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UFC 186: Johnson vs. Horiguchi staff picks and predictions

Check out who the Bloody Elbow staff is picking to win in every fight on tomorrow's UFC 186 pay-per-view event in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The BE staff's predictions are in for UFC 186, and to the surprise of no one, none of us went with Kyoji Horiguchi for the upset over Demetrious Johnson. However, a select few (including myself) have gone with Fabio Maldonado to upset Rampage Jackson, as well as for C.B. Dollaway to hand Michael Bisping another defeat.

Note: Predictions are entered throughout the week and collected on Friday. Explanations behind each pick are not required and some writers opt not to do so for their own reasons. For example, if Anton Tabuena entered all of his predictions on Tuesday without adding in any explanations, he has no idea if he's going to be the only one siding with one fighter for any given fight.

Demetrious Johnson vs. Kyoji Horiguchi

Anton Tabuena: As much as I would want Kyoji to land one of those bombs and win, the safe and logical pick is Demetrious Johnson. Horiguchi may find a way to be competitive on the feet, but if that happens, Johnson can simply use all the other tools he has. People always talk about how technically sound DJ is everywhere, and while that's very true, the most impressive for me is how he transitions and blends everything perfectly. If he gets into trouble at range, I expect DJ to seamlessly move to in-fighting and clinching where he can land strikes and takedowns. I believe DJ will keep Kyoji off balance and out of place for 25 minutes. Demetrious Johnson by Decision.

Mookie Alexander: It won't be competitive. Horiguchi isn't ready for Mighty Mouse and frankly the only debating here is whether or not Johnson gets another stoppage. Better technical striker, better wrestler, better scrambler, better everything. I really just want to see Mighty Mouse vs. Dodson 2 next and consider this a maximum of 25 minutes of Demetrious Johnson showing off his excellency in the cage. Demetrious Johnson by submission, round 3.

Josh Samman: Who has been homegrown in Japan and proven able to come overseas and successfully capture a world title? I may be drawing a blank, but I can't think of one, and don't see it happening this weekend. Finishing guys at 125 lbs is hard, and DJ has found a way to do it against the best challengers in the world three out of his last four contests. I think he does it again. Demetrious Johnson via submission.

Fraser Coffeen: Come on now. Demetrious Johnson by submission, round 2

Zane Simon: I think Horiguchi is being undersold just a little here. Not as a legit threat to win, but I do think we'll see him be extremely competitive for a while before losing. Horiguchi does a great job keeping and controlling range. His broken rhythm style takes time to track down, and like Johnson & Dodson, he's great at moving in and out of the pocket behind strikes. In the early rounds I expect Johnson to have some trouble finding his timing and tracking Horiguchi down. Once he does, however, Horiguchi is very prone to giving up his back in scrambles and I think that'll really cost him. Demetrious Johnson by Submission, Round 3.

Staff picking Johnson: Mookie, Phil, Lewis, Stephie, Anton, Tim, Josh, Fraser, Roy, Zane
Staff picking Horiguchi:

Fabio Maldonado vs. Quinton Jackson

Anton Tabuena: You know what will happen here. Both men will trade, until one man goes down. Unfortunately for Maldonado, even a slightly diminished Rampage is still a much better fighter. Quinton Jackson by TKO.

Mookie Alexander: My "normal" side has got Rampage slaughtering Maldonado because, well, Maldonado at no point in time has ever been better than current Rampage. Say what you want about Jackson at the end of his UFC career, but beating King Mo in Bellator is a far better win than anyone Maldonado has beaten. Rampage has more power in his punches and despite his complaints about wrestling, Rampage could take Maldonado down with ease and beat him up. So anyway, it's time for chaos, Maldonado rallies from a poor 1st round and boxes a gassed, unusually passive Rampage into a shocking decision loss. Fabio Maldonado by unanimous decision.

Josh Samman: Love this fight. I agree with most of what Mookie said, except for the chaos part. Rampage looks to be right back at home interacting with the UFC crowd leading up to the fight, and I expect him to find Maldonado's chin within the first few exchanges, before the Brazilian's body shots become a factor. Rampage via KO, round one.

