For the first time, the UFC is holding an event in China, though Macau might resemble Las Vegas more than Beijing. A former Portuguese colony, Macau has become known as a destination for tourism and gambling, and it’s against that backdrop that fans will experience UFC on Fuel TV 6: Franklin vs. Le.

In a fight that certainly has a high entertainment value, if not necessarily high importance in the UFC middleweight division, MMA legend Rich Franklin will lace up the gloves once more to take on former Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le in the card’s main event. In addition, the night will also feature a number of fights that could position their participants into their respective divisions’ title pictures.

The UFC’s inaugural show in China should certainly serve to further expand the company’s global reach, and it won’t hurt to have the eyes of the world’s most populous country on the Octagon. Franklin and Le are ideal ambassadors for the UFC as the promotion moves into new territory, and they and the rest of the fighters on the UFC on Fuel TV 6 card will show China why MMA has already become so popular all around the world.

Fans in the United States will have to set their alarm clocks, as the action gets underway at 7:15 a.m ET with the Facebook prelims, then moves to Fuel TV for the main card bright and early at 9 a.m. ET. So, get your breakfast plans in order, stock up on coffee and join The MMA Corner’s panel of Vince Carey, Dale De Souza and Eric Reinert for a full breakdown of the entire lineup in this edition of the Round Table.

LW: Jon Tuck (6-0) vs. Tiequan Zhang (15-3)

De Souza: It might shock some to hear the complaints about Tiequan Zhang nowadays. Despite going 1-3 so far in his run under the Zuffa banner, Zhang remains a prospect to watch. What he may not show in striking skills, he makes up for in his ability to turn fights into grappling affairs—an ability to which wins over Pablo Garza and Jason Reinhardt can attest.

Tuck (Sherdog0

Zhang will carry the experience edge over Guamanian-born Jon Tuck, but Tuck won’t lay down for Zhang despite crossing into enemy territory, so to speak. Remember, Tuck will fight for the first time in 2012, but he will carry an unblemished 6-0 record into the Octagon when the TUF Live hopeful finally debuts for the world’s premier MMA promotion.

A fun fact about Tuck’s 6-0 record: all of his wins came in the first round—including an insane eight-second knockout win over a then 5-0 Eduard Folayang—and unlike Zhang, who owns two out of three losses by way of unanimous decision, Tuck has never left it in the hands of the judges.

Don’t expect Tuck to go the distance here, but do expect him to hunt for that finish. Zhang will do the same as well, though few will question how Zhang wants this fight to end—he will look for any body part that he can wrench in order to force a tap. However, strange things can happen when a man fights someone on his own home turf, and nine times out of ten, I see Tuck finding a home for a well-time combination, thus earning himself another first-round knockout victory.

Carey: I have to agree with Dale here—the fact that Zhang is fighting on his home turf makes this fight seem a lot closer than it actually should be. However, I don’t see the potential in Zhang that Dale seems to, and it seems reasonable that the only reason he’s even stuck around on the UFC roster is due to this trip to China.

Zhang has looked awful in his last few appearances, having struggled mightily against Darren Elkins outside of a couple guillotine attempts and getting flattened by Issei Tamura in the second round of his last bout at UFC 144, and there’s no reason to believe that Zhang will be able to get things back on track on Saturday.

Zhang (L) works for his patented guillotine (James Law/Heavy MMA)

Tuck has too much firepower in the first few minutes of the fight, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him come out and blast Zhang on the feet en route to an early stoppage win, but something tells me the Chinese native will make it a fight at home and Tuck will have to settle for a decision win.

Reinert: Zhang will certainly be looking to impress in front of a crowd of his fellow Chinese, as well as get back on the winning path after two straight losses, and I actually have more hope for him than my two fellow writers. Despite a 2-3 record in the WEC/UFC, he has been facing the sort of world-class competition that those two promotions offer.

Tuck, while sporting an undefeated record, has only faced the sort of competitors available in his native Guam and in other lesser Asian MMA promotions. He’ll experience a significant step up in competition on Saturday.

I don’t disagree that Tuck will certainly go for the early KO, given his proven power, and if this fight goes to the ground it could potentially go in either direction. I’m going to go against the grain here and pick Zhang by submission. I typically go for fighters with more world-class experience, especially when they’re fighting an opponent with just six pro fights.

BW: Alex Caceres (7-5) vs. Motonobu Tezuka (19-4-4)

Carey: Despite a 2-3 record inside the Octagon, Alex Caceres has started to live up to a bit of the promise he showed on season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter a few years ago. A couple of featherweight bouts against Mackens Semerzier and Jimy Hettes didn’t go his way, but the UFC decided to keep him and give him a shot in the bantamweight division and so far the results have been pretty good.

Tezuka (L) scores a takedown (Taro Irei/Sherdog)

Other than a controversial decision loss to Edwin Figueroa, Caceres has looked like a new fighter since dropping to 135, and he’ll get his first chance to prove his worth on a UFC main card this weekend against Motonobu Tezuka.

A long time Pancrase veteran, Tezuka is making his debut on just over a week’s notice, and despite a career spanning almost 30 fights, he will have the toughest test of his career against Caceres.

The short notice for Tezuka makes it almost impossible for me to pick him to win here, and with his lack of high-level opponents, there isn’t much of a case to be made for picking the Japanese fighter. Octagon experience is key, and “Bruce Leeroy” is going to keep his momentum going here and earn a submission win inside the first five minutes.

Reinert: Vince hits it right on the head when he says Caceres looked like a completely new fighter after dropping to bantamweight. He was clearly too small to be a natural featherweight and has negated any size disadvantage at 135 while still maintaining all of the speed that makes him dangerous. Caceres will look to establish himself as a potential title contender with his third win at bantamweight.

Tezuka could be a barrier to “Bruce Leeroy’s” success. The Japanese veteran is 12-1 in his last 13 fights and has won his last three straight. As Vince points out, though, he’s taking on a more seasoned UFC veteran on very short notice.

Caceres (Scott McKinley)

In the end, I’m usually going to take the guy with more UFC experience, especially when that person is just 24 years old. I don’t see Caceres giving this one away, and he’ll put on a good show en route to a submission victory.

De Souza: Vince and Eric did a sound job of mentioning Caceres’ growth since dropping to bantamweight, so I can’t add anything more there. If anything else can add to the praise for Caceres, though, it would come in the fact of Caceres just appearing a bit more serious than how some perceived him on TUF with the whole “Bruce Leeroy” thing, though Yours Truly believes it suits the type of martial artistry he defines inside the cage, and in his own unique way, no less.

Tezuka has earned a little bit of props himself, though. The Pancrase and Deep veteran can push Caceres the distance if he knows the formula to do so, and while we cannot say much about Tezuka’s grappling—other than noting that he’s submitted five fighters—we can rule in the possibility of his trying to prove himself as another man with the ground game needed to further delay Caceres’ rise to the top.

Of course, that sounds like wishful thinking, and truthfully, one would be a bit foolish to discount Caceres’ clear improvements at his new weight class. When he misses the cup, his striking delivers in a way that spells trouble for even the best of the bantamweight class, and whereas questions may have risen about his grappling at featherweight, fans can rest assured that his skills in that area seem best showcased at 135 pounds.

At the end of the day, Caceres’ fight against Tezuka, a replacement for Kyung Ho Kang, initially fell on my radar due to the martial arts display that defines Caceres’ style, and that style should carry him to a mid-second-round TKO victory as Caceres cuts Tezuka open and forces the ringside doctor to wave the fight off.

LW: Mac Danzig (21-9-1) vs. Takanori Gomi (33-8)

Reinert: In a fight between two wily veterans of the sport, the winner of TUF 6 will face the former No. 1 lightweight fighter in the world.

