It seems that with every event, the UFC sets the bar higher.  Whether it be through attendance records or how the event is broadcast, the promotion is ever-evolving.

The preliminary card of UFC 131 marks yet another step forward for the promotion, as the UFC is now taking its free live internet stream portion of the card to another highly-used, easily accessible platform: YouTube.  Previously available exclusively via Facebook, and therefore only to Facebook users, the UFC will now air the opening five bouts of UFC 131 on YouTube and Facebook.  The streams will be available via the UFC’s pages on both sites, starting at 5:50 p.m. ET.

Fans can sit in front of their computers and enjoy a featherweight contest between Michihiro Omigawa and Darren Elkins, a heavyweight battle between Joey Beltran and Aaron Rosa, Dustin Poirier’s fight with fellow featherweight Jason Young, the middleweight tussle between Nick Ring and James Head, and a light heavyweight showdown between Krzysztof Soszynski and late replacement Mike Massenzio.

Then, at 8.p.m. ET, the action from the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, moves to Spike TV for the final two preliminary card fights.  There, it’ll be middleweight prospect Chris Weidman taking on Jesse Bongfeldt, while lightweight veterans Yves Edwards and Sam Stout lock horns.

The MMA Corner Round Table panel, consisting of Josh Davis, Duncan Price and Richard Wilcoxon, gathered to break down all seven prelim battles.  Read on to find out who they think will emerge with hands raised.

FW: Michihiro Omigawa (12-9-1) vs. Darren Elkins (11-2)

Wilcoxon: The first fight of the night matches up two featherweight competitors.  Any time we are talking about Omigawa, records can be deceiving.  The early part of Omigawa’s career saw him competing at lightweight, where he compiled a record of just 4-7.  Since then, he dropped to his more natural weight and has reeled off a record of 8-2-1 against some of the best fighters in the weight class.

Elkins’ time in the UFC has been short.  Despite having two fights in the organization, he has spent a total of just 85 seconds competing inside the Octagon.  Even though the former Indiana state wrestling champion has so little time in the UFC cage, he has showcased his wrestling skills in both fights.

Skill-wise, I feel the fight is pretty even.  However, Omigawa has struggled in his career with finishing opponents and has not always fared the best from the judges’ scorecards.  I think this plays into Elkins’ wrestling and size advantage.  I will take Elkins winning a decision in this one.

Davis: Omigawa has struggled in the UFC, going 0-3 with the organization so far.  Do not let this 0-3 mark fool you, Omigawa is a very dangerous opponent.  He has world-class judo and excellent striking with knockout power in both hands.  Omigawa will have his hands full again with Elkins.

I believe that Omigawa’s struggles with the UFC will continue.   Elkins will be able to control the pace of this fight and he will be able to dictate where the fight takes place.  Elkins wins this fight by TKO in the third round.

Price: Although Omigawa has been bested each time in his UFC career so far, I do believe he has the skills to get his first win here. Elkins is a solid all-round competitor with pretty good wrestling, but Omigawa is an excellent judoka and could easily turn the tables on his younger foe.

Omigawa has a lot more experience and it is also against far higher quality opposition than Elkins has ever faced. I believe he will get the win via submission, a method of victory that Elkins has fallen foul of in the past.

HW: Joey Beltran (12-5) vs. Aaron Rosa (16-3)

Davis: This is going to be a battle between heavyweights that are fighting for their position in the UFC.  Rosa will be making his UFC debut riding a four-fight win streak, including a dominant performance over Abe Wagner in his last appearance.  Beltran, on the other hand, might be fighting for his job with the UFC.  Defeated in his previous two fights by Matt Mitrione and Pat Barry, a third consecutive defeat could send him back to the minors.

On paper, these two match up very well against each other.  Both have good striking, and good ground games.  Beltran will have the edge when it comes to wrestling and Rosa will have the edge in submissions.  As with many fights, this fight is going to come down to which fighter can impose their will and execute their game plan.  I believe that Rosa will be able to out-strike Beltran and control this fight.  Rosa wins this fight by rear-naked choke in the second round.

Price: Rosa enters this fight looking to establish his name within the UFC heavyweight division. A solid grappler with good jiu-jitsu skills, he will more than likely look to get this fight to the ground and dominate position. I believe he will avoid striking with Beltran whenever possible as this tends to be his main area of weakness.

