Well, it’s official. The UFC has put together the most lackluster and least significant card in its history.

There are no title implications in any of the fights, and there’s a lack of big names and star power. Not all of the blame can fall on the UFC though. While it did book a completely underwhelming undercard, it was supposed to be anchored by an exciting main event. If only a pesky cut hadn’t gotten in the way.

UFC on Fuel TV 9 was originally scheduled to feature a main-event fight between top contender Alexander Gustafsson and the highly regarded Gegard Mousasi. Unfortunately, Gustafsson suffered a cut over his eye and was not medically cleared to fight. Considering the complications of obtaining a visa and arranging travel, the search for a replacement for a card in Sweden with less than a week to go was limited. Therefore, the UFC is welcoming Ilir Latifi, a teammate of Gustafsson, to make his debut against Mousasi in the main event.

The co-main event is also lacking in appeal, with former TUF winner and coach of TUF Smashes Ross Pearson facing off against Ryan Couture, the son of UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture. While Pearson has earned the respect of UFC fans, this is Couture’s debut in the organization. And whereas a fighter like Mousasi has become a star outside the UFC, the younger Couture never was even on the main card of a Strikeforce show.

Although this card leaves a lot to desired on paper, you can never tell which events are going to produce great fights. Two guys with little name recognition may be hungry and willing to take more risks than top stars in the promotion.

UFC on Fuel TV 9 takes place on Saturday, April 6, at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden. The main card airs live at 2 p.m. ET on Fuel TV and the preliminary card can be seen live on Facebook and YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET.

The MMA Corner’s Eric Reinert, Dan Kuhl and Richard Wilcoxon gathered to break down the entire 13-fight card in this edition of the Round Table.

FW: Akira Corassani (10-3) vs. Robert Peralta (16-3)

Kuhl: Even though Robbie Peralta and Akira Corassani have relatively young careers on the UFC stage, both of these guys have been battling as pro MMA fighters since 2007. In their combined 34 bouts, the biggest difference is their ability to finish.

Peralta (R) (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

Peralta is a dominant striker. He’s undefeated in nearly four years, taking out six of his last 10 opponents using his hands. Peralta has more big-stage appearances, with his last four fights taking place in Strikeforce or the UFC. His Strikeforce fight ended with him upsetting Dream featherweight champ Hiroyuki Takaya, who went on to defend that title two more times. Peralta’s speed and power are very impressive for a featherweight.

Corassani is more of a distance fighter, with most of his wins coming by decision, an outcome he has yet to lose by. Other than his appearance on TUF, where he actually had a pretty good showing, he has only fought in the UFC once, in which he barely squeaked by via a split decision over Andy Ogle on Ogle’s home turf in England.

Corassani is a Swede, which is his biggest advantage in this fight. Other than that, the scales are leaning toward the heavy-handed Peralta. I just don’t see how Corassani is going to be able to pull this one off. He’s a great fighter, but Peralta will probably prove to be way too fast for him.

I have Peralta taking this one by TKO in round one.

Corassani (Sherdog)

Reinert: Peralta is looking like a pretty decent featherweight prospect. He hasn’t lost since July 2009 and has finished nearly every opponent placed in front of him since that time. He’s unbeaten in the UFC and most recently won in astounding fashion by knocking out Jason Young in just 23 seconds in September.

Corassani has had a bit of a rougher go of it in the last few years. He made it to the semifinal round during his season of The Ultimate Fighter, but didn’t actually make his UFC debut until several months after the season’s finale due to multiple injuries. He finally was able to compete in the Octagon in September 2012, when he defeated Ogle.

Ultimately, Peralta’s impressive performances and comparative lack of injuries give him the edge for me. Corassani looked tough on TUF, but his inconsistent ability to actually compete in the last several months makes him difficult to back.

Wilcoxon: Eric did a great job of breaking this fight down, so I don’t have a lot to add. Corassani became known to fans on TUF, where the Swedish-born fighter made it to the semifinals. Although he has compiled wins throughout his career, he hasn’t exactly wowed the fans.

Peralta, on the other hand, has been impressive. He has compiled 14 stoppages, most of those in the form of TKO. I think he will add one more to his record on Saturday.