Gomi (Heavy MMA)

Mac Danzig has gone 3-3 in his last six fights, though his losses were to Jim Miller and Matt Wiman (twice), who are both among the better fighters in the lightweight division. Most recently, he defeated Efrain Escudero by decision back in April and will look to re-establish himself as a possible title contender with a win this weekend.

Takanori Gomi is one of the guys who really made the lighter divisions popular during his time in Pride FC, but has he had mixed results since migrating to the UFC. He’s lost to Kenny Florian, Clay Guida and Nate Diaz but has wins over Tyson Griffin and, most recently, Eiji Mitsuoka. He might not have what he used to as a complete fighter, but we all know that a fighter’s knockout power is one of the last things to go.

One area where “The Fireball Kid” is particularly vulnerable is on the ground. He has six losses by submission, and it just so happens that grappling is Danzig’s strength. For this reason, I see Danzig winning this fight by submission, provided he’s able to weather what will surely be a dangerous early storm from Gomi.

De Souza: Sometimes, former Pride lightweight champion Takanori Gomi looks like his best days already passed him, but then he comes out and blasts fighters the way he’s blasted Griffin and Mitsuoka. Is it safe to trust the possibility of Gomi blasting Danzig in a similar fashion? That seems reasonable, considering his knockout power and aggression still remain.

That said, Joe Stevenson had the KO power and aggression needed to put Danzig’s lights out, and look how well that worked out for Stevenson. Mind you, Danzig hadn’t stopped a fight on his own terms by something other than a submission since an April 2006 win over Orlando Ruiz, but if anything, that win should prove that Danzig does contain more than just a great grappling regiment in his arsenal. Of course, age hasn’t hit Gomi to where Danzig will find his chin, but if Danzig can wear Gomi down, his striking may become more a factor than some believe.

Danzig (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)

Then again, Danzig’s grappling is his bread and butter, so if Danzig does wear Gomi down, look for him to go to that which brought him to the dance. I would expect something in the air to keep Gomi holding on, but overall, I see Danzig doing what Danzig does in out-grappling his way to a unanimous decision victory, with Gomi stealing the last round somehow.

Carey: As Eric and Dale said, if Danzig wants to earn the win, he’s probably going to need to get this fight to the floor.

Gomi hasn’t looked like the killer he was back in Pride since entering the Octagon, but he’s still shown enough on his good days to force Danzig to be a bit skeptical about standing with the Japanese veteran.

Still, there’s no denying that Danzig’s striking has improved drastically over his last few bouts, and the highlight knockout over Stevenson that Dale mentioned showcased finishing power we didn’t realize Danzig had.

Gomi would probably find a way to win this fight if he could keep it standing, but Danzig has made his career by taking guys down and beating them up, and I think his game plan works here. He won’t get the finish, but Danzig should get his second straight win.

WW: Dong Hyun Kim (15-2-1) vs. Paulo Thiago (14-4)

Carey: In a crucial battle in the welterweight division, either Dong Hyun Kim or Paulo Thiago will prove they deserve another crack at a top-tier fighter in the division.

Thiago (DaveMandel/Sherdog)

Both men are coming off of momentum-halting losses in their last bouts, and the loser may fall far enough down the welterweight ladder to effectively kill their chances at getting near a UFC title.

Kim has had a largely successful UFC career, but when thrown into the fire against top talent, the Korean fighter usually struggled. Outside of a win against an undersized Nate Diaz in early 2011, he hasn’t done much to prove he can hang with the elite in the division.

The same can mostly be said for Thiago, who has had an up and down UFC career following a massive upset win in his UFC debut over Josh Koscheck. Losses to Jon Fitch, Martin Kampmann and Diego Sanchez sent the Brazilian to the verge of being cut.

This should be a really interesting fight, as both men are good on the feet and even better on the mat, but I’m going to give the edge to Thiago here. Going to the ground could easily result in a toss up, but Kim seemed extremely confident in his striking during his last win against Sean Pierson, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he elected to keep the fight standing against Thiago.
If that happens, there’s a slightly better chance that Thiago lands a finishing blow, and since neither man has shown great striking defense, it could easily come down to who lands the better shots. I’m taking Thiago, but this is one of the closest fights on the card.