Beltran desperately needs a win here, as Josh mentioned above. Although he defeated Rolles Gracie in his UFC debut and Tim Hague subsequent to that, fans have long since forgotten those bouts after two successive losses. Beltran always leaves it all in the cage and that makes him a  good fighter to watch, even if his desire to entertain may cost him a victory every now and again.

I believe Rosa has more ways to win and therefore holds an advantage in this bout. He will need to weather a storm early from Beltran, but I think Rosa goes on to take the fight by unanimous decision.

Wilcoxon: It is hard to believe that most of Rosa’s career has been spent in lighter weight classes.  In an era where fighters are constantly looking to drop to a lower weight to have a size advantage, Rosa has been moving up in weight.  It is no secret that heavyweight is the thinnest division talent-wise and Rosa looks like a real prospect for the division.  Beltran, on the other hand, has shown to be a mid-tier fighter with strong striking, but limited in other areas.

It is hard to argue with Josh and Duncan’s logic on this one.  Rosa will need to weather the storm while standing and get this fight to the ground.  But I also see Rosa winning this one via submission.

FW: Dustin Poirier (9-1) vs. Jason Young (8-3)

Price: Originally scheduled to meet fellow featherweight contender Rani Yahya, Poirier now faces UFC newcomer Young after Yahya was removed from the card following an injury. Poirier unexpectedly shot up the rankings after defeating the highly-regarded Josh Grispi at UFC 125. Considered a solid all-round fighter, he will be looking to sustain a run of victories in the division and prove his victory over Grispi was not a fortunate one.

British fighter Young took this match-up on short notice, but will be looking to make a big impact in his first UFC fight. Known as a pure striker, Young has won the majority of his fights by knockout or judges’ decision. He is a veteran of the UK promotions and has several fights under his belt, however he is yet to face an opponent on the same level as Poirier.

Unfortunately for my fellow Englishman, I see Poirier winning this one fairly easily. Young is relatively inexperienced on the big stage and it is a lot to ask of him, especially on short notice. Poirier appears to have the advantage in most areas, even on the feet where Young would feel most at home. I see Poirier defeating Young by TKO or a lopsided judges’ decision.

Wilcoxon: As Duncan indicated, most fans know of Poirier for his surprising victory over then No. 1 contender Josh Grispi.  In that fight, Poirier showed nice striking and great power that had Grispi pulling guard in hopes of avoiding blows.

Young won’t be pulling guard in this one.  He is an accomplished striker and I disagree that Poirier will hold any kind of advantage on the feet, except maybe in one-punch power.  Young tends to more overwhelm opponents with a variety of strikes to cause damage than providing a one-punch KO highlight.

This fight will be determined by where it takes place.  If Poirier comes in looking for a Fight of the Night award for standing and banging, I really believe this is a toss up.  However, this could be a fight where Poirier decides to show how well-rounded he is.  If this fight hits the mat, I look for Poirier to end this early.  I think Poirier plays it smart and ends this one via submission.

Davis: Poirier is one of the fastest rising stars in the UFC at the moment and rightfully so.  He has dominated his competition winning nine out of his 10 fights, and he has eight finishes.  Poirier made a name for himself with his one-sided victory over Josh Grispi and he wants to prove to the world that he is the real deal.

Young is no slouch and he is not a fighter that Poirier wants to look past.  Young has the striking abilities to stand toe to toe with Poirier and really test his chin.  If the fight winds up on the ground, Young will be just fine there as well.

This is going to be a very interesting fight, but I believe that Poirier is finding his groove and he will be able to out-strike Young and control this fight.  Poirier will win this fight by second-round TKO.

MW: Nick Ring (11-0) vs. James Head (7-1)

Wilcoxon: This is a fight between two big prospects in the sport.  It feels like the tag of prospect has been attached to Ring forever.  He won his first fight in 2002 against a UFC veteran; in 2005 he won his weight class in the Pride U.S. auditions before an injury threatened his career; and he entered The Ultimate Fighter 11 as one of the favorites before another injury sidelined him.  Ring has competed in both professional boxing and kickboxing.  He has shown skills on both the ground and standing.  The big question for Ring is: can he finally put it all together and take the step beyond just being a prospect?

Head hasn’t been around the sport as long as Ring, but his trajectory to stardom is just as sharp.  He started training in 2008 and won the silver medal at the 2010 World Championships as just a blue belt in BJJ.  He has since been awarded his purple belt.  Like Ring, he has also competed in boxing for a number of years.  His only loss in MMA was to former TUF competitor Jesse Forbes, but he bounced back with back-to-back wins, most recently toppling UFC vet Gerald Harris.  The big question for Head is: is he ready to take the big step up in competition the UFC offers and avoid the Octagon jitters at the same time?

