Headlining the UFC on FX 3 card is the rematch between flyweights Ian McCall and Demetrious Johnson. Here though, our attention will be on the preliminary card fighters that compete live on Fuel TV and Facebook.

The prelims are headed by a big welterweight battle between Mike Pierce and Vagner Rocha that could have been a main card fight on a free card like this. Also in the welterweight division is a fight between Seth Baczynski and Lance Benoist.

Leonard Garcia will return to action on this card in what will be an awesome back-and-forth war with Matt Grice. I mean come on, when has a Garcia fight ever disappointed?

Also on the card will be a couple of Magalhaes, fighting in the lightweight and light heavyweight divisions. In the 155-pound division, Henry Martinez will take on Bernardo Magalhaes (no relation to Vinny Magalhaes), and at 205, Caio Magalhaes (brother to Vinny Magalhaes) will fight Buddy Roberts.

This preliminary card should be an awesome one, so make sure to check it out on Facebook and Fuel TV, and even catch the main card on FX in what is a pretty good free fight card on a Friday night.

Breaking down these preliminary fights for the UFC on FX 3 card here at The MMA Corner will be my colleagues and all-around awesome writers, Corey Adams, Jake Martin and myself, Sal DeRose.

WW: Jake Hecht (11-3) vs. Sean Pierson (11-6)

Adams: To kick off the night, the UFC has put together a fight between two welterweights who are looking to get back in the win column.

Sean Pierson (L) (James Law/Heavy MMA)

Hecht fell to TJ Waldburger by first-round submission in his most recent fight, but does have a win over former TUF competitor Rich Attonito on his record. “Hitman” is well-rounded for the most part, and it’s interesting to note that Hecht has only lost two fights since 2006, which states a strong case for the Fiore MMA fighter.

The 36-year-old Pierson is on a similar skid, but his last two losses have come against two of the best welterweights in the UFC. Pierson was on the wrong end of a Jake Ellenberger knockout, then lost to Dong Hyun Kim in December. Expect the Canadian to come out motivated for this fight to keep his job with the promotion.

Due to his two-fight losing streak, Pierson will more than likely do anything he can to get a W. With that said, I’m going with Pierson to outpoint Hecht to earn a unanimous decision.

Martin: As Corey pointed out, Pierson needs a win in a bad way.

Another loss might cost him his job with the UFC, so he’s going to have to do everything he can to beat Hecht.

Unfortunately for Pierson, Hecht will be quite the challenge. Despite losing by submission in his last fight, Hecht has won 12 of his last 14 fights.

Jake Hecht (L) (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

Though I expect Pierson to come out guns blazing, Hecht will do enough to win the decision.

DeRose: To echo my fellow panelists: Pierson needs this win. And even with a win, his career could be coming to an end at age 36.

Hecht is a young guy and in his two losses since his career debut, he has lost to very good opponents in Waldburger and Che Mills.

Pierson will most definitely come out looking to push the pace and be aggressive to keep his spot in the UFC, but I expect Hecht to push back and give Pierson a serious fight. I’ll take Hecht by unanimous decision.

LW: Henry Martinez (8-2) vs. Bernardo Magalhaes (11-2)

Martin: Henry Martinez’s UFC debut was nothing short of exciting.

Henry Martinez (L) (James Law/Heavy MMA)

Matched up against one of the most game brawlers in the UFC, Matthew Riddle, Martinez went out and brought the fight to him.

It was a back-and-forth war that saw Martinez have his fair share of moments. However, he would lose a close decision, and now he faces another fighter that lost his UFC debut, Bernardo Magalhaes.

Magalhaes lost earlier this year to Tim Means by decision, and decisions are something that Magalhaes knows an awful lot about. Out of his 13 MMA fights, ten of them have gone the distance.

So, will this fight between Magalhaes and Martinez go the distance? I’m going to go out on a limb and say no, because I don’t think Magalhaes will be able to withstand the brawling style that Martinez implements. Martinez wins by technical knockout.

DeRose: I’m going to agree with Jake here, just based on the fact I’m working with about one fight’s worth of knowledge on both fighters.

Martinez is use to the brawling style already, just one fight in, and knows how to survive a long-term war in the UFC.

Magalhaes is really good when it comes to submissions and has an exceptional amount of knowledge of how to stay in top control and work his game on the ground. On top of that, he also has a decent background with Muay Thai and boxing that I think translates into a competitive fight against Martinez.

