Saturday night’s UFC 174 – which saw flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson deliver a sound drubbing to challenger Ali Bagautinov for five whole rounds – was very educational for those of us watching. For instance, who knew that a former UFC champ who’d been away from the Octagon for over six years was going to suck? Here then are some important lessons learned from watching UFC 174.
1. Andrei Arlovski got old. Which is, uh, somewhat expected for a human being constrained by the natural course of time and age. Yes, he’s still popular – did you hear how the crowd popped for his appearance? But Arlovski has been around for a long time and wears that mileage like a discarded car tire around his neck, so when he squared off against Brendan Schaub (who isn’t exactly Mr. Excitement himself), we got to witness some serious lackluster-ness go down in the cage.
The lesson: The UFC needs to stop bringing back these old veterans if they’re going to suck, or at least stop putting them on the main card.
2. Demetrious Johnson needs to finish fights. I mean, duh, right? Everyone should strive to finish fights. But “Mighty Mouse” really, REALLY needs to finish them. He’s already established his dominance in the division, and already proven that he has the skills to be considered one of the pound-for-pound best. However, since his sudden and violent dispatching of Joe Benavidez, he’s teetering on the cusp of superstardom, and to push him over the edge and into the pantheon of Great and Exciting Fighters, he must keep cutting that swath of destruction. Sure, he clobbered Bagautinov, but when fans in the arena start heading to the exits before the fifth round even begins…
The lesson: Nothing kills momentum like becoming a Jon Fitch. Johnson, please don’t become a Jon Fitch.
3. You can’t tell Ovince St. Preux that your arm is broken. He will just yank it.
The lesson: OSP is a mean bastard.
4. Rory MacDonald is a badass when he wants to be. He made Tyron Woodley look like he belonged back on Strikeforce Challengers cards, facing scrubs. MacDonald even out-wrestled Woodley, which is a feat unto itself. Yikes.
The lesson: It might be time to reconsider MacDonald’s title prospects.
5. Ryan Bader is also a badass when he wants to be. No, the TUF winner will never get within spitting distance of the belt, but as he showed against Rafael Cavalcante, there are times when his engine is firing on all cylinders and he does everything right.
The lesson: Maybe Bader doesn’t completely suck.
Front-Page Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin