Strikeforce and his last outing against Condit proved that he can bang with the best of them. My pick Tyron Woodley via Unanimous Decision.
Allen: Even though some luster is off this fight, due to Dana White’s announcement of Matt Brown vs. Robbie Lawler being labeled as a number one contender’s fight.. This is still the most intriguing fight on the card, based on the differences in style. No welterweight closes distance faster than Woodley. MacDonald is a tactician, who utilizes his reach to near perfection at times. His jab could prove to be the difference maker in halting Woodley’s attacks. He’s started off slow in his past few fights, while Woodley is aggressive from the second the bell rings These are predications, so that doesn’t make it a certainty that he gets off to a slow start again. I’m just skeptical of MacDonald surviving the relentless pace of Woodley, unless he gasses himself out. That’s a possibility, but I’m taking my chances with Woodley landing a brutalizing right hook instead. Sorry Vancouver. Tyron Woodley via 2nd round KO
Callum: First off – these two got screwed. If we are to believe Tyron Woodley, he was told a win here would get him a title shot (not that unreasonable suggestion after he had already knocked off Carlos Condit) but now Dana White says that isn’t the case. Hopefully, Woodley’s anger will fuel him into a good performance here. I picked against Rory MacDonald in the Maia fight, and for the first five minutes I felt pretty damn smug. However Rory really showed some heart in that fight, overcoming a bad first round to dominate the rest of the fight. If he can defend the takedowns of Woodley and survive the early pace, I could see MacDonald looking just as impressive here. Woodley is undoubtedly the toughest fighter MacDonald has faced bar Robbie Lawler, but if he can impose his game plan and shout down Woodley’s offence like he did with Maia MacDonald could finally establish himself as a player in the title picture. Rory MacDonald via Unanimous Decision
Justin: Rory MacDonald has not faced off with a highly aggressive fighter in quite some time. Oddly enough, the last time that happened was also in Vancouver, in “Ares'” star-making performance in a losing effort to Carlos Condit. He’s facing another one in the surging Tyron Woodly, and I don’t think that “The Chosen One” will let MacDonald sit comfortably from on the outside to take pot-shots. Tyron Woodley via Unanimous Decision.
Suraj: Personally, even as a Canadian, I am not a big fan of Rory MacDonald. I think he has a great base but relies too much on his ability to keep the distance and fire tactical shots. His aggressiveness is improving along with this all-around ability and there are few fighters who can really challenge him. Enter Tyron Woodley. Could he actually pull off the upset? He is an aggressive fighter who packs a punch, but I believe Woodley got lucky against Condit and we should be watching a Condit-MacDonald rematch. With that said, Woodley may feel ready to hit the big time, but MacDonald is as hungry as ever and fighting in front of the hometown crowd. This one SHOULD be a no-brainer, but it’s MMA after all. Rory MacDonald via Unanimous Decision.
Rafael Cavalcante vs. Ryan Bader
Jeremy: I think Bader will be looking for a big knockout victory in this fight, however he often opens himself up when he does that. Will Bader be able to hang on the ground with Feijao? Will Feijao have the gas tank to stay with Bader for three full rounds? My pick is Ryan Bader via 2nd Round TKO.
Allen: The match making is understandable, but this fight couldn’t have a lesser amount of buzz around it. Many fans have seemed to given up on Bader following vicious knockout losses to contenders such as Lyoto Machida and Glover Teixeira. Feijao hasn’t exactly fought on any big stage yet in his UFC career. While his striking could certainly finish Bader in an instant, I’m expecting Bader to have a wiser game plan. Then again, I tend to say that every time he fights and he decides to leave himself open while rushing in. Thankfully for his sake, Feijao has never had great cardio and tends to leave himself too open at times. Ryan Bader via unanimous decision.
Callum: This is pretty much the forgotten fight on this card. Two guys right around the bottom of the top ten fighting for relevancy is arguably a compelling story, but it just hasn’t been promoted well. Ryan Bader legitimately destroyed Antony Perosh in Australia in December in one of the most one sided UFC fights I’ve ever seen, while Feijao has never gone the distance in any of his fights to date. Bader will try and impose his wrestling game here, but Cavalcante has faced wrestlers before. I predict another TKO finish for Feijao here. Rafael Cavalcante via 2nd Round TKO
Justin: Ryan Bader has shown that, for as good a fighter he is, his chin is something of a magnet for well-timed fists. “Feijao” just happens to possess well-timed fists. This will be a good fight for however long it lasts, but I just see Rafael Cavalcante being able to get one of those hammers he calls hands on to Bader’s jaw and putting him down for the night. Rafael Cavalcante via 2nd Round TKO.
