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UFC 186 predictions, preview, and analysis

Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is returning to the pay-per-view (PPV) market for its UFC 186: "Johnson vs. Horiguchi" mixed martial arts (MMA) event, set to go down this Saturday night (April 25, 2015) inside the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Let's hope the PPV buys do better than the ticket sales.

Leading the charge is 125-pound champion Demetrious Johnson, who fights Kyoji Horiguchi in the five-round main event after it was vacated by TJ Dillashaw and his bum rib. "The Viper" moves on to rematch Renan Barao at UFC on FOX 16 this summer.

In the light heavyweight co-main event, Quinton Jackson makes his UFC return after getting trolled by the courts, and hopes to make it worth the wait by knocking around Fabio Maldonado. Elsewhere on the card, Michael Bisping tries to stop his middleweight free fall against the hot-and-cold CB Dollaway.

Admit it, you're excited.

125 lbs.: Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson (21-2-1) vs. Kyoji Horiguchi (15-1)

Nostradumbass predicts: We should probably start out by recognizing that Kyoji Horiguchi is not the Japanese tomato can some folks are making him out to be. He's a dangerous striker with knockout power who is just as fast as Demetrious Johnson.

He's still going to lose.

At this stage of his career, the Shooto veteran is not complete enough as a fighter to overcome one of the most well-rounded combatants on the entire roster. If "Mighty Mouse" is losing the stand-up battle, he can resort to his wrestling or tire opponents out against the cage (see Dodson, John).

Simply put, he has more ways to win.

In addition, we haven't seen Horiguchi against the best the division has to offer, like Joseph Benavidez or the aforementioned "Magician." Those are fights that tell us exactly where a fighter stands at 125 pounds and since we have yet to see them, we can't say for sure.

Without something to prove otherwise, I can't envision anything other than a dominant win for the champion -- though a brief scare in the first round would not surprise me.

Final prediction: Johnson def. Horiguchi via submission

205 lbs.: Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (35-11) vs. Fabio "The Iron Hillbilly" Maldonado (22-1)

Nostradumbass predicts: After a long and messy legal battle, Quinton Jackson is finally going to make his UFC return tomorrow night in Montreal. Unfortunately, he's probably going to lose. He turns 37 in less than two months and is not the athlete he once was.

In addition, his Bellator wins came over sub-par strikers in Joey Beltran and Christian M'Pumbu. I had him losing the King Mo fight, but whatever, a win is a win. What worries me against Fabio Maldonado is his fading conditioning and inability to stay active.

At least he doesn't have to worry about the takedown.

"The Iron Hillbilly" is a slow starter and I would expect to see vintage "Rampage" in round one, as the Brazilian's defense consists of blocking fists with his face. But after Jackson punches himself out trying to finish the fight, Maldonado will roar back in rounds two and three.

E. Honda style.

I don't believe Jackson is in danger of getting knocked out, but while he picks his power shots and banks on the one-hitter-quitter, Maldonado will go full Nate Diaz and just unload a wheelbarrow full of strikes to the head and body, racking up points and looking much busier for the judges.

It should prove to be a close bout (get ready for the excuses), but one that is ultimately claimed by volume, not power.

Final prediction: Maldonado def. Jackson via unanimous decision

185 lbs.: Michael "The Count" Bisping (25-7) vs. C.B. "The Doberman" Dollaway (15-6)

Nostradumbass predicts: A few years ago, this might have served as a rebound fight for Michael Bisping. These days, it's right where he belongs, as "The Count" has slowly-but-surely continued to slide down the division rankings. Is he a below-average fighter?

No, but his failure to evolve is what gives him pause.

The Bisping who graduated TUF 3 is not that far off from the Bisping who takes the canvas tomorrow night, just a little bit cleaner in his technique. While he's not a heavy-handed striker, his fundamentals are sound and his defense is tight. The Brit can outwork most strikers and is successful against a majority of wrestlers.

If CB Dollaway can't get this fight to the ground -- and keep it there -- he's losing a decision.

Bisping is one of the stronger guys at 185 pounds and has a nasty clinch. Dollaway certainly packs a punch, but his accuracy will betray him in Montreal, because his opponent is going to prove difficult to hit, and "The Doberman" may find himself eating too many low kicks.

That's when the collegiate wrestling standout takes it south.

Assuming Bisping hasn't completely deteriorated, or isn't still hung up on disappointing losses to Tim Kennedy and Luke Rockhold, he should be in control for most of this fight. It's only three rounds and his cardio is top of the food chain, and I believe Dollaway won't show enough urgency to win the cards in what is likely to be a close decision.

Judges like "busy work."

Final prediction: Bisping def. Dollaway via split decision

155 lbs.: John "The Bull" Makdessi (12-3) vs. Shane Campbell (11-2)

Nostradumbass predicts: The cynic in me wonders if the only reason the promotion holds on to John Makdessi is to have a local name to help populate Canadian fight cards. Of his eight appearances inside the Octagon (tomorrow makes nine), six of them have occurred across the northern border.

That may weigh in his favor, as he's 5-1 in those six fights.

He draws a tough, but beatable opponent in Shane Campbell, who is also native to these fine lands. But this will be the Octagon debut for the 27-year-old "Shaolin," who was previously bouncing around the regional circuit and racking up some impressive wins.

Unfortunately, they came over fighters who are not UFC-caliber.

That makes "The Bull" a fairly stiff test for the WSOF import and I'm not sure he's got the chops to get it done. That's not to suggest Makdessi is going to be making a run any time soon, but I can't side with a UFC rookie when he's facing a combatant with quality wins over gritty veterans like Sam Stout and Daron Cruickshank.

Score one for the boys at Tristar.

Final prediction: Makdessi def. Campbell via unanimous decision

135 lbs.: Thomas "Thominhas" Almeida (17-0) vs. Yves "Tiger" Jabouin (20-9)

Nostradumbass predicts: On paper, Thomas Almeida looks like an incredible prospect out of Brazil, with a perfect 17-0 record with 16 finishes, 13 of them by way of knockout or technical knockout. Not too shabby for an athlete who is just 23 years old.

Then you dig a little deeper and welp ... all that glitters is not gold.

Six of his first seven opponents had losing records. Combined, they were a dreadful 14-30. Four of them quit MMA before even registering a win (probably for the best) and it's not like this was 1996 or something, we're talking about the span of a few years.

Sorry kiddo, I'm not impressed.

Yves Jabouin has struggled to stay consistent for most of his career. At times, he looks amazing, capable of beating anyone in the world. Other times, you watch him lay an egg and wonder how the hell he ever got licensed to fight. At 35, that's unlikely to change.

Too bad, as this is a winnable fight.

While I do believe Almeida has some work to do before we crown him the new king of the bantamweight prospects, I begrudgingly favor youth over experience. "Tiger" is a striker by trade and ends more than half his fights with his fists, but his pursuit of the finish may cost him dearly.

Final prediction: Almeida def. Jabouin via technical knockout

That's a wrap. will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 186 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, and then the remaining under card balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.

For previews and predictions of the preliminary card fights click here and here. To see all the odds and betting lines for UFC 186 click here and remember to come check us out after the show for all the latest results, recaps and coverage of "Johnson vs. Horiguchi."

What do you think? Now it's your turn ... let us have it in the comments section and share your thoughts and picks for tomorrow night's event.

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