Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to the pay-per-view (PPV) platform in Montreal, Quebec, Canada last night (Sat., April 25, 2015) for a fun night of fights, featuring the flyweight title fight pitting reigning champ Demetrious Johnson against rising contender Kyoji Horiguchi.
In the end, Demetrious Johnson retained his title for the sixth time in yet another impeccable performance that saw the champ simply outclass Horiguchi in all facets of mixed martial arts (MMA) en route to a fifth round submission victory (highlights here). Johnson chose not to settle for the decision victory, instead risking position to earn the latest finish in UFC history.
The co-main event featured the return of the former light heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson, and boy did "Rampage" put on a show. After a 15-minute slugfest against Fabio Maldonado, Jackson had done enough to earn the unanimous decision victory.
With that quick overview of the night's marquee bouts, here are your biggest winners, as well as the runners-up from Montreal.
Biggest Winner: Demetrious Johnson
There is not enough superlatives in the dictionary to explain just how masterful Demetrious Johnson was at UFC 186.
After figuring out Kyoji Horiguchi's range in the first round, "Mighty Mouse" completely dominated the challenger in every facet of MMA from there on out. Unrelenting pressure supplemented by takedowns and wickedly fast combinations had Horiguchi in fits all night.
The Octagon was merely Johnson's playground, but it sure was not fun for Horiguchi to be locked in there with him.
Once again getting booed late in a fight, Johnson decided to turn up the pressure and give one last attempt at securing a finish, and he miraculously did.
A highlight-reel armbar that could be in the running for "Submission of the Year" when 2015 wraps up earned Johnson the latest finish in UFC history.
Bravo champ, bravo.
Welcome back "Rampage!"
Not only did the former UFC champ go through some major adversity in the lead-up to UFC 186 with the whole Bellator MMA injunction, but Jackson also overcame Octagon jitters and ring rust to pull off arguably one of his best performances in his career.
Putting together combinations that we have not seen in years, Jackson looked sharp on the feet utilizing all of his muay-thai weapons.
While "Rampage" was unable to accrue the finish, we can not underestimate the unbelievable chin Fabio Maldonado displayed. Instead of getting hurt by big shots, the Brazilian mad man would just ask Jackson to deliver more.
Earning his first Octagon victory in nearly four years, expect Jackson to jump back into the top 15, and make one last run at UFC gold.
What a victory by Michael Bisping last evening.
Proving he still has what it takes to compete at the highest level in MMA, "The Count" earned his 16th UFC victory with a hard-fought decision over CB Dollaway, while also avoiding his second straight loss.
Will the Brit ever fight for UFC gold? Probably not, but you can not discount his accomplishments in nearly a decade of UFC action.
Whether you love him or hate him, Bisping has long been a star for UFC both internationally and in the States, and he is unquestionably a Hall of Famer.
The question is, do UFC matchmakers give Bisping another shot a top five contender, or let him pick up a handful of wins over middling 185-pounders?
Biggest Loser: Fabio Maldonado
Fabio Maldonado essentially begged UFC brass for a dream fight against MMA legend and former 205-pound champ "Rampage" Jackson, but the Brazilian really offered little in the way of offense during the 15-minute battle.
Sure we saw some patented body work from Maldonado, but he was more concerned with egging on "Rampage" and eating punches than actually delivering combinations of his own.
Regardless, the fight was thrilling to watch even with the Brazilian providing little action, and with Maldonado likely self-aware that he is little more than an exciting stand-up fighter, these are the best type of fights he could ask for.
Expect to see the Brazilian back inside the cage soon, sharing blood and fists with another willing brawler.
Runners-up: Kyoji Horiguchi
Kyoji Horiguchi had a near impossible task set before him at UFC 186.
While I am sure the Japanese native was pleased to earn a UFC title shot, it was unquestionably based off necessity, not exactly based on past accomplishments.
Horiguchi was simply outclassed by one of the very best fighters in the world last night, and while he did have his bright moments, it was clear he had no business being inside the Octagon against "Mighty Mouse."
With Horiguchi jumping right into facing Johnson before ever facing top-notch competition like Joseph Benavidez, John Moraga, or John Dodson, there was little chance the challenger had to pull off the upset.
At only 24, Horiguchi still has a long time to climb the 125-pound mountain once again.
Talk about a rough night for Sarah Kaufman
After five straight victories for the Canadians on the UFC 186 "Prelims," Kaufman broke that streak when she lost via an armbar submission to Alexis Davis in their trilogy fight. As Kaufman tapped, the referee stood in the wrong position, which left the 135-pound woman in a precarious position for far longer than necessary.
As if that wasn't bad enough, Kaufman was lighting Davis up on the feet before she succumbed to the submission in the second round.
In their previous two fights, Kaufman defeated Davis in impressive fashion, and she looked on her way to another victory before it was all over in an instant.
Back to the drawing board for the former Strikeforce champ.
For complete results from UFC 186: "Johnson vs. Horiguchi," including play-by-play updates, click here.