Welcome back to the world’s greatest collection of MMA picks, predictions, and prognostications! With Leather proudly brings to you the Staff Predictions for UFC 174 – Johnson versus Bagautinov. If you would like more information about the fighters, check out the official UFC 174 page. Before we get into the picks, here’s the rundown of the people guessing: from the terrible state of Alabama, a capo in the Dagestani Knucklegame Cartel, Jessica “Lobster Leg Mobster Kick TKO” Hudnall. Hailing from Florida, but not the weirdo meth parts of the state (that’s a thing?), Ashley “BURNSY” Burns! From Milwaukee but also San Diego, the fightingest prognosticator (Until I get a few bourbons in me, then WATCH OUT, GRANDMA), Danny “Boy” Downes! And from the overpriced streets of San Francisco, it’s Vince “Mama’s Meatball Recipe” Mancini!
IMPORTANT STANDINGS OF NOTE
Jessica: 118-62-2 (65%)
Burnsy: 118-61-3 (65%)
Vince: 57-23-1 (70%)
Danny: 87-39-1 (69%)
Eric: 32-20-1 (60%)
Ghost: 6-7 (46%) I don’t think he’s coming back to us :(
Lightweight – Jason Saggo vs Josh Shockley
Jessica: Shockley’s profile picture on the UFC site makes him look like a giant goober. He probably is a giant goober, so I’m taking Saggo to submit him in the second round.
Danny: The first fight of the night is between two UFC rookies. Both have grappling ability, but not much to show on the feet. Shockley has wins over tougher competition and looks like someone from a Guy Ritchie movie. He wins by decision.
Vince: Haha, “Saggo.” Not knowing anything about either of these guys, I’ll take Shockley via not being named after your mom.
Burnsy: This isn’t a prediction as much as it’s a prayer. Please, Saggo. Please beat the white guy covered in tribal tats with dreads. Please.
Bantamweight – Roland “Stunning” Delorme vs Michinori Tanaka
Jessica: I don’t know what it is, because despite all the evidence pointing towards Delorme probably being the much better fighter, something in my mind-brain is telling me to pick Tanaka. It could be that I still hold a grudge against Roland for tapping out Nick Denis a couple years back, or maybe my mind-brain is worthless because I’m not good at picking fights. Whatever the case is, I’ve got Tanaka winning by decision. Please try not to make me look too stupid, Tanaka.
Danny: This will be another grappling heavy fight. Even though they have a similar amount of fights, Delorme has far more experience (didn’t that sound super deep?). He’s competed at a higher level and should be able to stop Tanaka from bringing him to the ground. The Canadian takes the decision victory.
Vince: All of Tanaka’s wins have come by decision or submission, and Delorme has never lost by submission. He should also have a significant reach advantage, though to be fair, they both have bitchin hair cuts. Delorme.
Burnsy: Tanaka’s making his UFC debut, so I’ll take the experienced Delorme to bounce back from his loss.
Lightweight – “Ragin'” Kajan Johnson vs Tae Hyun “Macho” Bang
Jessica: Johnson has one of the most laughable tattoos in the world of MMA, which is saying a lot. Also, how great is it that Tae Hyun’s last name is BANG and he knocks dudes out? That’s good stuff. Bang wins by third round KO.
Danny: A veteran of the latest season of TUF Nations, “Ragin” Kajan Johnson will most be remembered for getting his jaw broken in three places by Chad Laprise. On the bright side, his chest tattoo could get him a date with the rapper Eve one day. Tae Hyun Bang is a Korean fighter that tends to brawl on his feet. Bang has the physical superiority, but I doubt if he’s well versed enough to handle Johnson. Kajan sticks and moves his way to the decision.
Vince: I want “Macho Bang” to be a thing almost as much as I want Shoe Face to be a thing, and Kajan didn’t show me much in his TUF fights. Bang by macho banging.
Burnsy: While Bang’s last win was over a guy named Joo Dong Hwang, I don’t know much about either of these guys, so I’m flipping a coin… Johnson.
Bantamweight – Yves “Tiger” Jabouin vs Mike “The Hulk” Easton
Jessica: Jabouin is probably the third-best Yves in MMA, behind Edwards and Lavinge, which isn’t that great. Easton DOESN’T PLAY, which is good. I’ve got some qualms about picking Easton due to the connection with creepy ass Lloyd Irvin, but I still think Easton nabs a split decision.
Danny: After starting his UFC career with three straight wins, Easton hasn’t lived up to the hype. Sure they may have been decision losses to high level guys, but his inability to finish could be a cause for concern. Easton likes to charge forward and that will be a mistake against Jabouin. We have our fourth straight decision of the night as the Jabouin counter strikes and gives Easton his walking papers.
Vince: I like the Yves Jabouin rhymes with Yves Lavigne, it is pleasing to me. Anyway, both these guys are hit-and-miss fighters from elite camps – Tristar for Jabouin, Alliance for Easton. They look pretty evenly matched on paper, so I’ll take Easton on account of being five years younger.
