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UFC 174: Demetrious Johnson vs. Ali Bagautinov preview

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According to a June 13 report from UFC.com, Demetrious Johnson made weight for his 125-pound title fight against Ali Bagautinov. The bout, which is set for June 14 at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, headlines UFC 174. Johnson (19-2-1) heads into the fight as a heavy favorite, being that he hasn't lost in over two years. He has been the man at flyweight, having gone undefeated in his last six appearances.

However, the 29-year-old Bagautinov is one of the fastest-rising young stars in the division. While he may not yet be a household name among UFC fight fans, a win over Johnson would absolutely put him over the top. Bagautinov has won three in a row since joining the UFC last year, including impressive wins over John Lineker and Tim Elliot. Bagautinov should absolutely give Johnson a run for his money, but chances are "Mighty Mouse" retains his belt.

Johnson is widely considered to be the fastest man in the UFC, and perhaps the purest athlete. Does that mean he'll beat Bagautinov, a hard-hitting power puncher? Not necesarily. But his speed will absolutely be difficult to deal with. John Dodson is likely to fight the winner of the Johnson vs. Bagautinov clash.

In the UFC co-main, Rory MacDonald can earn a welterweight title shot by defeating Tyron Woodley. It has been a real rollercoaster ride for MacDonald, who was once the UFC's hottest young prospect. He fell out of favor with UFC brass following mediocre performances against B.J. Penn and Jake Ellenberger, but he's now back on the right path. MacDonald looked crisp against Robbie Lawler at UFC 167, and was also on the mark against Demian Maia at UFC 170.

Now he's on the cusp of a UFC title shot, but first he'll need to get past Woodley. If MacDonald beats Woodley, UFC President Dana White says he'll receive the opportunity to fight Johny Hendricks later this year, perhaps on the UFC's year-end card in December. Woodley should be a tough test, as he won three of four since joining the UFC from Strikeforce. Elsewhere on the UFC 174 card, Andrei Arlovski returns to the UFC for the first time since 2008.

Arlovski, 35, will take on Brendan Schaub, in a fight to determine who deserves to be considered in the UFC's top 10 at heavyweight. Both men are riding two-fight win streaks. The Arlovski vs. Schaub fight is slated for bout No. 2 on the UFC 174 main card. In other action, Ryan Bader battles Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante in light heavyweight action. Bader has won two of three, including a win over Anthony Perosh.

The UFC 174 pay-per-view main card opens with a clash between Ryan Jimmo (204.5) and Ovince Saint Preux (205.5). Four UFC 174 preliminary card bouts air on Fox Sports 1, including Kiichi Kunimoto (170) VS Daniel Sarafian (171). Elsewhere, Valerie Letourneau (134.5) battles Elizabeth Phillips (135) in women's bantamweight action. Both ladies will be making their UFC debut.

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