Although I say all those nice things, I still think Martinez gets it done with his striking and gets a TKO win in this fight to keep his job.

Adams: I’m going to have to pick against two fighters by the last name of Magalhaes on this card. Greg Jackson will be sick of the name Magalhaes, as he has two fighters squaring off with them.

I have to agree with my fellow panelists in this one and go with Martinez. As has already been mentioned, Magalhaes has gone to 10 decisions in his career, while Martinez has finished six of his opponents.

To avoid the Brazilian-born Australian grinding him out, Martinez will get the victory early by submission.

MW: Buddy Roberts (11-2) vs. Caio Magalhaes (5-0)

DeRose: With all the Magalhaes’s fighting on this card, you would figure Vinny would be here as well. Alas though, the free agent is not on this card and hasn’t signed with the UFC.

Buddy Roberts (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

So who better for him to watch than his brother, Caio?

Much like his brother Vinny, Caio is well-trained in the grappling department and is very deadly when the fight hits the mat. I don’t even have to say more to let you know that his game plan will be to take this fight to the ground and end it with strikes or a sweet submission.

This will also be Buddy Roberts’ UFC debut, and he drew a pretty good prospect to start off his UFC career.

Roberts is a Jackson’s MMA product, so you know he will come into this fight well-coached and well-trained. If Roberts can stay in top control while fending off submissions, he can definitely win the fight.

I think Magalhaes is too good of a submission specialist though and will eventually find a way to submit Roberts. Magalhaes by second-round submission.

Adams: While Sal made some great points on Magalhaes, I’m going to go in the other direction and pick Roberts.

First off, let me say that Magalhaes may be the next big thing for all I know, but I don’t. The Brazilian is undefeated, but his wins have come against guys with obscure names. His brother Vinny went 0-2 before getting released by the UFC, so it’s hard for me to pick Caio in this fight.

Caio Magalhaes (OneRound.com.br)

Give me the Jackson-trained fighter in this bout. I firmly believe that the New Mexico camp is the best in the world, and as Sal mentioned, Roberts will come in very prepared.

It will be difficult to finish Magalhaes in this fight, but Roberts will use his reach advantage to do enough to earn his first UFC win.

Martin: Well, it looks like my colleagues are splitting hairs with this pick.

While both of them offer great points, I’m going to have to side with Corey and pick Roberts to win this fight.

Simply because of the same reason that Corey pointed out: I believe Roberts will win this fight because he has Greg Jackson in his corner, and there’s no better coach in MMA.

Expect Roberts to be fully prepared for any submissions Magalhaes throws at him. Give me Roberts by decision.

LW: Tim Means (17-3-1) vs. Justin Salas (10-3)

Martin: Unlike Magalhaes, Means finishes fights. As I mentioned earlier, Means defeated Magalhaes in his UFC debut earlier this year, and it was his first fight that didn’t see a finish since 2010.

Justin Salas (R) (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)

Means has an MMA record of 17-3 with 12 of his wins coming via KO/TKO and three of them coming by submission. But when he meets Justin Salas this Friday, he’ll be fighting a man that’s riding a six-fight winning streak, including his UFC debut decision victory over Anton Kuivanen.

What’s fun about this fight is that both fighters have their Octagon jitters out of the way, so we should see what both guys are really made of.

I think it’ll be a closely contested fight, but I’ll give the nod to Means by decision.

Adams: This is a very difficult fight to pick, as both are very skilled with a lot of potential.

I didn’t realize that Means had so many finishes in his career, but those 12 knockouts alone are a good reason to pick “The Dirty Bird.” But his opponent is a guy with a lot of hype behind him.

Tim means (MMA Junkie)

I’ve been hearing about Salas for years, and he finally made his UFC debut in February. Salas is very well-rounded and has also faced many quality opponents before stepping into the Octagon.

But I’m going to have to go with Means in this fight. “The Dirty Bird” will earn a late TKO over Salas to keep his streak going.

DeRose: There really isn’t much more for me to point out here as pretty much everything has been said.

Salas is a well-rounded fighter, and going into this fight he is facing a guy who owns a lot of career knockouts and will take the fight to him.

Means is an excellent fighter in a fight to promote one of the prospects after their UFC debuts, but I’ll take Salas to win the fight by decision.

