Posted April 25, 2015 by Melanie Gale in News

UFC 186: Canadian Triple Threat

randa-markos-aisling-daly-ufc-186Saturday night’s “UFC 186: Johnson vs. Horiguchi” in Montreal, Quebec, Canada brings us three WMMA fights: Strawweights Aisling Daly (15-5) and Randa Markos (4-2), strawweights Jessica Rakoczy (1-4-1) and Valerie Letourneau (6-3), and bantamweights Alexis Davis (16-6) and Sarah Kaufman (17-2-1).

The first WMMA fight on the card is Daly vs. Markos, and the mystery isn’t why Daly is the only non-Canadian woman on the card. Her fight with Claudia Gadelha (12-1) at “UFC Fight Night: Gonzaga vs. Cro Cop 2” in Poland was 86’ed when Gadelha pulled out due to injury. Daly was then moved to UFC 186. No, the mystery is why this fight is slated for the Fight Pass prelims. At the very least it should be on the Fox Sports 1 prelims, but a real case can be made for it to be in the anchor position of the main card.

Not only should the two TUF 20 alums give us a real barn burner, but the strawweight number one contender slot against champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (9-0) is wide open, and both Daly and Markos have a legitimate future shot at the title. It should also easily be the most entertaining WMMA fight of the night.

Daly is young but very experienced. Although often not particularly explosive, she is really tough, a real fighter’s fighter. She also has a good submission game, with armbars finishing most of her opponents, including her catchweight win against Alex Chambers (4-2) in the TUF 20 finale. Her ground game and striking are both so unorthodox opponents have a difficult time against her, although that same unorthodoxy sometimes hurts her ground defense.

She’s only been finished once, a TKO defeat handed to her by Shelia Gaff (8-6).

Markos lacks Daly’s experience, but is a fighter with big upside despite her age. She also often finishes an opponent with an armbar, but lacks the submission defense success of Daly. Markos went the distance to a split decision loss with Jessica Penne (12-2), who is a fantastic submission fighter, so the defense talent is there. She has never been finished.

Markos is arguably the better athlete, and has a certain winner’s mentality. If she’s improved some of her raw skills since TUF 20, especially her bottom game, she could win this.

This fight should be fun and fast, with numerous takedown and submission attempts as well as some damaging striking. Both are good offensive fighters, with a sliver of an edge for defense going to Daly. It wouldn’t surprise me if this is a Fight of the Night.

Prediction: Almost too close to call, but Aisling Daly by armbar in Round 2.



Next up is the Fight Pass prelim Strawweight matchup between Jessica Rakoczy and Valerie Letourneau. Both are former Bantamweights with terrific striking and little ground game.

Letourneau is a solid pro who has acquitted herself well with some good fighters, including her losses to both Alexis Davis and Sarah Kaufman, and she’s finished many fighters with legit TKOs.

Rakoczy is a former boxer with a stellar record (33-3-1), but her MMA career is less storied. She did well on TUF 18, cutting through Roxanne Modafferi (17-11) and Raquel Pennington (5-5) before losing to Julianna Pena (6-2) in the finale. Her one win is a KO of Kristen Gatz (0-2), and her win over Jennifer Scott (2-3-1) flipped to an NC when she popped for a banned substance. She also hasn’t fought for eighteen months.

Unless Rakoczy has been working on a new bag of tricks, this fight should be short and explosive and completely standing.

Prediction: Valerie Letourneau by TKO in Round 1.


If a case can be made for the Daly-Markos fight to be on the main card, then it’s a given the rematch between Bantamweights vets Alexis Davis and Sarah Kaufman definitely deserves a slot on the PPV, and not the Fox Sports 1 prelims. Kaufman is a former Bantamweight champion, and both she and Davis have challenged current Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey (11-0) for the title.

Davis is vastly improved since their other fights, but Kaufman has beaten her twice and might just mentally have her number. Davis is an excellent grappler, as her wins against Liz Carmouche (10-5), Rosi Sexton (13-5), and Shayna Baszler (15-10) show, and has some striking skill.

Sarah is a serviceable fighter, very tough, physically strong and well rounded, but not great at any one thing. She’s susceptible to getting outpointed by better athletes who fight her smart, like in her fight with Jessica Eye (11-2-1). She likes fighting in the clinch and is good at it. Like Davis, her list of defeated opponents is impressive, and include Liz Carmouche, Leslie Smith (7-6-1), and Miesha Tate (16-5).

Davis is going to want to use good movement and pick apart the slower Kaufman. Davis should win, but probably won’t, unless she has improved her striking skills.

Prediction: Sarah Kaufman by unanimous decision.

The Fight Pass Prelims start at 6:30 pm/3:30 pm EDT/PDT.

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Melanie Gale