De Souza: I agree with Vince on how close this fight is, compared to some other fights on the card. Thiago and Kim both get more respect for their grappling games than their striking, but because those ground games cancel out, it’s hard to see how this one doesn’t turn into either a striking fest or a clinch battle against the cage.

In the clinch, how can Kim lose? He implements his most effective offense in the stand-up from the clinch, and he does a great job of utilizing his judo in negating anything that would resemble whatever would pass for his opponent’s ground game. Many figured Kim’s judo to serve a solid test to Demian Maia’s welterweight debut, but a muscle spasm aided Maia in securing the win.

As for Thiago, he loses the luxury of saying that his last loss came due to such an agent. To this moment, I still have trouble recalling if Siyar Bahadurzada knocked Thiago out at UFC on Fuel TV 2 with his right forearm or with the right hand that appeared to touch Thiago just before Thiago face-planted to the canvas. In any event, he knows he lacks the reach advantage in this bout, albeit slightly, so he knows he will have to find a way to either get to Kim’s chin or get to his neck.

Kim (R) delivers a kick (James Law/Heavy MMA)

With a 76-inch reach, however, Thiago will have a tough mountain to climb. While Kim may not be the most effective striker in the welterweight division, he cannot forget how to effectively use his tools to find victory. Kim will indeed use the tools that he’s implemented thus far to hurt Thiago standing, but his efforts will only do enough to put him on the winning end of a split decision.

Reinert: This welterweight battle is my favorite for “Fight of the Night.” Both fighters are skilled on their feet and on the mat, and both are looking to re-establish themselves at 170 pounds after so-so runs in their most recent fights.

The “Stun Gun’s” only true loss has been to UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit (I don’t count defeats due to injury), but at the same time Kim hasn’t exactly faced the best of the best of the UFC’s welterweights during his promotional tenure. Against Thiago, he’ll want to stay off his back at all costs, but he could probably feel safe just about anywhere else.

Thiago is 2-3 since 2010, but two of his losses were to a pair of the division’s best (Martin Kampmann and Diego Sanchez) and one was an early KO. Fans shouldn’t sleep on the Brazilian fighter, because, like Kim, Thiago has demonstrated success both on the ground and throwing his fists.

This fight will be pure technique, so don’t expect either fighter to be winging punches at each other. Nevertheless, the even-handedness of this fight makes it perhaps the most competitive on the night’s card. I’ve got Kim by decision, but it could easily go the other way.

LHW: Stanislav Nedkov (12-0) vs. Thiago Silva (14-3)

De Souza: Thiago Silva never lost his knockout power, nor did he lose his killer instinct. That being said, a no-contest against Brandon Vera—originally a unanimous decision victory for Silva—preceded his UFC on Fuel TV 2 loss to Alexander Gustafsson, which only marked Silva’s second career loss by a unanimous decision. Though Silva can definitely turn heads by handing Stanislav Nedkov his first pro loss, he definitely begins to find himself at that point where every fight he takes becomes a must-win situation.

Nedkov (Daniel Herbertson/Sherdog)

Nedkov knows the feeling of must-win situations, because his career owns twelve instances of Nedkov being in must-win situations. Obviously, Nedkov’s “must-win situations” related more to keeping his record intact, but so far, he’s blended an improved striking game in with his current arsenal in order to do just that. The only question that remains relates to whether we will see that blend of wrestling and jiu-jitsu sooner than later.

Hopefully, Nedkov shows off that blend early, because only a handful of fighters can stand with Silva and not have their clock cleaned. Nedkov cannot count his name as part of that handful, but he can count himself among those who can take Silva down and keep him down. That being said, Silva’s need for a victory will kick in as he returns to the win column in round three by way of a tremendous knockout.

