UFC 174 could very well turn out to be the card of the year. The scene is set for some great stories to unfold. A former champ comes back against one of the heavyweight middlemen trying to crawl his way up the ladder. Two hungry young Welterweight contenders fight in a clash of styles on their way to a potential face off with the newly crowned king of the reformed division. A champion on his way to greatness faces a hungry young challenger with the power to knock him off the top.
Andrei Arlovski vs Brendan Schaub
Heavyweights with questionable chins collide in a pivotal fight for both men. Former kingpin Arlovski took a 6 year hiatus from the UFC, fighting on the regional circuits with mixed success. The Pitbull was out-striking the legendary Fedor until he got caught with a powerful overhand right that ended his night early. Schaub is riding a two fight win streak including a submission win over Matt Mitrione. Both men have been accused of having suspect chins but Arlovski survived three rounds with Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. This should be enough to put those rumours to rest!
Both men are highly capable on the ground but expect to see a clinch heavy fight Andrei fights off Schaub’s take down attempts.
Rory MacDonald vs Tyron Woodley
This is an interesting clash of styles. MacDonald likes to control the pace and fight his own fight, Tyron is powerful and explosive having many finishes on his record. This fight has big title implications, with both men looking to win impressively to try and bypass the winner of the Lawler/Brown fight for a title shot.
Expect Woodley to push the pace forward and keep Rory on the back foot as Macdonald tries to set up the takedown, which won’t be easy against the former division 1 wrestler. I see MacDonald using his intuitive counter boxing style on the back foot as Tyron power forward looking for that one punch finish.
Demetrious Johnson vs Ali Bagautinov
Johnson is on a streak that makes him look untouchable. Many predict that the champion will keep the title as long as he wants it. However, many thought the same about Renan Barao. Ali is a dangerous fighter with one punch knockout power and a strong ground game. This is a fantastic match up that is being mostly overlooked. Ali has a real chance of upsetting the champion with his explosive punches that have left many men on the canvas. However Johnson is outstanding at every facet of the game. His hand speed with boxing combinations mixed with his versatile takedowns will ask many questions of the challenger.
However Ali has looked tired in the later rounds of previous contests which could be the deciding factor in this fight against Demetrious who has a seemingly infinite levels of cardio.
Author: Dwayne Crowley