UFC 186 Preview – Johnson vs. Horiguchi [UPDATED]

On April 25, 2015, the Ultimate Fighting Championship heads north to the Bell Centre in Montreal for UFC 186. The event was supposed to be co-headlined by a Bantamweight Title rematch between T.J. Dillashaw and Renan Barao, but the champ had to pull out with a rib injury.

In the extant main event, Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson defends his belt against Fyoji Horiguchi, while, in the undercard, former Light Heavyweight champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson returns to the cage to face Fabio Maldonado.

Let’s take a closer look at the bouts.

T.J. Dillashaw vs. Renan Barao


Last May, Dillashaw took the Bantamweight Championship away from Barao when he earned a fifth round win via TKO (head kick and punches). He then defended his title in August with a fifth round KO of Joe Soto at UFC 177. The 29-year-old is 11-2 with five knockouts. His last loss came in a split decision against Raphael Assuncao in 2013.

Barao had won 32 straight fights before falling to Dillashaw. He rebounded from the loss forcing Mitch Gagnon into submission (arm-triangle) in December, earning him a chance to get his belt back. The 28-year-old is 33-2, with 15 wins by submission. He won the title in 2012 in a unanimous decision over Urijah Faber and defended the belt three times before losing his first fight in nine years. Barao is a 2-1 underdog to earn back his title.

Demetrious Johnson vs. Fyoji Horiguchi

Johnson is 21-2-1, career, and has won seven straight matches. He won the inaugural UFC Flyweight Championship with a split decision over Joseph Benavidez in 2012 and has gone on to defend the title five times. In September, he forced Chris Cariaso into submission using a kimura. Back in June, he earned a unanimous decision against Ali Bagautinov. Johnson’s speed and all-round skill make him the class of the Flyweight division.

This will be just the fourth flyweight bout for Horiguchi, who started as a heavier Bantamweight. He is 3-0 in his new weight class thus far and 15-1 overall. He beat Louis Gaudinot (unanimous decision) in January in his last fight. Back in September, he scored a first round TKO (punches) over Jon Delos Reyes. Horiguchi has a champions resume, winning Bantamweight titles in Japan before making the jump across the Pacific. He has heavy hands for a smaller fighter, earning nine of his 15 career wins via knockout. Still just 24-years-old, Horiguchi is an up-and-comer who has a lot of big fights ahead of him; but, at this point, he has to be considered a sizable underdog against Johnson (7/2 or more).

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Fabio Maldonado

At the age of 36, Jackson has done it all in MMA. He returns to UFC after winning three Bellator events. He had previously exited the UFC on the heels of three straight losses: Glover Texeira (unanimous decision), Ryan Bader (unanimous decision), and Jon Jones (submission).  He is 35-11 all time and beat Chuck Liddell for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship in 2007.

Maldonado snapped a three-fight losing streak by beating Roger Hollett in May 2013; since then, has won three of four fights. He bounced back from a first round TKO loss against Stipe Miocic in May with a second round TKO victory over Hans Stringer at UFC 179 in October. He is 22-7 all time with 14 knockouts. One year younger than Jackson, and in better recent form, Maldonado is a 4/5 favorite.

(Photo credit: Ultimate Fighting Championship (http://www.sherdog.com/) [CC BY-SA 1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)

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