Trips to foreign lands for the UFC almost always result in a showcase for foreign talent inside the Octagon.  UFC 138 is no exception.

The promotion has slotted a number of British talents for Saturday’s event in Birmingham, England.

There’s Ultimate Challenge MMA welterweight kingpin John Maguire, who hopes to find success in his Octagon debut against Justin Edwards.

There’s Jason Young, who suffered defeat in his first UFC outing, but hopes for a better outcome against veteran Michihiro Omigawa.

There’s Che Mills, a fighter seeking redemption after failing to make The Ultimate Fighter house.  He’ll get his chance against TUF alum Chris Cope.

There’s heavyweight Philip De Fries, who will attempt to keep his undefeated record intact when he fights fellow Brit Rob Broughton.

And finally, there’s Vaughan Lee, a prospect who has not lost in his last five outings.  Lee finds himself debuting in the UFC against bantamweight Chris Cariaso.

Fans might have to wait for the tape-delayed main card, but they can witness the British talent at work live as the UFC broadcasts the event’s preliminary card on its Facebook page beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET.

It’s a night packed with British fighters hoping to stand alongside the likes of Michael Bisping and Dan Hardy as UFC stars.  Will any of them take the next step at UFC 138?

The MMA Corner’s panel of Chase Buzzell, Sean Smith and contributing writer Joe Atkins provide their answers to those questions in this edition of the Round Table.

BW: Chris Cariaso (11-3) vs. Vaughan Lee (11-6-1)

Smith: Coming off a narrow defeat against the up-and-coming Michael McDonald, Chris Cariaso decided to move his training camp to Tristar Gym, home to UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and some of the most promising young fighters in the world. With an improved support system, Cariaso should come back even stronger than before.

Chris Cariaso (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)

Cariaso’s opponent at UFC 138, Englishman Vaughan Lee, will be making his UFC debut at the event. Not only has Lee been facing lower-level competition than Cariaso for most of his career, but he will also likely have to battle the jitters of competing in the Octagon for the first time.

Cariaso is a very technical striker, but his wrestling defense failed him in his fight with McDonald. Having spent some time at Tristar Gym, Cariaso’s takedown defense will surely show improvement, which will allow him to pick Lee apart on his feet.

Cariaso earns his second UFC victory with a technical knockout in the second round.

Buzzell: Anytime a fighter trains with GSP’s camp, it can be assumed the fighter is going to be more polished and dangerous. The real question is whether Cariaso has elevated his ground game enough to controvert the ground game of Lee. However, not much is known about Lee given that he has mostly cut his teeth on the other side of the pond. What is known is that Lee is a seemingly well-rounded fighter that is not afraid to take the fight to the ground or keep it standing.

To assert Cariaso has improved his takedown defense to defend any takedown that Lee attempts is presumptuous and dangerous. Moreover, let’s not forget that Lee is British and as history tells us, most Brits can stand and bang with the best of them. Thus, to assert that Cariaso will pick apart Lee is also presumptuous. I do not deny the possibility of each prediction, however, the fact that Lee is somewhat of a wild card provides pause for thought when determining the outcome.

Nevertheless, I also believe Cariaso will earn his second UFC victory, but for different reasons. Cariaso has faced far superior competition and will use such experience on his way to victory.

Atkins: Lee has been fighting for small promotions against near no-name competition. That’s not a put-down, every fighter has to start somewhere. The UFC has an eye for talent and they must’ve seen a spark of it when they signed Lee. This is great opportunity for the local lad to make a name for himself.

Cariaso, as Sean and Chase stated, moved his training camp to Tristar Gym, and I think it’s going to give him the edge he needs going into this fight. He already has decent striking and owns a couple of wins via submission, so in addition to being able to train with reputable fighters, the new camp offers him a chance to round off his overall game.

I predict Cariaso will win via TKO in the later stages of the fight.

WW: Chris Cope (5-1) vs. Che Mills (13-4)

Buzzell: Cope has received exposure due to his appearance on The Ultimate Fighter: Lesnar vs. Dos Santos, where he made it to the semifinals before losing to Ramsey Nijem. While on the show, Cope mostly displayed a stand-up focused game. Outside of the UFC, Cope’s matches have been of the same ilk, a fight on the feet. Cope self-describes his style as sprawl-and-brawl. He likes to keep it standing and knock out his opponent.

Chris Cope (Spike TV)

Mills also got exposure on The Ultimate Fighter. However, it was a different season, United States vs. United Kingdom, and the exposure was much more limited due to an elimination match defeat. Nonetheless, those paying attention would have gathered that Mills possesses a lot of game, both on the feet and on the mat. Although Mills does not have a victory against a household MMA name, he does have two significant wins against Marius Zaromskis.

