UFC 174 fight card primer: Main card

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Bloody Elbow presents its fight primer coverage for UFC 174: Johnson vs. Bagautinov. Here, we look at the main card, co-headlined by Rory MacDonald against Tyron Woodley.

UFC 174 is the promotion's first trip to Vancouver since 2011 also sees Demetrious Johnson make his first flyweight title defense on a PPV main event. Johnson, who has won all 3 of his title defenses, faces Ali Bagautinov, who is 3-0 in the UFC. It should be a great fight featuring one of the sport's best pound-for-pound fighters.

Before we get to the main event we'll have a glance at the rest of the main card, which may not be filled with "star power", but has plenty to offer in terms of competitive matchmaking. The UFC 174 PPV broadcast starts at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT, with prelims on FX (NOT Fox Sports 1) at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT.

Rory MacDonald (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) vs. Tyron Woodley (13-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC)- Welterweights

BC's own Rory MacDonald has come under scrutiny for less-than-exciting performances, but he silenced some critics with a FOTN performance and a big win against Demian Maia at UFC 170. This came after a shock loss to Robbie Lawler which saw him knocked down in the 3rd round. MacDonald remains one of the brightest talents in the sport, and a win could put him no more than 1 win away from a title shot.

Woodley's ascension to the top of the loaded welterweight division has coincided with his increased finishing rate. He clattered Jay Hieron in his UFC debut, then following a somewhat controversial loss to Jake Shields, uncorked a wicked knockout of Josh Koscheck at UFC 167. In the co-main event of UFC 171, Woodley dominated Carlos Condit in the opening round and then won via knee injury TKO, which was confirmed after Woodley felled him with a leg kick. His stellar wrestling skills make him the biggest takedown threat MacDonald has faced and his developing KO power makes him a feared striker, as well.

Ryan Bader (16-4 MMA, 9-4 UFC) vs. Rafael Cavalcante (12-4, 1 NC MMA; 1-1 UFC) - Light Heavyweights

Bader has been stuck between contender status and gatekeeper for quite some time, and it looks like he's nearing towards the latter. A brutal KO loss to Lyoto Machida was his first ever loss by strikes, but he made amends quickly with a submission win over Vladimir Matyushenko. That set him up for a big showdown with Glover Teixeira, where he had Teixeira hurt with punches but ended up getting knocked out again. A whipping of Anthony Perosh has him at 2-2 in his past 4, and he really needs this fight to stay relevant in the top 10.

"Feijao" had a really poor UFC debut against Thiago Silva, looking out-of-shape and ultimately gassing out within a few minutes before Silva finished him via TKO. He looked nothing like the former Strikeforce champ who had stopped King Mo and dropped Dan Henderson. Cavalcante ripped up Igor Pokrajac in his 2nd UFC fight and forced a rare tapout to strikes. None of Feijao's fights has gone the distance, and there's not much reason to believe that changes now.

Andrei Arlovski (21-10, 1 NC MMA; 10-4 UFC) vs. Brendan Schaub (10-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) - Heavyweights

Yes, Andrei Arlovski is in the UFC in 2014. Don't you love it? After leaving the UFC in 2008, he won two straight fights before a brutal 0-4 run that famously included Fedor's KO punch right as Arlovski attempted a flying knee. Since ending the losing streak, the former heavyweight champ has gone unbeaten in 7 of his last 8, with the sole defeat coming against Anthony Johnson by decision. The UFC has brought him back to the fold on a good run of form, and with his striking still dangerous and his takedown defense still highly regarded, maybe a late career resurgence could be in store for "The Pitbull".

Schaub had a rough go of it in late 2011 and early 2012 when he suffered back-to-back KOs to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Ben Rothwell, but he's picked up the winning form again recently. The TUF 10 runner-up won a rather drab decision over Lavar Johnson but then surprisingly submitted Matt Mitrione unconscious at UFC 165. Yes, his chin is a big question mark, but he's shown KO capabilities which he may have to put to use to win this fight.

Ryan Jimmo (19-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) vs. Ovince St. Preux (15-5 MMA, 3-0 UFC) - Light Heavyweights

Jimmo is a former MFC champion whose reputation for unexciting fights hasn't really transferred into the UFC. He flattened Anthony Perosh in 7 seconds and is coming off a KO of Sean O'Connell in April. Believe it or not, except for his injury TKO to Jimi Manuwa, Jimmo has dropped 4 of his 5 UFC opponents. All of that said, he's not won consecutive fights in his UFC tenure, so this is his 3rd chance at a winning streak.

St. Preux is yet to lose inside the Octagon, and his last two wins have come in the 1st round. He KO'd Cody Donovan in Boston last August and then submitted Nikita Krylov with the seldom-seen "Von Flue" choke, named after the one and only Jason Von Flue. "OSP" hasn't really faced the cream of the crop in the UFC, especially considering he fought Gegard Mousasi in Strikeforce, so consider Jimmo one of his toughest tests to date.

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