FW: Diego Brandao (16-8) vs. Pablo Garza (12-3)

Reinert: One of the more interesting aspects of MMA is the multitude of different body shapes that appear in each weight class. This variety is exemplified best on this card in the featherweight contest between Diego Brandao (5-foot-7) and Pablo Garza (6-foot-1).

Garza (L) (Paul Thachter/Fight! Magazine)

Brandao entered the UFC with bad intentions, finishing each of his four opponents on his season of The Ultimate Fighter by knockout or submission. His career in the promotion experienced a hiccup in his next fight, a loss to Darren Elkins, but a decision victory over Joey Gambino in October seems to have righted the ship.

In Garza, Brandao faces a much taller fighter whose most recent fight ended with a win over former featherweight title challenger Mark Hominick. He’ll definitely want to keep Brandao at a distance to avoid the Brazilian’s powerful strikes, and if he gets the fight to the ground, his submission skills should work to his advantage.

That said, I’m going with the more explosive Brandao in this fight. Look for him to negate Garza’s height advantage by closing the distance quickly and punishing Garza from the inside. I see this one ending with an uppercut to put Garza away.

Wilcoxon: My first instinct was to call this fight a classic grappler vs. striker match, based on how the fighters tend to finish fights. Brandao has won nine fights via knockout and Garza has finished seven fighters on the ground. But a closer look shows I was wrong.

Garza is one of the tallest featherweights in the UFC. He will enjoying a four-inch reach advantage in this fight. However, his goal will still be to get this fight to the ground. And that may be Garza’s downfall.

Brandao (L) secures an armbar (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

Brandao is an explosive striker who is always looking to finish his opponent. However, he is also a BJJ black belt who has only lost via submission once in his career. When you add that Brandao is coached by the master of game-planning, Greg Jackson, it is hard to imagine a way he loses.

Kuhl: I really like this match-up of former TUF contestants, because both of them have had careers under the Zuffa banner that have sort of flown under the radar.

Garza’s shot at TUF was actually cut short when he lost to Michael Johnson by decision in the fight to enter the house. Shortly after, while the season was still airing, he took a fight on five days’ notice against then-undefeated Chinese fighter Tiequan Zhang. Zhang won that fight by submission, but nobody can ever judge Garza’s heart after taking on a guy who had finished all 13 previous opponents. Garza is a dynamic and explosive fighter that is not afraid to take the fight wherever it goes. He’s got some crazy knees and chokes, and I actually feel his length is a huge advantage.

As my colleagues pointed out, Brandao has a lot in his favor. He is proficient in BJJ and hard-hitting, and, of course, has the master gamer in his corner. However, Garza’s reach advantage poses a big problem for Brandao wherever the fight goes.

In the clinch, if he can get there, Brandao will be really close to Garza’s devastating knees and elbows. If the fight goes to the ground, black belt in BJJ or not, Brandao will have to battle Garza’s long limbs, which, in a grappling setting, I liken to Carlos Condit or Nate Diaz.

When it comes down to brass tacks, Garza has never been knocked out and has only tapped twice, but Brandao has gotten knocked out four times and submitted once. My point being that Garza is not a guy that gets finished easily.

I really want to agree with Eric and Richard on this one, but I’m going against the grain and taking Garza by submission

BW: Mike Easton (13-2) vs. Brad Pickett (22-7)

Wilcoxon: Sometimes a fight comes down to hype versus substance, and that is what we have here.

Easton (top) (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

Mike Easton came into the UFC in a flurry of hype. His incredible physique and strength were completely new to the bantamweight division. To compliment his raw physical power, Easton earned his BJJ black belt under Lloyd Irvin. However, despite his unique attributes and the hype surrounding him, I have not been impressed by his fights.

Brad Pickett was a longtime fixture on the UK circuit before breaking into the UFC. He is the former Cage Rage and Ultimate Challenge MMA featherweight champion. Pickett is a well-rounded fighter with a background in boxing, but he has also demonstrated great ability on the ground, even controlling Demetrious Johnson when they fought.