Suraj: My explanation for this fight might be a little out there, but bare with me. When you consider the careers of both Rafael Cavalcante and Ryan Bader, there is a huge difference in terms of experience and quality of opponents that must be considered. Bader has just four losses to his name; Jon Jones, Tito Ortiz, Lyoto Machida and Glover Texeira. Three of the four losses have come against current or past UFC light heavyweight champions and Texeira is an undisputed top five light heavyweight fighter in the world. If Bader can avoid the quick strikes of Cavalcante, this should be another solid win for “Darth” Bader. Ryan Bader via Unanimous Decision
Andrei Arlovski vs. Brendan Schaub
Jeremy: I can not explain how stoked I am for Andrei Arlovski to be back in the UFC. He definitely has a punchers chance in this fight, as his crazy knockout power can come from absolutely nowhere. Schaub has been training his jiu-jitsu a lot recently and will have Rener Gracie by his side at UFC 174, so there is definitely the possibility of a submission. I, like a lot of people that I have spoken to think this one will be whose glass chin breaks first. My pick is Brendan Schaub via Round 1 TKO.
Allen: What can we honestly expect from Arlovski? He has nothing to lose and is basically coming back to entertain. He does posses scary knockout power, although he’s never been technically sound. As much as people like to criticize Schaub for his arrogance and lack of durability, he’s proven to evolve into more of a well-rounded fighter. Not many heavyweights can successfully shoot in for takedowns quite like him, along with his speed. Schaub will eventually get this fight to the ground and use his improved BJJ to secure a finish. We’ll get to see at least a two minute session of Arlovski and Schaub standing and trading, before Schaub takes care of business. Brendan Schaub via arm-triangle choke in first round.
Callum: A lot of people are counting Arlovski out here, but I see this as a very even fight. It’s a simple clash of styles: if it stays on the feet then Arlovski will dominate, but Schaub will win a ground battle. Arlovski went three full rounds with Mike Kyle, so I don’t think his cardio is as much in question as people might suggest either. I’m going to dare to dream, and say that Arlovski will pull off the upset and announce his return to the UFC with style. Andrei Arlovski via 2nd Round TKO.
Justin: As much as Brendan Schaub gets grappling hype for his involvement with the Gracie Brothers, it’s not going to be enough to take down Andrei Arlovski. It’s going to be a stand-up battle between these two heavyweights, and that is another place where “The Pitbull” will have the edge over “The Hybrid.” The Belarusian has knocked out far sturdier men than Schaub, and still has enough sense to make get another UFC victory. Andrei Arlovski via 1st Round TKO.
Suraj: Two fighters that have had on-and-off success in the UFC, Andrei Arlovski makes his return to the octagon against a fighter who is trying to take his game to the next level. Schaub, who is coming off very impressive wins, is now on his second attempt at getting UFC gold. Arlovski, who has already worn the belt, has not fought in the UFC since 2008 but still remains a big fan favorite. The one thing about this fight that catches my attention is the lack of chin on both these fighters. With that said, this fight should be a finish, but it really is a toss up as to who comes out on top. Andrei Arlovski via 2nd Round TKO.
Ovince St. Preux vs. Ryan Jimmo
Jeremy: I’m not going to dig too deep into this one, but Jimmo in my opinion doesn’t have what it takes to beat St. Preux. He has that one-punch knockout power and anyone that has seen his MFC days knows that he can smother one to death. St. Preux has such an unorthodox style that will prove to be difficult for Jimmo to handle. My pick Ovince St. Preux via Unanimous Decision.
Allen: I’m intrigued by St. Preux simply based off his physical frame. From a physical standpoint, you can draw some comparisons to Jon Jones. Now if only he can use his reach effectively and use more low kicks to his arsenal. He tends to rush in and throw wild combinations, which would be silly against Jimmo. While Jimmo has knockout power, he doesn’t present any special attributes besides durability. This is the toughest pick on the card for me because of St.Preux’s lack of top-level competition. Many people don’t take Jimmo seriously as a contender, yet he’s still a game opponent. He struggles against athletic fighters, who have solid boxing. Eventually he’ll crumble under St. Preux’s constant pressure Ovince St. Preux via TKO in second round.
Callum: The best thing about this fight is that it gives us an excuse to watch OSP’s beautiful Von Flue choke finish in his last fight against Nikita Krylov over and over again. St Preux has really yet to be tested, with his only big fight being the loss to Gegard Mousasi in Strikeforce. Jimmo is a legitimate test, make no mistake, though Jimmo is often discounted by many. He has an unorthodox style and the experience to trouble OSP. I expect this to be a cagey fight, with a close decision that many will see as contentious. Ryan Jimmo via Split Decision
Justin: Pop quiz, MMA fans: What does Ryan Jimmo do when he has trouble dealing with an opponent’s aggressive striking? The answer: He tries to clinch and slow the fight down to a crawl. Well, the problem is that such a strategy won’t work against the beastly clinch game of former football collegiate Ovince St. Preux. Expect St. Preux to continue developing into the fighter we expected him to be in Strikeforce here with a convincing, but well-earned win. Ovince St. Preux via Unanimous Decision.
Suraj: I don’t think this one will be very close. Ovince St. Preux has come out strong in his last few bouts and has shown gradual improvement as his opponents get tougher. Ryan Jimmo is more of a big name than a great fighter, and even though he has an impressive record, St.Preux’s athleticism will be far too much for the Canadian to handle. If St. Preux can go the distance with Gegard Mousasi, I do not see Jimmo stopping the up-and-coming Florida native. Ovince St. Preux via 1st Round TKO.