UFC 186 Predictions: TJ Dillashaw vs. Renan Barao – Demetrious Johnson vs. Kyoji Horiguchi Picks to Win

When:Saturday, April 25, 2015
Where:Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
by Scott of Predictem.com

Fight Analysis:

UFC 186 is a packed card, featuring a pair of title bouts at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec on April 25. First, UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson will take on once-beaten contender Kyoji Horiguchi. The main event features the rematch of UFC Bantamweight Champion TJ Dillashaw taking on the man he beat for the title–Renan Barao. Fans will get to see some of the better fighters in the UFC. Dillashaw shocked Barao in the Upset of the Year in 2014, stunningly dominating Barao with a 5th-round stoppage. Can he do it again? And can Johnson, who is one of the finest pound-for-pound fighters in the world, continue his run of dominance over the hard-hitting Horiguchi? Well find out on April 25 in what should be an action-packed night of fights. The winners of these fights may even be fighting each other next.

TJ Dillashaw, 11-2 (5 KOs, 3 Submissions), (-265) vs.Renan Barao, 33-2 (8 KOs, 15 Submissions), (+205)
In a big rematch for the UFC Bantamweight Title, TJ Dillashaw takes on the man he beat for the title–Renan Barao. A lopsided underdog in the first fight nearly a year ago, Dillashaw shocked the MMA world with a dominant 5th-round KO via strikes. It was an upset of mammoth proportions, the most surprising result of the year to be sure. Can Dillashaw do it again?

What gives the first win so much credence was the nature of how it came about. Dillashaw didnt simply edge the champion, who may have been overlooking him. At the time, Barao was considered one of the very few top fighters in the sport, on the heels of a 32-fight unbeaten streak. Dillashaw was a respected contender, but nothing special. After dominating the fight so thoroughly, the win was in no way a fluke.

This rematch was supposed to happen last August, when a late weight-cut sent Barao to the hospital. He has since won a fight, in a bantamweight win over Mitch Gagnon. So maybe this weight-cut will go better for Barao, but its fair to ask some tough questions. Fighters can lose it and when they do, its often all at once. Not that Barao can be written off based on one loss. Fighters lose in the UFC. Not many fighters can just win every fight for an indefinite period of time. But with the weight issues, the dominant nature of the loss in the first fight, and a lot of fights already under his belt, Barao may have hit a wall. Again, it was thoroughly shocking to see Dillashaw so utterly control the first fight.

If Barao is going to show that he still a top force in MMA, this is the moment. Hes had a lot of time to focus on Dillashaw and what he needs to do to turn the tables. And he has also been given a lot of time to make a successful weight cut. Its just that he may have the misfortune of crossing paths with a fighter who has hit his peak. Dillashaw clearly found another gear or two as he stepped into the waters of the world-class against Barao the first time. I think Barao can do some things to make the fight more competitive, but Dillashaw is all wrong for him. I think he wins again.

My Pick to Win:Im betting on TJ Dillashaw at -265. The new champion has hit his peak, while Barao may be a tad past his. Bet your Dillashaw/Barao prediction at an online sportsbook where your credit card WILL work for deposits and where you get a GIGANTIC 50% bonus up to $2000 in free cash! The biggest bonus on the web!

Demetrious Johnson, 21-2 (4 KOs, 8 Submissions), (Odds) vs.Kyoji Horiguchi, 15-1 (8 KOs, 1 Submission), (Odds)
UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson will defend his title for the 6th time when he takes on dangerous but somewhat-anonymous challenger Kyoji Horiguchi. Johnson is on a nice roll, having made himself the clear top dog at 125 pounds. He may not be everyones favorite, but his skills and abilities are immense. His arsenal is complete, with excellent ground-game and striking that can end a fight in a flash. That all comes in a package of tremendous speed, as Johnson is probably the fastest and quickest fighter on the entire UFC roster.

Fans who dont know Horiguchi will soon. The dynamic Japanese contender has won all 4 of his UFC fights since coming over from Japan. And he has managed to distinguish himself as one of the more-dangerous flyweights in the business. He has a similar style to Jose Aldo, attacking frantically and with speed and passion, though a bit unorthodox. He is able to close the distance with startling speed, where he then unloads powerful punches, including a concussive right hand blast that can really do damage. There is a certain confidence he carries, a knowledge that he can win if only he can get in an opponents wheelhouse and let his hands fly.

Horiguchis shortcomings in relation to Johnson are numerous. Technically, hes not in Johnsons class. The same can be said about his ground-game. And those factors could be game-changers. Horiguchi needs to make this ugly and tag Johnson early to set the tone.But Johnson knows this and you dont become a UFC champion with a handful of dominant defenses under your belt by not knowing your opponents strengths and how to act accordingly. And when it comes to the quality of opposition, Johnson has fought a much higher caliber of opponents. This is a massive jump up in class for the ambitious Horiguchi.

But when looking for an upset candidate, maybe its better to take a fighter with one compelling trait. Horiguchi may not be able to compete with Johnson when it comes to technical ability, experience, and ground game. But he can render all that null-and-void with his big strikes. In other words, youd rather pick a guy who is really good at striking than a fighter who is just OK across all areas. At least Horiguchi has one compelling trait. Its not going to be enough. Horiguchi will be fighting a guy who is a lot faster and classier than anyone he has shared the ring with before. Johnson will have to mind his Ps and Qs, but I see him outmaneuvering Horiguchi en route to a unanimous decision win or maybe even a late stoppage.

My Pick to Win:Im betting on Demetrious Johnson. He has advantages across too many areas and Horiguchi, while an interesting X-factor, simply has too many deficits to trouble the infinitely more-polished champion. Want more free bonus cash? Get a 100% bonus at 1Vice Sportsbook, who offers same day payouts!