VANCOUVER, British Columbia — There was little drama over the 25 minutes of the main event of UFC 174 at Rogers Arena on Saturday night.
Demetrious Johnson was simply too good.
Johnson retained the Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight title with a unanimous decision over Ali Bagautinov, winning all five rounds on all three scorecards.
Bagautinov secured a few takedowns, but Johnson popped right back up each time. The challenger landed a couple of nice shots, but Johnson answered each one. He was just too fast, too strong and too much for Bagautinov to handle.
“He’s tough man. I gave him a lot of hard shots. I don’t even know how many times the top of my knees hit his face, “ Johnson said. “I knew he was going to be tough and he would keep pushing me.”
Johnson is the only fighter ever to hold the flyweight title in the UFC. He won a tournament to capture the belt in 2012 and successfully defended it for the fourth time.
“I’m the king,” Johnson said. “I’ll stay the king as long as I can, and I’m going to keep on knocking them down, man.”
Rory MacDonald solidified his spot as one of the top contenders in the crowded welterweight division with a dismantling of Tyron Woodley.
MacDonald kept Woodley at the end of his jab and wouldn’t allow him to muster any offense. Eventually, MacDonald got Woodley to the mat and spent the final few minutes inflicting damage from top position.
“It was a fun fight. Everything went exactly the way we planned it. We knew that he had big power, and I thought he would come out swinging at the beginning of each round,” MacDonald said. “My goal was to defend the takedown and try to get a few of my own when I got the opportunity. Control was the key in the fight, and we controlled it.”
Woodley was disappointed with the result.
“I felt good coming into the fight,” he said. “There wasn’t anything unexpected. I just let him dictate the pace too early in the fight. I really never got into my rhythm. Rory did a great job tonight.”
Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski was awarded a split decision over Brendan Schaub in a fight that fell short of expectations. The big, athletic sluggers appeared hesitant to engage each other and went long stretches pressed against the cage without much happening, drawing prolonged boos from a crowd that had high hopes for the matchup.
Schaub controlled most of the third round and fully believed he had defeated Arlovski, who hadn’t fought in the UFC since 2008.
“My arms and legs were shaking during the walk out and the first round. I was very excited but also very nervous to be back inside the octagon,” he said. “It feels so good to be home. The reception I got from the fans was incredible.”
Schaub was in disbelief.
“There has to be some sort of major change with these judges. I have no idea what they’re doing, but clearly they weren’t paying attention to the fight,” he said. “I know Andrei’s a big star, and maybe they were swayed by the fans reaction. Look at the punch stats and statistics, then tell me that he won that fight.”
Light heavyweight Ovince St. Preux picked up his fifth straight win, four in the UFC, when he appeared to break Ryan Jimmo’s arm in the third round, forcing Jimmo to orally submit.
St. Preux ripped Jimmo’s arm away from his body to prompt the stoppage.
“The finish was just a chicken wing like we all used to do in high school wrestling back in the day,” St. Preux said. “A lot of guys used to call it the ‘Redneck,’ and you would use it to turn someone over.”
Jimmo said he was injured before the maneuver.
“The chicken wing didn’t do anything, really. I think it was a kick to the forearm that damaged my arm,” he said. “When I tried to pivot and push off the canvas after the takedown, I felt my arm snap and I let the referee know that I couldn’t continue.”
Reno native Ryan Bader, a former football and wrestling star at McQueen High School, controlled all three rounds on his way to a unanimous decision over Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante.
Bader took down Cavalcante early and often, controlling position on the ground for long stretches.
Tae Hyun Bang highlighted the preliminary card with a third-round knockout of Kajan Johnson in a lightweight bout, and Valerie LeTourneau was awarded a split decision over Elizabeth Phillips in a back-and-forth women’s bout that was the UFC debut of both fighters.
Also, lightweight Jason Saggo knocked out Josh Shockley with three seconds remaining in the first round of a lightweight bout.
Michinori Tanaka and Yves Jabouin won decisions, and welterweight Kiichi Kunimoto submitted Daniel Sarafin in the first round.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at email@example.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.