Fraser Coffeen: This is a softball for Rampage in many ways, but I still am not confident he can handle it. I'm going to need evidence that he is fully in from the mental side before I pick him, and with all the legal nonsense going on, I don't have that confidence. Fabio Maldonado by decision

Zane Simon: Really despite his outside the cage flaws and some of his bad inside the cage performances, Rampage has never been less than an elite competitive light heavyweight talent. He tends to stay patient and wait for his opponents to come to him and make mistakes. He knows how to steal rounds, he's got a heavy base, and he hits hard and with accuracy. Maldonado is a funky style matchup for anyone, but I gotta take the safe bet on Rampage. Quinton Jackson by decision.

Staff picking Maldonado: Mookie, Stephie, Fraser
Staff picking Rampage: Phil, Lewis, Anton, Tim, Josh, Roy, Zane

Michael Bisping vs. C.B Dollaway

Anton Tabuena: Bisping has only lost to championship contenders and PED users. I don't even think being the latter would help Dollaway pick up a win here. Michael Bisping by Decision.

Mookie Alexander: Bisping has primarily only lost to contenders in the UFC, but at 36 years old, there comes a point in time where age and beatings (like the ones Bisping has suffered) catch up to you and you can't even beat the fringe contenders. I think Dollaway has what it takes to grind out the upset win, perhaps copying the Tim Kennedy gameplan as well as he's capable of doing. C.B. Dollaway by unanimous decision.

Phil Mackenzie: I like Dollaway, but I still think he's the kind of decent all-rounder which Bisping generally beats. Bisping's much ballyhooed takedown defense isn't honestly all that great for the modern game, but he's spectacular at getting back to his feet, and I don't know if CB has the real physicality and crushing yet tricky top control that someone like Tim Kennedy can bring to the table. CB is also fairly fragile, and while Bisping still only generally stops people when he owns massive athletic advantages, I can see him rocking Dollaway at key points in what should be a close, fairly fun, meat ‘n' potatoes scrap. An upset would not be surprising to me at all- fundamentally, I feel like Dollaway is improving, and Bisping is not, but Michael Bisping by unanimous decision.

Josh Samman: This one is a tough pick. As Anton said, Bisping has only lost to world class competition, but on a long enough timeline that is bound to change, and I think this may be the one that tips the scale. It is easy to imagine a Bisping victory, but my gut tells me C.B. finds a way to get it done. C.B. Dollaway via decision.

Zane Simon: I would have so much more faith in CB Dollaway if the recent striking coach changes in their camp didn't look to be a really bad move. Dolloway has been making slow and steady progress in his hands for a long time, but if Ryan Bader's last fight is anything to go by, a lot of those changes may be getting pushed to the wayside for a new straight up and down, clunky Muay Thai style. If that's what Dollaway brings to the cage, I think Bisping can handle him. Michael Bisping by decision.

Staff picking Bisping: Phil, Lewis, Anton, Tim, Fraser, Roy, Zane
Staff picking Dollaway: Mookie, Stephie, Josh

John Makdessi vs. Shane Campbell

Anton Tabuena: Tough pick, but I will always be a sucker for traditional martial arts applied in the UFC... John Makdessi by Decision.

Mookie Alexander: It's time for the Dragon Ball Z hour, starring Shane Campbell as Goku. Shane Campbell by KO, round 2.

Phil Mackenzie: Shane Campbell, if matched up correctly, should be a ton of fun in the UFC. He reminds me a little of Justin Gaethje in the unloading of offensively gorgeous Muay Thai to all levels. He's also significantly bigger than Makdessi, a miniscule lightweight who has struggled with being bullied. I still like Makdessi though. Campbell leans on the earmuffs defense and on his opponents exchanging with him too much for my liking, and I expect Makdessi to spear him with his jab repeatedly in what should be an incredibly entertaining striking match. John Makdessi by unanimous decision

Fraser Coffeen: Oh you know I'm excited for this one. I love watching Makdessi do his thing, but he's at his best when fighting guys who don't really know how to deal with it (Cruickshank excluded). Campbell is a very good striker himself, and I can see him finding success in much the same way Njokuani did, using the more fundamentally sound Muay Thai to outpoint the flashier TKD. Shane Campbell via decision

Zane Simon: The first thought in my mind is that Makdessi should take this fight, because he's a fairly reliable talent... But the more I think about it the less I like the matchup. Much like he did against Alan Patrick and Anthony Njokuani, I worry about Makdessi getting stuck outside of rangy strikers and then punished in the clinch when he comes inside. At best Makdessi is able to move in and out of range behind sneaky kicks, to work his boxing in the pocket. But Patrick showed that even a super fundamental striker can stop him at range constantly, and Campbell is better than that, and very tricky inside. The biggest question to me is Campbell's raw athleticism. If he's not strong enough or fast enough to implement his game in the UFC, then style might not matter. Still, I'll take a chance. Shane Campbell by decision.

