Vancouver, BC, Canada (4E Sports) – Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson successfully defended his title for the fourth time, beating Ali Bagautinov via five-round unanimous decision at UFC 174 at Rogers Arena.
Johnson (20-2-1) got the nod of all three judges, 50-45, to keep the title in the 125-pound division before 13,506 spectators.
“I’m the king,” Johnson said. “I’ll stay the king as long as I can. I’m going to keep knocking them down.”
Bagautinov (13-3) showed determination during the fight but he had simply no answers for Johnson. Final cageside stats had Johnson landing 164 strikes to Bagautinov’s 66.
Prior to the final round, he smiled and waved his arms to the crowd, but the gesture didn’t encourage much support, as the arena started to empty before the fight was over.
Johnson was flat-out better in every area of the fight. He chewed up Bagautinov’s lead leg with kicks while avoiding his dangerous right hand. He was even more effective in the clinch, landing knees and elbows as he denied takedowns.
“Ali is tough,” Johnson said. “I hit him with a lot of hard shots — knees and punches. I don’t know how many times my knee hit his jaw. It’s on fire. It was a great fight.”
Fighting out of Kirkland, Washington, Johnson is undefeated since the UFC added the 125-pound division in 2012. He won the inaugural flyweight title in a split decision over Benavidez at UFC 152 in September 2012.
Johnson’s fifth title defense might feature a familiar challenger. John Dodson, who challenged Johnson for the title in January 2013 and lost a unanimous decision, is the consensus top contender in the division.
UFC president Dana White stated earlier in the week that Dodson (16-6), who is coming off a second-round TKO over John Moraga last weekend, likely would be next in line for the title.
“Obviously, it’s up to the UFC,” Johnson said. “[The UFC] does a great job matchmaking. Ali Bagautinov was a guy who came out of Dagestan, Russia and had three wins in a row against top contenders.”