BW: Dustin Pague (10-5) vs. Jared Papazian (14-7)

Adams: Bantamweights will be in action in the Fuel TV prelims, as Jared Papazian and Dustin Pague will look to bounce back after losses.

Jared Papazian (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

In one corner will be the 24-year-old Pague, who is coming off a TKO loss to John Albert. But Pague is my pick in this fight with Papazian for a couple of reasons.

First off, all 10 of Pague’s wins have come by knockout or submission, which means he will come out aggressive in this fight, looking to end it early.

Back in January, I witnessed Papazian fight Mike Easton live in Nashville, as the two put on a slugfest for three rounds. “The Jackhammer” took that fight on short notice, but still gave Easton a tough fight. But two things make me wary to pick Papazian in this fight.

In his last six fights, Papazian has gone to the judges’ scorecards. Against a finisher like Pague, this isn’t a good stat. Also, “The Jackhammer” has been submitted four times in his career. Pague will be licking his lips on Saturday to put away his opponent.

With those numbers, I have to go with Pague to submit Papazian in the second round.

DeRose: I don’t think we’ll disagree at all in this round table discussion. I think Pague is in a great spot going into this fight with Papazian.

Papazian and Easton did put on one heck of a show in their fight, and that makes me think Papazian can hang and trade with Pague if need be.

Unfortunately for Papazian though, Pague can stand and trade or put you away with a submission.

Dustin Pague (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

I think eventually Pague gets Papazian’s back and works in his hooks to submit Papazian with a rear-naked choke in the third, if not in the second. It is a good fight though, as I think both guys will put on an entertaining show. Bantamweights don’t disappoint, at least in my opinion.

Martin: You’re right Sal: we’re all in agreement. Pague should win this fight simply because he has more tools than Papazian.

However, I don’t think he’ll just run through Papazian. Papazian is a tough fighter that did give Easton, who I think will be a force to be reckoned with at bantamweight, a run for his money.

This should be a classic match-up that goes everywhere, and I genuinely would be surprised if this fight doesn’t take home Fight of the Night honors.

It will be a fun fight to watch, but when it’s all said and done, Pague will win by second-round submission.

FW: Leonard Garcia (15-8-1) vs. Matt Grice (14-4)

DeRose: Leonard Garcia looks to get back on track in what is a job-saving fight against Matt Grice.

Leonard Garcia (L) (James Law/Heavy MMA)

Garcia is a gamer and comes to each fight leaving everything he has in the cage. Unfortunately for Garcia, his ways have landed him in hot water heading into this fight having gone 2-3 in his last five outings and currently riding a two-fight losing streak. Of course, that streak would have been longer considering Garcia won a couple controversial decisions along the way, including one in his “Fight of the Year” tussle with current top-five featherweight Chan Sung Jung.

Garcia needs this fight badly to keep his job in the UFC, especially considering he has been with the promotion once before. Garcia is pretty well-versed in the striking department as well as being a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Garcia will need all the grappling he can get against Matt Grice, and he will also need to muster all the strength he can to avoid the knockout power Grice will surely bring to the table.

Grice is also looking to keep his job here against Garcia after losing his featherweight debut against Ricardo Lamas last June. Grice has also had a stint in the UFC before, going 1-3 during that run.

This will be Grice’s first fight in almost a year, and that to me will definitely play a factor in Garcia snatching the unanimous decision victory.

Martin: While I agree with Sal that this fight is a must-win for Garcia, I still can’t see him leaving the UFC with a loss.

How could any fight promoter fire this guy? Yeah, he’s 2-3 in his last five fights, but he’s one of the most exciting fighters in MMA.

Matt Grice (MMA Junkie)

Garcia is game to throw down with anyone in the company, and with Grice’s willingness to stand and trade, this should be another Garcia classic.

Garcia needs to do what he does best and make this fight ugly, which is what he’ll end up doing. Garcia will get his first stoppage of his second stint with the UFC with a second-round TKO victory over Grice.

Adams: It’s a clean sweap on this bout as well, as I also believe “Bad Boy” will get back on track against Grice.

But this won’t be an easy fight for the Jackson-trained fighter.

Grice has stepped inside the Octagon several times, but hasn’t been very successful with just a 1-4 record. This could be a win or a go-home fight for “The Real One” as well, so he will put up a good fight.