Staff picking Makdessi: Phil, Anton, Tim, Josh, Roy
Staff picking Campbell: Mookie, Stephie, Fraser, Zane

Thomas Almeida vs. Yves Jabouin

Mookie Alexander: Jabouin is ancient for a bantamweight and he doesn't have anywhere near the power required to trouble Almeida. I await the body shot violence from the emerging prospect, who will tear Yves to shreds in impressive fashion. Thomas Almeida by KO, round 2.

Phil Mackenzie: In a weird way I sort of like what I've seen from Jabouin lately- he got caught by Wineland and Pickett, but he looked good before then. The new offensive wrestling game against Easton was a nice wrinkle. However. He's looking increasingly fragile, and his game is designed to deal with single shots rather than the endless snappy volume which Almeida is going to put out. Thomas Almeida by TKO, round 2

Zane Simon: Jabouin might be competitive for a little while, but sooner or later I think he'll get caught, get hurt, and go down. Thomas Almeida by KO, Round 2.

Staff picking Almeida: Mookie, Phil, Stephie, Anton, Tim, Josh, Fraser, Roy, Zane
Staff picking Jabouin:

Patrick Cote vs. Joe Riggs

Phil Mackenzie: Hard to see a way in which this is not super ugly. Either Riggs' much-abused body falls apart at the seams again and he gets finished, or Cote (who has ironically picked up something of a knack for winning and losing ugly) bullies him for three. Patrick Cote by unanimous decision.

Mookie Alexander: Why? Patrick Cote by unanimous decision.

Josh Samman: Man, Joe Riggs has had a lot of fights. Patrick Cote via referee stoppage.

Fraser Coffeen: This feels like it should be the opening fight of UFC, oh, 67. Here we are, 100+ UFCs later, and these guys are fighting. Cote has successfully faced the significantly higher level of competition lately. It's not like he's going to suddenly become a contender, but I also don't think he is completely and totally done. Patrick Cote by KO, R1

Zane Simon: Really don't trust that any part of Joe Riggs' body is holding up anymore. Cote may no longer be a power punching threat, but he's still tough as old boots and a pretty well rounded fighter. I'll take him to win this one ugly, no problem. Patrick Cote by decision.

Staff picking Cote: Mookie, Stephie, Anton, Tim, Josh, Fraser, Zane
Staff picking Riggs: Roy

Sarah Kaufman vs. Alexis Davis

Phil Mackenzie: More vacillating from me. I do think Davis has been improving, but Kaufman is a pretty skilled boxer for the (admittedly terrible) standards of WBW, and I think she can put out more accuracy and volume over the course of a fun fight. Sarah Kaufman by unanimous decision.

Fraser Coffeen: I like Kaufman and respect her status in the sport, but I think she's in the process of fading to the background of the next-gen WMMA scene. Alexis Davis by decision

Zane Simon: Sarah Kaufman has beat Alexis Davis twice already in their careers. What's a third time going to prove? Kaufman may not have as many impressive recent wins, but she showed that she can still hand out a beating against Leslie Smith. Davis reminds me a lot of Jake Shields, and while that troubles a lot of fighters, I think Kaufman has her number and has for years. Sarah Kaufman by decision.

Staff picking Kaufman: Tim, Phil, Zane
Staff picking Davis: Mookie, Stephie, Anton, Josh, Fraser

Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. David Michaud

Phil Mackenzie: These guys look similar, and I pity the (small) live audience who have to try to figure out which mop-headed mesomorph is which. Aubin-Mercier is young, athletic and skilled, and has shown the oft-underrated ability to take an arse-kicking without getting too discouraged. He just hasn't fought very much. His striking hasn't really caught up to his judo yet, but unless he's that rare kind of Davis-Shields grappler-only athlete, I expect it to under Tristar. Michaud is a reasonably physical wrestler. Aubin-Mercier should be better pretty much everywhere, but how much better he is should tell us where he's going. Olivier Aubin-Mercier by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: Both fighters are pretty raw. Michaud might be the more technically developed well rounded fighter, but I think Aubin-Mercier is just a big step above athletically. Olivier Aubin-Mercier by Submission, Round 1.

