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25th Apr 2015

UFC 186: SportsJOE picks the winners so you don’t have to

One of the least anticipated PPVs ever


UFC 186 might seem like a bit of an anticlimax after the wondrous fights in New Jersey, but there are still some intriguing match ups on the Montreal card.

After the high-octane slugfest that was UFC on Fox 15, our staff records look like this…

“Bourbon” Ben Kiely: 58-32

Darragh “The Quizmaster” Murphy: 55-35

Demetrious Johnson (21-2-1) v Kyoji Horiguchi (15-1)

BK: It’s not quite Dillshaw vs Barao II, but I always enjoy watching Mighty Mouse put on a show. The flyweight king is one of the least popular champions in the promotion, mainly because of his dominance in a division that is notoriously lacking in contenders. However, it’s difficult not to admire a fighter that’s so well-rounded in every facet of the sport.

Horiguchi is one of those rare 125-ers who possesses knockout power, but I think he has been thrown to the wolves here. At just 24-years old and with only four UFC fights under his belt, you get the feeling that his shot came too soon.

I expect Johnson to put on a clinic, take home the victory with relative ease and worsen the record for Japanese fighters in UFC title fights to 0-6.
Johnson via TKO (Round 3)

DM: You have to feel for ‘Mighty Mouse’. He’s one of the best fighters in the world yet nobody wants to see him fight. But personally speaking, he’s one of my favourites to watch.

He’s arguably the most technical competitor in the promotion and rivals Jon Jones for overall well-roundedness and there’s not any real chance that he’s going to be dethroned by a decent, but just that, fighter in Kyoji Horiguchi.

Horiguchi deserves a place in the top 10 but that’t it. He’s got a fantastic record for such a young fighter but I think he will get dominated tonight and fail to get another title shot for at least another two years.

Horiguchi has never been 25 minutes in his career and the last man you want to go 25 minutes with in mixed martial arts is Demetrious Johnson. Easy night’s work for the champ. DJ via submission (Round 2)

UFC On FX: Alves v Kampmann

Quinton Jackson (35-11) v Fabio Maldonado (22-7)

BK: He’s back… woo? While the former lightweight champ has always been an entertainer outside of the cage, his recent form inside it has been somewhat lacklustre. Lest we forget, he left the UFC in 2013 off the back of a three-fight skid.

That being said, it looks like Maldonado has been brought in to lose here. The unranked Brazilian has never beaten a top-level guy, and while 36-year-old Rampage is way past his prime, you’d like to think he’s still got some moments of brilliance left.
Jackson via decision

DM: Rampage would have an easier time punching through the fence than attempting to hurt Maldonado who, for my money, is the toughest man in the sport.

The fact that this is the co-main event makes me sad, yet if it had been scrapped because of the injunction it would also have made me sad. Whatever happens I’m sad so I’m just going to go for the more experienced Jackson. Rampage via decision

UFC 114 Weigh-In

Michael Bisping (25-7) v C.B. Dolloway (15-6)

BK: Despite what the man himself might believe, it doesn’t look like Bisping’s going to get close to a title shot ever again. At 36-years-old, the perpetual choker’s time to thrust himself into the title frame is rapidly running out.

While the thoughts of Dolloway going up against Weidman, Rockhold or Belfort are terrifying, the American has shown noticeable improvements in his recent bouts, particularly during his Performance of the Night decision victory over Francis Carmont in Berlin.

I envisage this one going very similarly to Bisping’s fight against Tim Kennedy. The Doberman’s superior wrestling should trump the Count’s stand up and see him get the nod from the judges.
Dolloway via decision

DM: It’s a tight one, this, and will likely come down to how well Dolloway can dictate the grappling.

For want of a better term, the American has looked in better form lately and could have posed some problems for Lyoto Machida had he not caught that nasty body kick so early.

But the Brit has an awful habit of rebounding from losses with a win and, in fact, his record over the past seven fights looks like this – L-W-L-W-L-W-L. Bisping definitely has the experience advantage and is a better kickboxer.