Given that Cope wants to avoid going to the ground and Mills is comfortable either on the feet or submitting opponents from his back, I give Mills the overall edge. The equalizing factor in this fight is Cope’s apparent ambition and drive. However, in the end, given Mills’ experience and well-rounded game, I give Mills the slight edge over the very dangerous and explosive Cope.

Atkins: Che Mills has been a big name on the British MMA circuit for years now. He’s beaten tough fighters like Zaromskis and, more recently, highly-touted Magomed Shikshabekov. Mills, unlike most British fighters, doesn’t rely on just his striking ability to win fights. He has a solid ground game and he’s a well-rounded fighter.

The same can be said about TUF alum Cope, who showed marked improvement in his last fight against Chuck O’Neil, where he earned a convincing unanimous decision.

Che Mills (L) battles Marcio Cesar at BAMMA 6 (Lee Whitehead/BAMMA)

As Chase mentioned, Mills definitely has the experience advantage with 17 fights under his belt, where Chris Cope has only seven, and for that reason I can’t pick against him. I think on Saturday night Mills will out-strike, out-grapple and use his aforementioned experience to outsmart Cope and win a decision.

Smith: This is usually where I talk about Mills’ lack of UFC experience. However, despite his lack of competition in major MMA organizations, Mills is a more seasoned and skilled fighter than Cope.

Mills has had some trouble on the ground, but Cope isn’t the type of fighter capable of exploiting that weakness. Instead, Cope will look to get into a striking match with a fighter who is better in the stand-up department.

I’m expecting Mills to burst onto the scene with a first-round knockout in front of his countrymen at UFC 138.

HW: Rob Broughton (15-6-1) vs. Phil De Fries (7-0)

Atkins: Rob Broughton didn’t look great in his last outing, but he did show he could take a punch. Hard-hitting Travis Browne, fresh off a superman punch knockout of Stefan Struve, hit Broughton with every strike in his arsenal but couldn’t put the burly Brit away.

Rob Broughton (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)

Broughton feels most comfortable on the ground, but Browne showed he could pass The Bear’s guard like butter and mounted him on several occasions. That’s a worrying thought considering his opponent, Phil De Fries, is 7-0 with all wins coming by submission.

De Fries’ record is unblemished, but he hasn’t been fighting top-tier competition so it’s difficult to gauge how his skill-set will transition to the big stage. For that reason, I’m going to pick Broughton via decision.

Smith: Prior to his win over Stav Economou, I’d agree that De Fries was an unproven commodity. However, in that win, De Fries submitted a fighter who battled to a draw against Neil Grove, who Broughton also matched up closely against a few years ago.

Of course, fighting in the Octagon for the first time may have its effects on De Fries’ nerves, but I feel strongly he’ll be able to give Broughton some serious problems on the ground.

After a slow start, De Fries will settle into the fight and catch Broughton with a submission in the second round to keep his undefeated record intact. It’s rare to see a British fighter with such a dangerous ground game, especially a British heavyweight, so De Fries could become a serious prospect in the division if he can continue to progress his overall game.

Buzzell: Often the success of a fighter is determined by match-ups, how the style of each fighter plays to the strength and weakness of their respective opponent. Here, Broughton has an unfavorable match-up. Broughton can take a punch and can make a fight exciting, however, this “skill,” if you will, does not serve Broughton well against the likes of De Fries. De Fries has shown ground-game wizardry throughout his career and given Broughton’s inability to hold opponents in his guard, as seen in the Browne fight, plays right into De Fries’ strong suit.

If Broughton can land strikes early, it may slow De Fries and subsequently effect De Fries’ ground game in a manner that makes submission attempts less likely. More than likely, at some point this fight will go to the ground and given the submission streak that De Fries is on, Broughton is no match for the UFC newcomer. De Fries, submission, first round.

FW: Michihiro Omigawa (12-10-1) vs. Jason Young (8-4)

Buzzell: Omigawa’s career has consisted of streaks and patterns. Most notably, Omigawa has never won in the UFC on four tries and has won only once while competing in the United States. This is an important underlying tone to the upcoming fight against Young. However, Omigawa has put an impressive career together, albeit abroad, despite the appearance of his win-loss record. The most glaring shortcoming in Omigawa’s game seems to be his inability to finish fights. Omigawa has gone to the cards in 14 of his 23 outings. This pattern would not be as troublesome if Omigawa dominated fights and continually turned out decision wins; however, this is not the case. Rather, Omigawa has lost more decisions than he has won.