Reinert: This fight is clearly meant to showcase Nedkov, a rising star in the light heavyweight division with a 12-0 professional record. Why else would it be the co-main event?

It certainly wouldn’t be because of Silva, who has gone 0-2 with one no-contest in his last three fights. Silva used to be one of the fighters to watch at 205, amassing a 5-1 record in the UFC and possibly positioning himself for a title shot. After losing most recently to Gustafsson, however, along with the drug testing complications he was involved in after defeating Vera (later ruled a no-contest), he’s been relegated to gatekeeper status this weekend.

Nedkov, on the other hand, will look to use Silva as a stepping stone to the elite levels of the light heavyweight division. The undefeated Bulgarian defeated Luiz Cane in his UFC debut and has finished ten of his 12 fights inside the distance. The downside with Nedkov is that he hasn’t fought since his win over Cane, and that was in August 2011.

Silva (L) may attack from the clinch (Sherdog)

Silva’s quest for redemption should be enough to secure the victory, and he’ll hand Nedkov his first professional loss by TKO, thus showing him and everyone else why he was formerly so feared.

Carey: I’ve got to agree with my fellow writers here. This should be Silva’s fight to lose.

After his knockout win over Cane last summer, there was a fair amount of hype behind Nedkov, but due to a 14-month layoff as a result of injuries, Nedkov’s momentum has all but stalled.

Nedkov will get the biggest opportunity of his career when he fights Silva on Saturday, and if he wants to earn the win here, he’s going to need to find a way to stop a seriously motivated “Pitbull.”

Silva hasn’t earned a UFC win since UFC 102 back in 2009, and if he wants to hold onto his spot on the roster, he’s going to have to start stringing some wins together. Luckily for Silva, he has the tools to beat down Nedkov on the feet in this fight, and his takedown defense should be good enough to make sure the fight stays in his advantage.

A quick knockout seems evident in this one, and Silva should be a top contender to earn a bonus check after the event.

MW: Rich Franklin (29-6) vs. Cung Le (8-2)

Reinert: One of the UFC’s true “company guys,” Rich Franklin has gladly accepted any challenge UFC President Dana White has put in front of him. Since mid-2008, Franklin has been bouncing back and forth between light heavyweight and catchweight fights, generally to fill out cards that needed one more noteworthy fight. He wouldn’t still have this role if he wasn’t still a capable fighter, so his return to middleweight to face Cung Le should be an exciting contest.

Franklin (R) (Sherdog)

Le, the former Strikeforce middleweight champion, has generally shown more interest in booking movie roles than fights, and at 40 years old, who can blame him? Le is 1-1 in the UFC, most recently defeating Patrick Cote by decision in July, and like Franklin, he probably won’t find himself fighting for a belt anytime soon.

With his extensive striking background, Le will certainly have the advantage on the feet. Still, it’s tough to bet against Franklin, who has the more well-rounded skill set and greater experience in mixed martial arts. I see Franklin dispatching Le by decision to close out what should be a very exciting night of fights.

Carey: I’ve got to agree with Eric here—Franklin should walk away with a decision victory in this one.

The level of competition that Franklin has fought over the last few years has been staggering to say the least, with every fighter he’s competed against having held either a UFC or Pride championship at some point in their career, and his wins over Wanderlei Silva and Chuck Liddell during that stretch have kept him relevant despite just a 3-3 record since 2009. Franklin’s experience alone is enough to make him the odds-on favorite in this fight, but it’s his well-rounded mixed martial arts game that makes him a near lock to pull off the victory.

Le is going to attempt to make Franklin uncomfortable on the feet and land his unorthodox kicks and striking techniques, but Franklin’s ability to both fight in the clinch and take the fight to the mat should save him from getting picked apart here.

Le (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Franklin’s chin has shown signs of weakness as of late, but not enough for fans of “Ace” to be worried, and his middleweight return should be a successful one.

