The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to Montreal, Quebec, Canada for the first time in over two years on Saturday, April 25, with flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson headlining the UFC 186 card against challenger Kyoji Horiguchi.
A winner of seven straight and undefeated at 125 pounds, Johnson (21-2-1, 9-1-1 UFC) has evolved into one of MMA's top pound-for-pound fighters. Coming off an impressive victory at UFC 178, Johnson continues to look better with every passing performance. Relying on his already strong wrestling base, Johnson continues to add elements of kickboxing and Jiu Jitsu to his arsenal, cementing his dominant reign atop the flyweight ladder.
Horiguchi (15-1, 4-0 UFC), who hails from Tokyo, Japan, comes from a Karate background, and has looked phenomenal inside the Octagon. Having most recently topped Louis Gaudinot at UFC 182, Horiguchi fights light on his feet, dancing in an out of the pocket while unload a bevvy of kicks. He also has knockout power in his hands.
A rising prospect, Horiguchi continues to improve his wrestling and ground game. But Johnson has proven that he's a cut above the flyweight pack.
Look for Johnson to earn the second-round submission.
Co-main event: Michael Bisping vs. C.B. Dollaway
One of the UFC's more popular athletes, middleweight Michael Bisping (25-7, 15-7 UFC) has competed with many of the best fighters in mixed martial arts. A winner of The Ultimate Fighter season three, Bisping, who is currently ranked tenth in the promotional standings, tends to fight on his feet while evading takedowns. Bisping's strength lies in his kickboxing game, where he's able to mix kicks in with his punching combinations.
Dollaway (15-6, 9-6 UFC), who is also a TUF alumnus, is a smothering wrestler whose standup game has started to catch up with his All-American level grappling.
With both Bisping and Dollaway coming off of losses, this fight will very likely turn into brawl. An after three rounds, look for Bisping to earn the unanimous decision.
Fabio Maldonado vs. Steve Bosse
Originally slated to face former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Maldonado (22-7, 5-4 UFC) is primarily a boxer who has developed a reputation for delivering violent exchanges while absorbing punishment from opponents. He's an exciting fighter whose strength can also be his undoing.
Bosse (10-1, 0-0 UFC), a former enforcer on the ice, steps in on short notice to make his UFC debut. And while Bosse has scored knockouts in almost all of his professional MMA bouts to date, the move up to the UFC will bring a higher level of competition than he's used to facing.
Maldonado earns the TKO in the second round.
John Makdessi vs. Shane Campbell
A likely candidate for Fight of the Night, this battle of Canadian lightweights features a pair of flashy strikers who are constantly in search of the knockout.
Sidelined for the better part of a year, Quebec's own Makdessi (12-3, 5-3 UFC) strings together exciting kicking combinations, before ensuing in the clinch.
Campbell (11-2, 0-0 UFC), who will enter the Octagon for the first time, also has a prevalence for striking, finishing his last three opponents with punches.
And while Makdessi and Campbell both hunt for the knockout, their similar styles will nullify the finish. Makdessi takes the bout by unanimous decision.
Thomas Almeida vs. Yves Jabouin
A rising prospect in the bantamweight division, Almeida (17-0, 1-0 UFC) comes from Brazil's legendary Chute Boxe gym. At just 23 years old, Almeida has already pieced together a solid resume, but Jabouin represents a step up in competition.
A veteran of both the UFC and WEC, Jabouin (20-9, 5-3 UFC) fights out of Montreal's Tristar gym, where head trainer Firas Zahabi also employs the Chute Boxe method that combines jabs and takedowns.
And while Jabouin owns a serious experience edge in this matchup, look for Almeida to make a statement, earning a third round TKO.