Young’s record also bears a similar rate of fights going the distant, but the difference being Young’s fight career is a much smaller sample set and just by watching film on Young, one can see that he is a much more explosive fighter and more finishes than decisions are in store. Moreover, Young has lost only two fights since 2008 and both opponents (Paul Sass and Dustin Poirier) have only one loss between them. Meaning, when Young has lost it has been against the best up-and-comers.

Omigawa has had a long impressive career, but his days in the top-ten world rankings have past and he has not fought well outside of his home country of Japan. Young, on the other hand, has shown promise, power and a splash of skill. I give this fight to the much younger Young by knockout.

Smith: Had Omigawa not been robbed of a victory at UFC 131, we would be talking about him being a winner of six of his last seven bouts, with his only loss coming against Chad Mendes. The Japanese fighter has had trouble inside the cage, but he is certainly capable of picking up his first UFC win on Saturday.

Young is still maturing as a fighter, and three of his four losses have come via submission. Omigawa is an outstanding Judo player capable of taking advantage of Young’s weaknesses on the ground.

Michihiro Omigawa (Tracy Lee/Combat Lifestyle)

Prior to re-joining the UFC, Omigawa had won back-to-back fights via submission. Look for him to get back on track by using his experience and grappling ability to catch Young in a submission in the first round.

Atkins: A real tough fight for Jason Young. Omigawa might have lost his last two fights, but he’s a highly skilled Judoka with decent striking and good jiu-jitsu. Against Mendes, I thought he looked good, threatening the powerful wrestler with slick submissions from his back. He might’ve lost, but it wasn’t a beatdown. His most recent loss to Darren Elkins was controversial, so much so that UFC president Dana White awarded both men win bonuses.

Young turned in a great performance in his UFC debut. He did lose, but fans were treated to three rounds of back and forth action, and we really got to see what Young was all about. He’s clearly a good striker and he looked comfortable in the Octagon, but I think Omigawa is too big a step up in competition for him. In the past he has shown weakness on the ground, as Sean mentioned, and I think Omigawa can exploit that hole in his game.

Omigawa wins via submission in the second round and earns his first UFC victory.

WW: John Maguire (16-3) vs. Justin Edwards (7-1)

Smith: John Maguire has picked up five straight victories, but he has not performed well on the big stage. Winless in two fights under the BAMMA banner, Maguire will have the pressure of a much larger audience when he steps into the Octagon for the first time.

While the Englishman will have the crowd on his side at UFC 138, nothing replaces experience inside the Octagon, which Justin Edwards has. In addition to his time on The Ultimate Fighter, Edwards has now spent 30 minutes competing inside the UFC’s cage.

It is unlikely that either fighter will be considered a serious welterweight contender in the near future, but Edwards’ experience should be a determining factor in this fight. After three hard-fought rounds, Edwards will walk away with a decision victory.

Atkins: Having defended his UCMMA championship three times, Maguire now finds himself making his UFC debut. He has a stern test ahead of him in Edwards.

Edwards, known mainly for his stint on The Ultimate Fighter, is a resilient fighter with a slick submission game. I’ll be interested to see how his ground game fares against Maguire’s, as he too favors submissions, having tapped out nine of his 16 opponents.

John Maguire (

Like Sean, I can see this fight going the full three rounds with Edwards winning a decision.

Buzzell: More and more, MMA fans are being treated to British fighters who offer a submission game. For a long time, Brits were seen as one-dimensional stand-up bruisers looking to brawl. UFC 138 is showcasing a plethora of Brits with the aforementioned submission game and Maguire is no different. He is set to make his UFC debut and the step up from the local circuit to the big stage is seemingly quite a large one in Maguire’s case. Maguire is on a five-fight win streak, but the wins have come against notably weaker competition. Although such a winning streak is impressive, the hype is tempered when looking at Maguire’s opponents.

Maguire’s foe, Edwards, has less experience, fighting in half as many fights as Maguire, but Edwards has already taken the step to the big stage and proven that he belongs with a 1-1 UFC record. Most recently, Edwards’ win over the much-hyped Wanderlei Silva protege Jorge Lopez has opened some eyes. Before Edwards made some noise with his most recent win, he also made an appearance on The Ultimate Fighter where he displayed his aggressive style by throwing punches in bunches. The drawback to Edwards’ style is that if he does not finish his opponent early, he has the propensity to gas.

Edwards has faced superior competition, has been exposed to the bright lights before and seemingly has a better all-around game. Maguire will probably look to assert his ground game before attempting to slap on a submission, most likely a rear-naked choke. In the end, however, Edwards will prove to be too much and will win by decision.

Top Photo: John Maguire (