Burnsy: I don’t know if this is a pink slip fight for the Hulk, since his last three fights ended in losses, but two of those were to the new champ TJ Dillashaw and Raphael Assuncao. The third loss was to Brad Pickett, who is a flyweight now, but that one was a split decision and Fight of the Night at UFC on Fuel 9. Jabouin, on the other hand, lost to Pickett by first round KO at UFC on Fuel 5, so by the transitive property I’m giving this one to Easton.
Women’s Bantamweight – Valerie “Trouble” Letourneau vs Elizabeth Phillips
Jessica: From the tiny bit of research I put into all of my picks, I discovered that both ladies like to throw hands, which should make for a fun fight. I’m going with Letourneau to win by decision because she’s a Canadian fighting in Canada.
Danny: Poor Valerie. Whenever I hear the last name Letourneau, I just think of the person you may know as Mrs. Vili Fualaau. That happened when I was nine years old. Couple that with the Clinton sex scandal and Catholic school, it’s amazing I’m not sexually stunted (whoever says otherwise is a liar).
All events that could double as SVU episodes aside, Letoruneau should take this one. Phillips is a game opponent, but the fact that she’s taking the fight on short notice against a Tristar fighter does not bode well for her. Letourneau wins with a second round TKO.
Vince: Let us not pretend any of us know who these people are. With a bit of research, I see that Phillips is coming off four straight victories, while Vegas has Mary Kay Letourneau (just make that your nickname and save us the time) a slight favorite. I flipped a coin and it came up Phillips.
Burnsy: We have two female fighter debuts, but only one shall win. While I might normally make a comment about how I think Valerie should maybe join me for nachos and a horse-drawn carriage ride, I will be mature and make my pick using the same time-honored scientific process that I’ve always used – which one of these fighters shares the name of an awesome Steve Winwood song?
Welterweight – Daniel Sarafian vs Kiichi “Strasser” Kunimoto
Jessica: Two dudes good on the ground means one thing: Tepid kickboxing match! I’m going with Kunimoto because being nicknamed after Dave Strasser of all people is the weirdest thing. Kunimoto snags a decision victory.
Danny: Sarafian was powerful at middleweight and he should be even stronger at 170. Kunimoto hasn’t been knocked out since his pro debut in 2006. He takes a beating, but he survives to see himself lose a unanimous decision.
Vince: Is it racist to say I’m betting against the Asian? Well then, uh, I’m taking Sarafian because of his superior… uh… hair cut.
Burnsy: Kunimoto’s UFC debut wasn’t exactly the most impressive win, and Sarafian’s 1-2 UFC record isn’t very special either. However, Sarafian has really battled in those two losses (both split decisions) and I think that he’s due to break out.
Light Heavyweight – Ryan “The Real Deal” Jimmo vs Ovince “OSP” St. Preux
Jessica: Jimmo has had two very impressive knockout wins and some rad robot dancing, and a good post-match promo where he told kids to read their science books to continue to be Jimmo-Maniacs. Ovince will always be cool to me for that one stretch where he had like three fights in two months or something crazy. He’s also good at punching dudes hard, using football skills in MMA, and winning a fight in this, the year of our lord 2014 by a VON FLUE CHOKE of all things. It’s a tough call, but I’m down with OSP, yeah you know me. St. Preux takes a decision.
Danny: Look up OSP in Urban Dictionary. Now giggle every time Joe Rogan says it during the broadcast. Despite a karate background, Jimmo wants to slow this right down and spend the majority of it in the clinch. He won’t be able to get his hands on Ovince Saint Preux, though (ugh, it’s so burdensome to type out his full name). Not Ryan Jimmo wins a decision.
Vince: I honestly can’t figure either of these dudes out. Jimmo looks like an absolute world beater one day and totally average the next. OSP seems like an insane natural athlete who gets better every fight, and he’ll have an eight-inch reach advantage. I’m thinking that’s enough of a cushion to offset Jimmo’s striking advantage and he should be able to use his superior strength to eke out a decision. I doubt this will be pretty.
Burnsy: I want to pick against OSP but I know that’s stupid. I’ll take him to win, but I still feel like Jimmo will KO him in the first minute.
Heavyweight – Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski vs Brendan “The Hybrid” Schaub
Jessica: Andrei Arlovski is in the UFC, and P.O.D. and Linkin Park will be playing a concert at the UFC Fan Expo the week of Fourth of July. Is this 2003? Schaub is a dumb dingus, but he does get some cool points for choking out gigantic shithead Matt Mitrione. Despite that, Arlovski has a top-5 MMA dog, so he’s gonna win by second round KO.
Danny: Both of these guys have reputations for having glass jaws. When you look at their recent fights, those accusations don’t really hold up. Schaub may not have lived up to his potential, but he has enough to take care of “The Pitbull.” Schaub should be smart enough to not go toe to toe with the former heavyweight champion and he wins by UD.