However, this fight is Garcia’s to lose. Expect both men to show a lot of intensity, with “Bad Boy” winning by decision.

WW: Seth Baczynski (15-7) vs. Lance Benoist (6-0)

Adams: This is a fun fight between two guys that are on a roll right now.

Seth Baczynski (L) (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

Baczynski was a member of the eleventh season of The Ultimate Fighter, but was eliminated by DQ for kicking his downed opponent, Brad Tavares. “The Polish Pistola” had a chance to avenge that loss to Tavares, but lost by decision to end his UFC career. However, Baczynski went 2-0 outside the promotion and was invited back. He went on to submit both Clay Harvison and Matt Brown, and has shown no signs of slowing down.

His opponent will be Benoist, who isn’t a household name, but is very talented for only being 23 years old. The Missouri native has submitted four of six opponents faced, and is coming off a big win over Matt Riddle in his debut.

But this will be a tough fight for the young guy. Baczynski has earned a finish in all 15 of his wins, and my hunch is that he’ll do the same against Benoist. If Baczynski can keep the fight standing, he will earn a knockout or TKO early in the fight.

Martin: When it comes to Baczynski vs. Benoist, give me the guy with the most experience.

Lance Benoist (R) (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

Benoist showed that he has potential to be a great fighter in the UFC, but he only has six career fights, as Corey stated. As for Baczynski, he’s proven to be battle tested.

Baczynksi is well-rounded enough to keep Benoist at bay and stop the fight. Baczynski by second-round submission.

DeRose: Corey brought it up already: Baczynski is a TUF alum and was disqualified for a kick to a downed Tavares and then lost his job when Tavares beat him by unanimous decision at the TUF 11 Finale. Since then, he has been on a roll.

Benoist is a good, young talent in the UFC, and he isn’t getting an easy fight here with Baczynski, who is a finisher and doesn’t know how to win by decision.

Jake went with more experience, and I think that will play a little factor in this and give Baczynski his 11th career submission victory.

WW: Mike Pierce (13-5) vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha (9-1)

Martin: Can Mike Pierce take the next step in his career?

Mike Pierce (R) (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

He is 5-3 in the UFC, and those three losses have come against the elite in the welterweight division. Other than losing to Jon Fitch, Johny Hendricks and Josh Koscheck, Pierce has run through the competition with his power and superior wrestling skills.

But he might want to keep his fight with Carlos Eduardo Rocha standing. Out of nine victories, Rocha has eight submissions.

In fact, Rocha has only been to a decision once in his MMA career and that was against Jake Ellenberger. Though Pierce might be the favorite in this fight, I’m going to go with the underdog.

Rocha somehow finds a way to pull off a submission in this fight and get his second victory inside the Octagon.

DeRose: Yeah, I’ll have to agree head-to-knee here only because I think the victor will be different.

Pierce is a dangerous fighter and gave Josh Koscheck all he could handle in that fight despite being an underdog and being up against a fighter who was head-and-shoulders above him in terms of rankings.

Carlos Eduardo Rocha (R) (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

Pierce has got some solid power in his hands that will make him dangerous in this fight. Sure, Rocha has those scary submission skills, but Pierce’s wrestling will help keep the fight standing and help give him the advantage throughout.

It will be a sprawl-and-brawl kind of night for Pierce, and I think that is something that definitely will give Rocha troubles. Pierce by unanimous decision or late TKO.

Adams: I’m going to side with Sal in this fight and go with Pierce, due to the fact that I think he is the better fighter all-around.

As already mentioned, Pierce went three rounds with Koscheck and just barely lost by split decision. The dominant wrestler has fought far better competition in his career, which is a major point to consider when breaking down this fight.

But Pierce will have to be careful of Rocha’s submission game. Rocha could easily lock something up and force Pierce to tap, but I look for Pierce to play it safe.

Put me down for Pierce by unanimous decision.

Top Photo: Mike Pierce (L) battles Josh Koscheck (James Law/Heavy MMA)

About The Author

Sal DeRose
Staff Writer

Sal hails from New Jersey and is currently training for his first MMA fight. He hopes to use his knowledge and insight to generate articles that interest and entertain you. Outside of MMA, Sal is a big fan of every other sport. He's a diehard New York sports fan, with the exception of cheering for the Packers.