UFC 186 features two championship titles on the line as well as several other intriguing matchups. Let’s review the UFC odds and determine which fighters will be included in our UFC picks.
Kyoji Horiguchi (15-1, 9 KO’s, 1 Sub) vs. Demetrious Johnson (21-2, 4 KO’s, 8 Subs)
Kyoji Horiguchi is a nasty fighter with plenty of knockout power at 125 pounds as evidenced by his nine KO’s in 15 victories. The former Shooto Bantamweight champ has only one loss on his record and that came at the hands of a much more experienced (at the time) Masakatsu Ueda via majority decision over three years ago. Much has happened since that lone blemish on Horiguchi’s record and the 24-year-old is now the owner of nine consecutive wins of which his last four have come in the UFC.
What else can be said that already hasn’t about the power-packed dynamo known as Demetrious “Might Mouse” Johnson? When Dana White and the UFC created the flyweight division it is as though they had Johnson in mind. At only 5’3” his size disadvantage was too great to overcome against the likes of 135 pound champ Dominick Cruz but at 125 he has been a force of nature.
UFC Pick: The elite class of fighters at 125 pounds is a thin crop which is why the relatively inexperienced Horiguchi has gotten his shot at the UFC flyweight strap. He had stated in the past he would like to have a few more fights under his belt before he goes for the gold but when the opportunity came knocking he happily answered the door. Horiguchi has the power to render anyone in the division senseless and that includes Might Mouse. When the UFC odds are released on this one you may want to put your money on Horiguchi who has the chops to stand toe-to-toe with Johnson and is a capable wrestler in his own right. Horiguchi in an upset.
Rampage Jackson (35-11, 16 KO’s, 7 Subs) vs. Fabio Maldonado (22-7, 14 KO’s, 2 Subs)
Old school returns to the UFC as veteran power punchers Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Fabio Maldonado enter the Octagon as middle age fighters looking for one last championship gasp. If the truth be told both of these men are well past their prime but the fight should be entertaining nonetheless. Maldonado followed three successive losses with three consecutive wins until Stipe Miocic rendered him defenseless in the first round of their match last year. Maldonado rebounded in his last appearance with a TKO of his own over unheralded Hans Stringer.
Rampage has had a love-hate relationship with the UFC but is now back in the fold after a successful three fight stint in Bellator. Jackson KO’ed Joey Beltran and Christian M’Pumbu while winning by unanimous decision over knockout artist Muhammed Lawal.
UFC Pick: A recent common opponent between the two is veteran MMA punching bag with power Joey Beltran. Maldonado gained a split decision in October of ’13 while Jackson sent him to sleep in the opening round of their tango just a month later. While Rampage may not be the terror he once was he is clearly the more pedigreed fighter in this one. Play Rampage Jackson in your UFC 186 picks.
Michael Bisping (25-7, 15 KO’s, 4 Subs) vs. C.B. Dollaway (15-6, 6 KO’s, 3 Subs)
Here we have two middleweights, both 6’2” and both with 76 inch reaches. At 36 years-old Bisping is nearing the end of a good, solid career in MMA but one in which he has been more of a gatekeeper rather than a legitimate upper echelon contender. His opponent on April 25th is C.B. Dollaway who at 31 has several more years to ply his violent trade yet has less experience battling top notch opponents.
UFC Pick: At this point in their careers I believe Dollaway has the edge in this one. Although he got crunched by Lyoto Machida in his last bout via a first round TKO, it must be noted that Bisping is no Machida. Conversely, Bisping has alternated wins and losses over his last seven matches and if the pattern were to continue he would win this one. The pattern will be broken as Dollaway has too much quickness for Bisping to contend with and this could be over sooner than you think. Dollaway should be included in your UFC picks.