Under the best of circumstances, I think the fight is an uphill battle for Easton. He will clearly have the strength and power edge, but I don’t think those will be enough. Pickett has an edge in technique and experience, and he will even hold an edge in wrestling and punching power. When you mix in the mental distractions of all the drama surrounding Easton’s close friend and mentor, Lloyd Irvin, I think this will be a fairly one-sided affair. Pickett either wins with a late rear-naked choke or via a unanimous decision.

Kuhl: Easton has had a crazy little run in the UFC. While he does have black belts in both BJJ and taekwondo, I agree with Richard that his fights have been slightly less than impressive. He was able to rack up a 3-1 record with some short-notice opponents peppered in there, and his loss came by way of Raphael Assuncao, who took the fight on short notice. It takes dedication and skill to earn those black belts, but I just haven’t seen anything amazing from him yet on the big stage.

“One Punch” Pickett has been extremely impressive in his Zuffa run. With eight fights between the UFC and WEC, the Englishman has earned four “of the Night” bonuses, and in his entire career, he has only been knocked out once. Training out of American Top Team’s main gym in Coconut Creek, Fla., one can be sure that he will not be afraid of the Lloyd Irvin black belt in the grappling arena. Pickett’s last fight, which he lost by an extremely narrow split decision, was against fellow WEC veteran and top-five bantamweight Eddie Wineland,.

Pickett (Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog)

Easton has quite a bit of hype surrounding him, but he just hasn’t faced anybody at Pickett’s level, and Pickett will be a tough cookie no matter where the fight goes. I have Pickett taking this one in a hard-fought unanimous decision.

Reinert: Expect both Easton and Pickett to be motivated to thrill during this fight, as both are looking to bounce back from losses in their most recent fights. Pickett remains a top-10 bantamweight, but he is likely two or three wins away from a title opportunity. Easton, meanwhile, finds himself just outside the bantamweight elite, but a win over Pickett would definitely put him back in the championship picture.

This is one of the more difficult fights on the card to call. Pickett has the experience advantage, but he’s also 34 years old and has been absorbing punishment for the better part of a decade. Easton, although possessing less in-cage experience, has also never been finished during his career.

All things considered, I’m going with Easton by decision. I expect this one to be a back-and-forth battle, but I see Easton coming out on top.

HW: Philip De Fries (9-2) vs. Matt Mitrione (5-2)

Reinert: Matt Mitrione was, for a brief time, a heavyweight who looked like he might actually be able to make an impact in the UFC. A former NFL defensive lineman, Mitrione certainly has the physical gifts to excel in MMA, but his odd behavior on The Ultimate Fighter led some to question whether he had the mind for the sport. Mitrione went 5-0 in his first professional fights (all in the UFC), which quieted many of those critics, but he is currently in the midst of a two-fight losing streak.

Mitrione (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Philip De Fries also went undefeated early in his career, notching eight pro victories (including one in the UFC) before ever tasting defeat. Since that time, De Fries has gone 1-2 in the promotion, losing by knockout/TKO to Stipe Miocic and Todd Duffee and submitting fellow Brit Oli Thompson. He’s definitely a ground specialist, with eight of his nine professional wins coming by tapout.

With that in mind, the advantage here probably lies with Mitrione. Four of his five wins are by knockout or TKO, and he’s never been submitted. Granted, he’s never faced someone with as grappling-heavy a style as De Fries, but if he’s able to keep the fight standing, Mitrione likely takes this one inside the distance.

Kuhl: This fight leaves less to the imagination than any fight I have ever analyzed, literally.

Mitrione’s stint on TUF was embarrassing. He complained about working hard, or working at all for that matter, and he appeared to just not have the heart of a UFC fighter. Then, between his first fight against Marcus Jones to his fifth fight against Christian Morecraft, his attitude and work ethic appeared to improve greatly. Against Morecraft, he actually looked like a crisp, solid striker. He followed that up by going the distance with Cheick Kongo, and nobody can fault him for dropping his last fight to Roy Nelson, because that guy has cinder blocks for both a head and hands. That being said, Mitrione is only good on his feet. If this hits the mat, he’s done.

De Fries (top) works to finish (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

De Fries has had quite the opposite career. He has tremendous work ethic, is amazingly only a purple belt in BJJ, and if he doesn’t get knocked out in the first round, he will absolutely tap out just about any heavyweight put in front of him.