De Souza: Let’s call this a clean sweep on picks, gentlemen. Yes, Franklin will feel uncomfortable in spurts against the striking of Le, but despite a pretty “spicy” display of his martial arts in the movie The Man with The Iron Fists, Le will fall and “Ace” will prevail in Macau.

Now, mind you, I believe Le deserves more respect than he’s gotten in his UFC career. In all honesty, I consider myself one of the few who thought Wanderlei Silva would shock anyone by defeating Le at UFC 139, and I believe many underestimate that fight completely simply because Silva won and Le did not. That aside, Le looked excellent in his UFC 148 battle with Patrick Cote, in which he picked Cote apart with his signature striking artillery.

Though he showcases more striking, Le does implement more wrestling than what many have seen of the South-Vietnamese martial arts master. Also, it doesn’t hurt that Le trains with wrestlers at the American Kickboxing Academy, so he does have that working to his advantage in terms of improving that wrestling game of his further.

Naturally, we know Franklin all too well. He’s a humble fighter who never has to talk trash to sell fights, and he’s a jack of all trades. If anyone wants to strike, he’ll oblige. If anyone wants to grapple, he’ll take it to the ground with them. Regardless of where the fight goes, Franklin aims for excitement as he looks to do his job on fight night.

As stated before, Franklin will have fits with Le on the feet. Though Le could very well outwrestle Franklin and take a decision, Le will look to make this fight as exciting as possible while aiming for Franklin’s jaw. However, Franklin’s left hand will catch Le first and turn in a late third-round TKO win in what should be another “Fight of The Night” contender.

Preliminary Card
WW: David Mitchell (11-2) vs. Hyun Gyu Lim (10-3-1)

De Souza: David Mitchell has seen defeat in his past two UFC outings, but he steps in for Marcelo Guimaraes to welcome Hyun Gyu Lim into the Octagon. Lim rides a five-fight winning streak that includes impressive wins in Pacific Xtreme Combat, as well as the Japanese-based Heat promotion, M-1 Global and Deep. Mitchell may have his job on the line here, but the sting of a first UFC loss will not sit well with Lim. Give me Lim in an impressive UFC debut, regardless of how long it lasts, and I honestly would not expect it to last longer than the midway point of the second round.

Carey: Sorry Dale, but I think you’ve got this one all wrong. Mitchell hasn’t claimed a UFC win yet, but his performance against Paulo Thiago at UFC 134 proved he deserved one last shot at earning a UFC victory, and I don’t think he lets that opportunity slip by. Lim may end up being a quality fighter in the welterweight division, but he hasn’t exactly set the world on fire with his level of competition, and the possibility of Octagon jitters are also hovering over his head. Sure, Mitchell’s struggled to gain his footing inside the Octagon, but the third time will be the charm for the American as he should be able to out-grapple his Korean counterpart and score himself a submission win.

Reinert: I’ve got to side with Vince on this as well. As I’ve said, I tend to favor fighters who have more experience in the Octagon, and that advantage goes to Mitchell this time around. Both of his UFC losses have been by decision, and they were his first two pro defeats. I see him paying it forward to the newcomer Lim with a submission victory.

BW: Jeff Hougland (10-5) vs. Takeya Mizugaki (15-7-2)

Carey: The last few UFC cards have been filled with refugee match-ups from the canceled UFC 151 event, and that trend isn’t stopping in Macau. Jeff Hougland and Takeya Mizugaki were originally set to fight on the September card, and they’ll finally get a chance to earn a paycheck on Saturday’s preliminary card. Hougland was absolutely throttled by Yves Jabouin in his last outing, and there’s really no reason to think he can hang with a talent veteran in Mizugaki here.
Mizugaki is well-rounded and incredibly tough to finish. He’ll earn an easy victory here.

Reinert: I don’t think this fight is actually so easy to call. Hougland might have lost his most recent fight, but prior to that he rattled off nine straight victories. Mizugaki is 5-5 in his last ten fights and most recently lost a decision to Chris Cariaso. I see this fight going the distance, and if it spends any time on the ground, Hougland should emerge victorious.