This is a tough one for me to pick.  I have been a fan of Ring for awhile, but I need to pick with my head and not my heart.  Head’s victory over Harris is impressive and Ring did not look good in his last fight.  I will go with Head taking this one.

Price: I agree with Richard, this fight is a tough one to call. A lot depends on whether Ring has improved from his controversial unanimous decision win over Riki Fukuda at UFC 127. In that fight Ring showed very little of his undoubted potential and many thought that he was lucky to leave the Octagon with a victory.

If Head can continue to improve his game and get a win in his UFC debut, I can see a bright future for him in the promotion. Head is known as a solid striker with good ground skills, and if Ring doesn’t come ready, then I believe Head will prevail in this contest.

Davis: This fight has the potential to be one of the best fights on the card.  Ring was one of the most hyped fighters coming off of the eleventh season of TUF, but failed to showcase his skills in his UFC debut.  Ring, however, is a very well-rounded fighter that is solid anywhere the fight goes.  Ring also wants to prove to the world that when healthy he can compete with the best in the sport.

Even though Head is making his UFC debut, he is going to give Ring everything he can handle and then some.  Head is coming off a dominating decision victory over UFC vet Gerald Harris and is also an extremely well-rounded fighter. Head has a chip on his shoulder and wants to do everything he can to make sure that he earns a home with the UFC.

I agree that this is a tough fight to call and it could really go either way.  I think that Head will push Ring, but ultimately it will be Ring who wins a unanimous decision.

LHW: Krzysztof Soszynski (25-11-1) vs. Mike Massenzio (11-4)

Price: Soszynski has not fought since November of last year and it will be interesting to see if he carries any ring rust into this bout. Known as an always tough competitor with vicious arm locks, Soszynski is very rarely involved in a boring fight. He will happily go toe-to-toe with an opponent on the feet but is also skilled on the ground, utilizing his strength to lock up submissions others wouldn’t even attempt.

Massenzio is a former high school champion wrestler with good grappling and submission skills. He comes into this fight on very short notice after Igor Pokrajac was forced to pull out due to injury. His plan must surely be to put pressure on Soszynski by continuously taking him down and dominating from the guard.

I still believe Soszynski will win this bout, if for no other reason than the fact that he has had a full training camp. Massenzio will not make it easy for him though and I now see this one going to a judges’ decision.

Davis: Soszynski has a lot to prove in this fight.  He has gone 2-2 his last four fights and he needs to put together a significant winning streak if he is going to make a run at the upper echelon of the division.  Soszynski certainly has the talent to be a dominant force in the light heavyweight division, but it all starts with this fight.

Massenzio took this fight on very short notice, stepping in for Pokrajac, and he wants to show the UFC brass that he deserves another shot in the UFC.  Really the only way that he is going to be guaranteed that shot is with a victory over Soszynski.  Massenzio is also making his debut in the light heavyweight division, so it will be interesting to see how he transitions to the bigger weight class.  Massenzio has also struggled against tougher competition.

Massenzio proved his competitive spirit by accepting this fight on short notice, but I think that he is going to be in for a long night.  Soszynski wins this fight by unanimous decision.

Wilcoxon: Soszynski may have struggled at times in his UFC career, but the former pro wrestler and bodybuilder has also shown great strength, heart and skill.  I don’t necessarily believe he will become a main event type of guy, but he has certainly proved he is capable of being a mid-level gatekeeper.

I have all the respect in the world for Massenzio for accepting this fight with just a week’s notice.  I am sure the UFC brass will reward him with another fight win or lose, hopefully in his own weight class.  Unfortunately for Massenzio, I see this being a loss.  Soszynski’s size and strength advantage may cancel out Massenzio’s wrestling and the difference between a full training camp and a week will be just too much to overcome.  Soszynski takes this one fairly easily.

MW: Jesse Bongfeldt (15-4-1) vs. Chris Weidman (5-0)

Davis: Bongfeldt and Weidman are two of the UFC’s newer prospects and this is a must-win fight for both fighters if they want to rise up the ranks of an already stacked division.  Bongfeldt is unbeaten in his last eight fights, however he did suffer a draw in his last outing against Rafael Natal.  Bongfeldt is a karate and judo fighter and he will need to use his striking ability to keep Weidman from getting the double leg.  He will also need to get inside and work the clinch to execute his judo throws.

