Demetrious Johnson defends flyweight belt at UFC 174

Elias Cepeda
Demetrious Johnson [L] overcame a stiff challenge in Ali Bagautinov [R] at UFC 174 (AP)

Demetrious Johnson and Ali Bagautinov battled in a roving phone booth for nearly all of their five flyweight world championship rounds Saturday night at UFC 174, with close, hard-fought clinch work, scrambles and big swings bursting out in spurts. By fight's end, however, the champion Johnson prevailed once more and won a unanimous decision.

Scores were  50-45, all-around, for "Mighty Mouse." The challenger proved more than game, however, taking Johnson down multiple times and never backing down from striking exchanges.

Each time Bagautinov took Johnson down, however, the champ was able to immediately to regain his footing and continue the fight on his terms. On the feet, the champion scored over and again with knees to the head from the Thai plum clinch, while Bagautinov gamely fought back with punches to the body and over the top to the head.

In the fourth round it briefly appeared as though the Dagestani fighter may break through when he connected with a big punch to Johnson's head that staggered the defending champ. Johnson did not pause for long, however, and quickly returned fire with his own high kick. 

Bagautinov ended the round by getting behind Johnson, taking him to the mat and taking the champion's back. He ran out of time to work on the champ, however, as the horn sounded. In the fifth, Johnson sealed another competitive round up in his favor by being the more active and connecting striker.

The win is Johnson's sixth straight and the loss snapped an eleven fight win streak for Bagautinov. 

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