His wrestling is often underrated because his early training came in the UK but I think he can do enough to punish the shots of Dolloway with knees and short punches. Bisping via decision

UFC Fight Night: Rockhold v Bisping

Shane Campbell (11-2) v John Makdessi (12-3)

BK: They may not be marquee names but this is actually an intriguing match up.

Former Muay Thai world champion Campbell will make his promotional debut against a true UFC stalwart in Makdessi. Campbell showed a lot of potential in his recent TKO win in his last bout at WSOF, but this will be a huge step up in competition.

Makdesi is a solid gatekeeper and will provide the perfect litmus test to see if his compatriot can cut it in the world’s largest MMA promotion. Both fighters should be content to stand and bang and it looks like it could be a case of whoever lands quickest will win.
Makdessi via TKO (Round 2)

DM: This is a massive step-up in competition for Campbell and it’s rare for a UFC debut to come on the main card of a pay-per-view. I think he’ll find himself far too out of his depth against a fighter who has eight fights under his belt with the promotion.

Makdessi won’t just dominate the experience stakes. He could very well break into the top 15 this year and I think he’ll be looking to put on a show against the former WSOF fighter.

With decisive wins over legitimate lightweight threats Daron Cruickshank and Sam Stout, Makdessi will be unlikely to struggle tonight. He’s got heavy hands for a 155lber and the fact that this bout will be contested at a catchweight of 160lbs means that he’ll have more energy against the late stand-in. All Makdessi for me. Makdessi via KO (round one)

Thomas Almeida (17-0) v Yves Jabouin (20-9)

BK: All you have to do is look at Almeida’s record to see that he’s an absolute brute inside the cage. Of his 17 wins, 16 have been finishes, whereas Jabouin has been finished seven times in his professional career.

23-year-old Almeida has the potential to do some damage in the bantamweight division, and I just can’t see Jabouin causing him any problems in Montreal. He should come out the other side of the event with his pristine record still intact.
Almeida via submission (Round 2)

DM: Almeida is scary. Jabouin is past it. The Brazilian has only been to the judges once and, although that happened in his UFC debut, we think the 23-year-old may have been suffering with some nerves during that fight .

Now that Almeida has his feet under him with the UFC, expect him to come out all guns blazing and get back onto his knockout streak. We’re expecting big things from Almeida and don’t think he’ll let us down in Montreal. Almeida via KO (round one)

Yves Jabouin

Aisling Daly (15-5) v Randa Markos (4-2)

BK: In the young UFC strawweight division, there is a dearth of contenders. There was a lot of expectation that Scotland’s Joanne Calderwood might emerge as the definitive number one challenger but her shock loss to Maryna Moroz has ruled her out of the running at the moment.

Paige VanZant looked phenomenal in her dominant victory over veteran Felice Herrig in New Jersey, but at 21 years-old, she is unlikely to be rushed into a title shot.

This has left newly crowned 115lb queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk without any prospective challengers and perhaps Ireland’s Aisling Daly could fill that large contender-shaped void by scoring her second consecutive victory in the UFC.

It won’t be easy though. Markos is a well-rounded fighter and she was perhaps unlucky to be on the losing side of a closely fought split decision against Jessica Penne in her last trip to the Octagon.

However, Daly is a veteran of the sport and possesses a lot of skills that some of the less experienced 115-ers such as Markos simply do not have in their arsenal. Her experience could see her claim the win and would help her case for getting the next crack at JJ’s belt.
Daly via submission (Round 2)

DM: You’ll do well to find me picking against a John Kavanagh fighter and this fight is no exception.

Aisling Daly is a 2/1 underdog for this fight which comes as something of a surprise considering the fact that she needed less than five minutes to see off Alex Chambers in December.

Markos is very inexperienced at this moment in time and we think this fight has come too early for the Canadian.

You’d have expected Daly to be supremely prepared considering her initial opponent Claudia Gadelha was much more of a threat than Markos.

With the women’s strawweight division still in its infancy in the UFC, it’s hard to fully appreciate the rankings but Aisling is a lot better than her 10th place would lead you to believe and she’s one of the best submission artists in the weight class. Daly via submission (Round two)

aisling daly