Vince: Who did Arlovski beat to get back into the UFC again? Mike Kyle? Who’s not even a heavyweight? Much as I love Arlovski and want it to be 2002 again, and as much as Schaub seems to make a habit of snatching defeat from the arms of victory, it just seems like too much to hope for. Schaub wins by cruel reality.
Burnsy: I know Schaub’s not the best fighter out there, but I keep hoping that he’ll suddenly become a top contender. So he’ll win this cupcake and move on to another cupcake until he somehow ends up in a No. 1 contender fight with Travis Browne for the right to get slaughtered by Cain Velasquez in two years.
Light Heavyweight – Ryan “Darth” Bader vs Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante
Jessica: Bader’s a decent guy, I suppose. He’s got enough of a sense of humor to read mean things people have tweeted about him and not flip out, so he’s got that going for him. However, he has ran face-first into punches a few times in the past, plus there’s that whole “was Tito Ortiz’s only victory in like a five year span” that makes people dismiss him outright. I like Cavalcante mostly because his name can be Americanized (Englishized?) into Ralphie Beans. Unfortunately for Ralphie Beans, he’s been known to getting his lights shut off, and Bader is super good at punching super hard. Bader wins by second round KO.
Danny: I’ve always been confused at Ryan Bader’s fighting style. He increasingly ignores his wrestling ability in favor of wild, sloppy striking exchanges. He looked better in his last fight, but Cavalcante has a betters striking attack and a takedown defense of over 80%. He wins with a second round TKO.
Vince: Feijao is unpredictiable because he has a few huge wins (Pokrajacs, Yoel Romero) and he was even kicking Thiago Silva’s ass until he gassed out. He’s good at hitting dudes real hard, and Bader has had problems with that skill set. But I think the X-factor here is going to be the fact that I hate Arizona and everyone in it. Feijao by not being a ‘Zonie.
Burnsy: Bader’s another guy who I’d like to see win, but this has less to do with what I now worry is being perceived as my preference for white fighters, and more because I really want some more excitement in the heavyweight ranks. Bader wins and gets Schaub next so they can somehow both let me down.
Welterweight – Rory “Ares” MacDonald vs Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley
Jessica: One dude is a weirdo hipster that comes off at best as autistic, at worst as a serial killer, while the other dude is a family man with an annoying mom. MMA logic dictates that we can’t have nice things, so MacDonald would dominate the fight, probably trying his goofus Ali Shuffle again. However, I say nuts to MMA logic (Just look at my prediction record for evidence of that), Woodley is going to punch MacDonald hecka hard and get a second round KO.
Danny: Rory MacDonald is one of those fighters that fans love to hate. He looks like he could be a serial killer, he did absolutely nothing in that atrocious fight against Jake Ellenberger last July and he loves to talk about fashion. If there’s one thing MMA fans hate, it’s fashion (yes, even Affliction t-shirts). Well, be prepared to get even angrier when he earns a welterweight title shot. Rory has the takedown defense and the sense of range to take the decision.
Vince: MacDonald probably has a more well-rounded game and is more “technical,” but Woodley has the advantage of being a giant jacked black guy who’s really fast and hits really hard. Still, MacDonald’s only two losses have come by way of Carlos Condit and Robbie Lawler, and I don’t think Woodley is quite as good as those guys. “Ares” should be able to mix it up well enough not to get KO’d. Btw, “Ares” is a hilarious nickname for a guy who looks like Rory MacDonald. It’s like your company’s IT guy wanting everyone to call him the Axe Murderer.
Burnsy: I like Woodley more. A lot more. But I also know that MacDonald is way more experienced in the UFC and has gotten to where he is by being smarter and more technical than his opponents. I want Woodley to win, but I still think MacDonald will get the Unanimous Decision.
Flyweight Title – Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson vs Ali “Puncher King” Bagautinov
Jessica: This is a very tough fight for me to pick because I really like both of these dudes a lot. Johnson is all tiny and ultra-quick and his head looks like The Yellow Bastard’s. Bagautinov is the tiniest Dagestani in the world and one time he flexed like Mr. Azerbaijan while caught in a submission. I really want to pick Johnson to win this, since he’s way too fast, but I’m legally prohibited from picking against the Dagestani Knucklegame Cartel. Ali Baga will manage to sambo Johnson to the mat and drop some ground and pound in the fourth for the TKO win and the Big Gold Belt.
Danny: Demetrious Johnson has looked vulnerable at times, but I don’t see how Bagautinov takes advantage of it. Mighty Mouse has the advantage in both the striking and grappling departments. No one has been able to figure out Johnson’s timing yet, and neither will Bagautinov. Johnson wears him down and then locks in a fourth round guillotine.
Vince: There’s a reason Bagautinov is a huge underdog – no one has found a chink in Mighty Mouse’s armor. Bagautinov has an all-around solid game and a pleasingly polysyllabic name, but I don’t see him being that chink finder. Mighty Mouse gets that cheese in round 3.
Burnsy: I’d love to see another UFC belt change hands but Johnson is just so dominant. I think Puncher King is pretty great, too, but I need a reason to pick against the champ, and he’s not giving me one.