Big things come in small packages, and Saturday will prove no different when two of the best 125lb fighters on the planet step in the world famous octagon as UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson (19-2-1) defends his title against the ruthless Russian, Ali Bagautinov (13-2). Also on tap are welterweights Rory Mcdonald (16-2) vs Tyron Woodley (13-2), light heavyweights Ryan Bader (16-4) vs Rafael “Feijão” Calvacante (12-4), heavyweights Andrei Arlovski (21-10) vs Brendan Schaub (10-3), and light heavyweights Ryan Jimmo (19-3) vs Ovince St. Preux (15-5).
UFC 175 begins its’ night with Ryan Jimmo, who is famous for his :07 KO in his UFC debut against Anthony Perosh back in July, 2012. His record tying KO not only got him Knock Out of the Night honors, but Sportscenter Top 10 honors as well. Since then, Jimmo has gone 2-2 in the Octagon after defeating Igor Pokrajac and most recently Sean O’Connell and coming up short against James Te-Huna and Jimmy Manuwa. Jimmo is looking to climb up the ranks of the light heavyweight division by defeating Ovince St. Preux, who is 3-0 inside the Octagon. In St. Preux’s UFC debut, he came away with a technical decision after his fight with Gian Villante was cut short in the 3rd round after St. Preux accidentally poked Villante in the eye. However, in his next two fights, St. Preux finished his opponents, as he KO’ed Cody Donovan and put Nikita Krylov to sleep with a Von Flue Choke that earned him Performance of the Night honors.
In the second fight of the night, UFC original and fan favorite Anrei Arlovski is making his way back to the Octagon for the first time since 2008. The former UFC Heavyweight Champion earned his way back into the UFC after winning 6 of his last 8 (one loss, one no contest), and he’s looking to prove to the fans and his critics that he isn’t done in the sport. Many remember his epic battles with Tim Sylvia and his :15 KO of Paul Buentello, but that was long ago. Now he’s is looking to make new memories in his second shot in the UFC starting with the slugger Brendan Schaub. Schaub is making his tenth trip to the Octagon is looking to add Arlovski on his list of victims. On his list of victims is a who’s who of fighters: Chase Gormley, Chris Tuchscherer, Gabriel Gonzago, Mirko Cro Cop, Lavar Johnson, and Matt Mitrione. Not only is Schaub a heavy handed guy who can end the fight with once punch, he can also submit his opponent as he’s a brown belt under Rener Gracie.
The next fight features The Ultimate Fighter season 8 champion, Ryan Bader, who was once considered a threat to the light heavyweight crown until being stopped by current champion Jon Jones. After a streak of bad luck, Bader is looking to get back to being the threat he once was. The Arizona State 2x all-american wrestler and 3x Pac-10 wrestling champion is coming off a unanimous decision victory against Anthony Perosh and is looking to build a winning streak by stopping Rafael “Feijão” Calvacante, who has never gone to a decision in his career. Every fight ends with him sleeping, or his opponent sleeping. The UFC is giving the fans a fight that probably won’t leave the first round as both fighters have a combined 22 stoppages. Don’t blink, because you might miss it.
The co-main even of the evening has title implications. Even though Dana White has declared that the winner of Matt Brown and Robbie Lawler gets the first shot at Johny Hendrick’s welterweight title, anything can happen with a dominating victory. Rory McDonald is known for dominating victories has he’s dominated guys like Nate Diaz, Mike Pyle, Che Mills, BJ Penn, Jake Ellenberger, and most recently Demian Maia. Rory is looking to capture the title that his training partner Georges St-Pierre once held, and in order to bring that title back to the Tristar Gym, he’ll first have to get past Tyron Woodley. Woodley is coming off a victory against welterweight killer Carlos Condit due to Condit getting injured in the fight. However, before the injury, Woodley was out working Condit the entire first round by executing takedowns and out striking the elite striker. Before the Condit fight, Woodley stopped the one time welterweight contender Josh Koscheck with punches. Whoever wins this fight could be in line. All it takes is a convincing win and a less than stellar performance of the winner between Matt Brown and Robbie Lawler.
In the main event of the night, we go to my favorite division in the UFC, the flyweight division. The fastest man in MMA and one of the pound-for-pound best fighters in the world, Demetrious Johnson is putting his title on the line. Johnson has never tasted defeat in the division. He’s gone through every other flyweight put in front of him. Joseph Benavidez twice, John Moraga, John Dodson, and Ian McCall have all fallen victim to Johnson. But now he has to deal with one of the Russian Invaders. Along with Rustam Khabilov and Khabib Nurmagomedov, Ali Baguatinov has been going through his opponents in convincing fashion ever since he stepped foot in the UFC Octagon. Riding an 11 win streak, Ali is ready to bring UFC gold to the motherland. He’s already gone through flyweights Marcos Vinicius, Tim Elliot, and John Lineker while in the UFC, but now he faces the biggest test in his career as he takes on the man they call Mighty Mouse.