Weidman is a former NCAA Division I wrestler and currently holds a purple belt in BJJ.  He has a very aggressive style and excellent ground and pound.  In order for Weidman to win this fight, he is going to need to rely on his wrestling background to get it to the ground and employ his ground and pound.

In the end, Weidman’s wrestling will be to much for Bongfeldt to handle.  Weidman will win by TKO referee stoppage in the second round.

Wilcoxon: I will keep this one short and sweet.  This is another classic grappler versus striker match-up.  In my opinion, when a wrestler faces a striker, the striker usually has to have strong takedown defense and the ability to pop back up if taken down to have any hope in winning.  Bongfeldt will have a lot to prove in this one.  I just don’t see his takedown defense being good enough to set-up his striking.  Weidman will easily get this to the mat for a one-sided victory.

Price: Chris Weidman is a guy that I see a bright future for. He made easy work of veteran Alessio Sakara on just two weeks’ notice in his UFC debut. Weidman is a two-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler, so clearly his strengths lie in that area. However, he does have other talents. Weidman actually placed extremely well in several well-known grappling and submission tournaments after training jiu-jitsu for only a few months. Trust me, look out for this guy because he could be a future champion of the sport.

Bongfeldt is a good all-around fighter, holding wins by both knockout and submission. I believe he will want to strike in this fight though, as Weidman will more than likely be able to dominate the grappling and wrestling exchanges. Bongfeldt will need to keep Weidman away, prevent the takedown, and score with kicks if he is to stand any chance of victory in front of the partisan crowd.

I predict that Weidman will be able to take Bongfeldt down at will and keep him on the mat for the majority of this fight. This should be enough for Weidman to get the win by unanimous decision and take his UFC record to 2-0.

LW: Sam Stout (16-6-1) vs. Yves Edwards (40-16-1)

Wilcoxon: Stout is a known commodity in the UFC at this point.  He has a strong kickboxing background mixed with decent takedown defense.  Stout does not like to spend long periods of a fight on the ground.  In recent years, he has become somewhat of a decision machine.  In his last nine bouts dating back to 2007, only one of his fights has ended without seeing the judges score cards.

Edwards has been around the sport longer than Stout, but seems more of an unknown.  At one time, Edwards was considered one of the top lightweights in the world and imposed what he called “thug-jitsu,” a mix of vicious strikes with solid grappling.  However, since that time, he has struggled with the upper and even mid-echelon of the division.

Yves Edward (Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

This is another tough fight to call.  On the ground, Edwards clearly has the advantage, but I’m not convinced his wrestling is good enough to get and keep Stout down.  On the other hand, neither fighter has shown consistent striking power.  I think this fight goes the distance.  The judges haven’t been nice to Edwards over the years, so I will take Stout to eke out a close one.

Davis: At one point, Edwards, the master of “thug-jitsu,” was regarded as one of the best fighters in the world at 155 pounds.  Edwards has 57 fights in his storied career and is currently climbing his way back up the mountain with a three-fight win streak.  Edwards will certainly have more experience in this fight, but Stout is a very hungry competitor.

Stout has had his ups and downs in the UFC.  Currently he is 5-5 in the UFC and he needs to put together an impressive win streak if he is ever going to make a run towards a title.  Though he is only 5-5 in the UFC, Stout is still one of the most exciting and talented fighters in the sport.  With five Fight of the Night win bonuses to his credit, Stout always comes to fight and to please the crowd.  He is going to need to continue this style if he is going to get past Edwards.

This fight is going to be a war and, at the end of the night, might steal the show.  I think that Stout is going to be able to use his striking to keep this fight on the feet and turn it into a slugfest.  I think that Stout wins this by unanimous decision.

Price: This promises to be a Fight of the Night candidate, as both competitors are excellent strikers.

Stout is perhaps the more powerful of the two though, and it will be interesting to see if he can impose his will on the physically smaller Edwards. Don’t be surprised to see Stout go for the knockout, although both men have proven in the past to possess solid chins.

Edwards has excellent ground skills to go along with his striking ability, and this is an area where he certainly has an edge over Stout. Whether he chooses to utilize that advantage, however, is up for some debate.

I see this bout ending up as somewhat of a kickboxing clinic with the more accurate striker gaining the upper hand. My head says Edwards, but I’m actually going to agree with my colleagues and go with Stout here in his home country.

Top Photo: Sam Stout (Credit: Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)