By the Numbers
On paper, flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson and challenger Ali Bagautinov are fairly evenly matched with a slight advantage in most areas going to Johnson. Some of this can be attributed to the additional 7 fights of experience as a pro that Johnson brings to the match, and some of this can be attributed to the fact that Bagautinov was able to quickly finish most of his opponents in Russia. His opponent is not so easy to knockout, though, and this may be Bagautnov's first adventure into championship rounds. Johnson, with his 42% decision win rate, has gone through five rounds numerous times while still looking fresh at the end.
What's at Stake
The UFC Flyweight Championship strap. For Mighty Mouse, a win means clearing out another top name in the division. Having already beaten Ian McCall, Joseph Benavidez twice, and the Johns Dodson and Moraga, a win over Bagautinov clears out the last of the top five contenders to his belt. For Bagautinov, he becomes the champion and continues one of the longest winning streaks in the flyweight division (12).
Road to Victory
Well, we have a guy nicknamed Mighty Mouse fighting a guy nicknamed Puncher. This is going to be a striking battle, and it looks like it will be a question of speed versus power. Mighty Mouse is the quicker of the two and utilizes some fantastic footwork to keep opponents guessing and create angles for quick, punishing combinations. Look for Bagautinov, arguably the stronger of the two, to pick his shots and try to drop the resilient champion. Mighty Mouse may also look for a knockout, but this is another one that is better suited for him to take to the decision.