De Souza: I agree with Eric in saying that Mizugaki-Hougland doesn’t prove itself as an easy fight to call, but while Hougland did lose to Jabouin recently, I do disagree with how that fight with Cariaso ended for Mizugaki. In any event, Mizugaki will aim to return to the win column and so will Hougland. Both men do not go down without a fight, so I expect this to be a nightmare for the judges in attendance, but I like Mizugaki’s odds of walking out with a split decision if he can keep this fight away from the ground.

MW: Tom DeBlass (7-1) vs. Riki Fukuda (18-6)

Reinert: Tom DeBlass was undefeated before running into Cyrille Diabate in his UFC debut in April. Even still, he only lost by majority decision. Meanwhile, he owns nearly equal numbers of victories by KO, submission and decision. Riki Fukuda had a lot of success in Japan early in his career, but has gone just 1-2 in the UFC. Each of his three fights has gone the distance, and that’s the route this one will likely go as well. I see Fukuda coming out on top here to get back on the winning path.

De Souza: I’ll say it out loud: Some say Fukuda sports a 1-2 Octagon record, but I maintain that Fukuda owns a 2-1 record, and we all know how that goes. Anyway, DeBlass appears to have the makings of a man who doesn’t mind going the distance, and he also appears to know how to find a finish despite losing his UFC debut. Count on Fukuda getting the itch to finish this one, as he gets DeBlass against the cage and wears him out before putting his striking to excellent use and earning a TKO stoppage, thus spoiling DeBlass’ middleweight debut.

Carey: Fukada is much better than his UFC record indicates, and as Dale mentioned, he got completely screwed out of a decision win back in his Octagon debut. Horrible judging aside, it seems like this is Fukada’s chance to prove his worth in the UFC, and a win over DeBlass will at least save him from the unemployment line after this weekend. It won’t be pretty, and DeBlass will make things tough towards the end of the fight, but Fukada is walking away with a unanimous decision here.

FlyW: John Lineker (19-6) vs. Yasuhiro Urushitani (19-5-6)

Carey: The UFC desperately needs to give the flyweight division some exposure, and leaving two of the better fighters in the division on the untelevised prelims isn’t going to help get fans behind the 125-pound fighters. Yasuhiro Urushitani was last seen getting knocked out by Joseph Benavidez in March, but prior to that he was considered one of the best fighters in the weight class and shouldn’t have fallen very far down the ladder after losing to the consensus No. 2 fighter in division. John Lineker had a bit more success in his UFC debut, earning a “Fight of the Night” bonus in a loss to Louis Gaudinot, but he seriously needs a win here if he wants to be taken seriously at flyweight. I’m taking Urushitani by close decision here, but I wouldn’t be all that surprised to see it go the other way.

De Souza: I can’t help but think this fight will deliver some of the most intense action on this card, but then again, I take a liking to flyweights. Anyway, Urushitani maintains his reputation as a consistent consensus top-10 flyweight, while Lineker turned heads against Gaudinot. Expect both men to do the same here, and while I agree with Vince about this potentially turning in a close decision, I’m going to say that the decision goes Lineker’s way.

Reinert: Ditto to Vince’s comments about needing to give the 125ers more exposure, especially considering that every fighter on the UFC’s thus far meager flyweight roster is at an elite level. Urushitani looked completely overmatched against Benavidez, but this likely speaks more to Benavidez’s talent than a lack thereof for the Japanese fighter. Lineker, on the other hand, was taken to the distance, but by the lower caliber Gaudinot. I see Urushitani taking this fight in a back-and-forth decision to set up a possible rematch with Benavidez down the road.

Top Photo: Rich Franklin (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Eric Reinert
Staff Writer

Eric Reinert has been writing about mixed martial arts since 2010. Outside the world of caged combat, Eric has spent time as a news reporter, speechwriter, campaign strategist, tech support manager, landscaper and janitor. He lives in Madison, Wis.