June 15, 2014 - 1:02 PM
VANCOUVER -- Demetrious (Mighty Mouse) Johnson defeated Ali (Puncher) Bagautinov by unanimous decision at UFC 174 on Saturday night to retain his flyweight title.
Johnson put on a clinical display of speed against the challenger, who scored a couple of takedowns but was never really a threat at Rogers Arena.
The bout marked the first time the flyweight division has headlined a UFC pay-per view card and was scored 50-45 by all three judges.
In the co-main event, Canadian welterweight Rory (Ares) MacDonald defeated Tyron (The Chosen One) Woodley in an impressive unanimous decision in the most exciting bout of the night.
Johnson almost connected with a spinning kick with under a minute to go in the fifth and final round but Bagautinov was able to avoid the blow to send the bout to the scorecards.
The five-foot-three Johnson (20-2-1, 8-1-1) won the UFC's inaugural flyweight title back in 2012 and has now successfully defended the 125-pound belt four times.
The 27-year-old who fights out of Parkland, Wash., said the five-foot-four Bagautinov (13-3, 3-1) would pose a unique challenge because the 29-year-old Russian specializes in Sambo fighting, a form of mixed martial arts that he has never faced.
But in the end, Baugatinov was overmatched and at times just seemed happy to be in the ring with Johnson, even hugging his opponent before the start of the fifth round.
MacDonald, who came into the fight as the No. 2 contender in the 170-division, controlled Woodley from the middle of the first round on, using his superior reach to keep the two-time All-American wrestler at bay, while also connecting with both kicks and punches.
All three judges scored the fight 30-27 for MacDonald.
The 24-year-old MacDonald (17-2, 8-2) took Woodley down two minutes into the third and final round and relentlessly pounded the No. 3-ranked welterweight until the bell sounded.
MacDonald's team rushed into the octagon to congratulate their fighter as the crowd roared in approval.
Born in Quesnel, MacDonald started his training with David Lea and his fight team Toshido Fighting Arts Academy out of Kelowna. He's now fighting out of Montreal's Tristar Gym and was mentored by Georges St-Pierre before the former champion stepped away from the sport late last year.
The soft-spoken MacDonald lost to Robbie Lawler in a split decision at November's UFC 167, but rebounded to take a unanimous decision against Demian Maia at UFC 170 in February.
The 32-year-old Woodley (13-3, 3-2), who scored a technical knockout of Carlos Condit at UFC 171 in March, said before the fight he expected the crowd to be split, but he was sorely mistaken as the Canadian support found its way firmly behind MacDonald from the start, including chants of "Let's go Rory" throughout the tilt.
Saturday marked the UFC's first foray into Vancouver since UFC 131 back in June 2011. There were large pockets of empty seats in the arena's upper level on this night and the crowd didn't really get into the action until MacDonald and Woodley entered the octagon.
Notes: Former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow was in attendance. The crowd booed the former NFLer when he was shown on the big screens perched around Rogers Arena.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2014