Staff picking Aubin-Mercier: Mookie, Stephie, Phil, Anton, Tim, Josh, Fraser, Roy, Zane
Staff picking Michaud:

Chad Laprise vs. Bryan Barberena

Phil Mackenzie: I feel like people are sleeping on Michael Chiesa Mk II a little here. Barberena is tough as nails, hits pretty hard, throws volume and is hard to put away. Not an easy fight. However, I think that Laprise can keep distance like he did against Aubin-Mercier, keep Barberena away, land jabs and leg kicks. He's a surprisingly technical distance striker in the Bisping mould. Chad Laprise by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: Neither of these fighters has really proven a whole lot to me, when I take a hard look at their record. They both have solid wins over really underwhelming competition. Laprise's best win is probably a split decision over Aubin-Mercier. However, Laprise has shown himself to be the much more consistent fighter and generally comes in with a solid game plan and makes it happen. Chad Laprise by decision.

Staff picking Laprise: Mookie, Stephie, Phil, Anton, Tim, Josh, Fraser,Roy
Staff picking Barberena:

Chris Clements vs. Nordine Taleb

Phil Mackenzie: I've been unnecessarily down on Chris Clements before, but he's a better athlete than I gave him credit for. Taleb, conversely, seems like a guy who is less than the sum of his parts- he can jab and take down, but he always seems like he's somehow close to the fight slipping away from him. I feel like Clements can land something which shakes Taleb off his game at some point, and Chris Clements by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: This could be a close fight that goes either way. But I like Clements a lot and would love to see him win. He's the more dynamic athlete and striker and he only tends to get beat by guys that can out wrestle or really out strike him. Don't see anything from Taleb that suggests he's got a big advantage in either area. Chris Clements by decision.

Staff picking Clements: Mookie, Phil, Anton, Tim, Fraser, Roy, Zane
Staff picking Taleb: Stephie, Josh

Jessica Rakoczy vs. Valerie Letourneau

Phil Mackenzie: We saw an old striker finally "clicking" in MMA when we watched Germaine de Randamie destroy Pacheco, but I don't think it's a safe bet that Rakoczy shows us something that she never has before. Valerie Letourneau by decision.

Zane Simon: No idea what we'll see out of Rakoczy down at 115 lbs. Letourneau I can at least expect to show up and strike with consistency, toughness, and power. Valerie Letourneau by decision.

Staff picking Rakoczy: Josh
Staff picking Letourneau: Mookie, Stephie, Phil, Anton, Tim, Fraser, Roy, Zane

Aisling Daly vs. Randa Markos

Phil Mackenzie: If I had a common criticism of SBG fighters, it's that the creative finish-focus approach really struggles when they're not the superior athlete. I think Markos is the better athlete and probably takes a decision more times than Daly catches her in something. Randa Markos by unanimous decision.

Fraser Coffeen: The TUF fan in me is all kinds of excited for this one, which should be a good fight in the UFC's newest division. Book this fight prior to TUF and most people pick Daly. But Markos was all kinds of good on the show, and though she didn't quite get the job done in her UFC debut, she came close against one of the division's better fighters. Daly is super awkward, but gutsy as hell, and able to pull things off you wouldn't expect. But like Phil said above, she will rely on Randa getting sloppy or falling asleep on her submission defense, and that's something Randa won't do. Markos takedown, top control, a few Daly scares, but the wrestling carries the day. Randa Markos by decision

Zane Simon: I'm guessing this will look a lot like Herrig vs. VanZant with the more technical fighter, Daly just finding herself athletically outmatched everywhere. Markos is a physical beast, has great offensive wrestling, and showed decent sub defense against Jessica Penne. All that should be enough to see her past Daly here. Randa Markos by decision.

Staff picking Daly: Anton, Roy
Staff picking Markos: Stephie, Tim, Phil, Josh, Fraser, Zane, Mookie