Barring a first-round knockout by Mitrione, which probably won’t happen, I have De Fries taking this one by easy submission.

Wilcoxon: The term squash match popped into my mind when I saw this fight. Both guys are on the chopping block—Mitrione has lost back-to-back fights and De Fries is just 1-2 in his last three. But the UFC did not do one of these guys any favors.

Mitrione rose to fame on the heavyweight season of TUF. He tends to win by TKO, but he has been working on his ground game. He is athletic, as his NFL background might suggest. Although Mitrione lost to Nelson and Kongo in his last two, he tends to feast on lower-level heavyweights.

Mitrione should easily win this fight. He loses to high-level competition, but destroys fighters the level of De Fries. To make matters worse, Mitrione has decent wrestling and good submission defense, whereas all of De Fries’ losses come via knockout. Mitrione will add to that total in the first round.

LW: Ryan Couture (6-1) vs. Ross Pearson (14-6)

Kuhl: Ross Pearson is one heckuva way for Zuffa to introduce Ryan Couture to UFC competition. Pearson is a veteran of the promotion, having first stepped into the Octagon in 2009, after coming off the ninth season of The Ultimate Fighter.

Pearson (James Law/Heavy)

Ryan may be the son of the highly decorated MMA icon Randy Couture, but that is pretty much where my comparison ends. In fact, I don’t feel it’s right to even go down that road, as it’s not fair to Ryan as an individual.

He wrestled in high school before going to college to earn a degree in mathematics. After college, he worked in the banking industry, before ultimately turning to MMA, first entering the cage as a pro at 27 years old. He racked up a 6-1 pro record, all on the Strikeforce stage. His most notable wins were his last two—closely contested split decisions over K.J. Noons and Joe Duarte. He has two submission wins, one TKO and three decision victories, none of which were unanimous.

Pearson has a very different background. The Brit holds belts in taekwondo, judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and he came into TUF with an 8-3 record, dating back to 2004. He is a bomb-throwing submission artist who only goes to decision about 25 percent of the time. The only problem is that in his 6-3 run in the UFC, he has gone to decision five times, and his aggressive nature will get him clipped when he goes forward with reckless abandon.

I just feel that Pearson has way too much experience and way too much power for Couture to pick this one up by a split decision. I have Pearson getting back to his roots and subbing Couture by the end of round two.

Wilcoxon: Couture is a MMA legacy. The son of a UFC Hall of Famer, he is making his debut in the promotion where his father was a legend. The younger Couture was brought along slowly, gradually taking on tougher and tougher opponents.

On the other hand, Pearson may not have the name value Couture does, but he does have the ability. Not only is Pearson a former TUF winner, but he also coached on the reality series. He is an extremely well-rounded fighter.

Couture (Jerry Chavez/The MMA Corner)

Couture has recently struggled with the tougher level of competition. His last two bouts were ruled split decision victories, but there is no doubt that he really lost to Noons. Pearson is another step up the talent ladder, and Couture isn’t ready. Pearson wins easily in a one-sided affair.

Reinert: Pearson has never been more popular after a successful coaching stint on The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes opposite George Sotiropoulos, who he also defeated by TKO in December. The win helped propel Pearson back into relevance in the lightweight division after going 3-3 in his previous six bouts and spending some time at featherweight. His reward? Facing the second most famous member of the famous Couture family in Saturday night’s co-main event.

Couture’s name has no doubt helped him establish himself in the MMA world, but his 6-1 record has shown that he’s a legitimate fighter. He’ll likely always be looked at sideways until he does something to somehow remove himself from his father’s considerable shadow, and a win over someone like Pearson would push him in the right direction.

Unfortunately for Couture, Saturday is when his winning streak will come to an end. Pearson is too well-rounded a fighter not to handedly defeat the younger Couture, and in so doing he will move himself ever closer to a potential title opportunity in a crowded lightweight division.

LHW: Ilir Latifi (7-2) vs. Gegard Mousasi (33-3-2)

Wilcoxon: The injury to Alexander Gustafsson obviously takes a toll on this fight. Gustafsson only needed a win here over Gegard Mousasi to cement himself as the next contender for the title. Without his presence, the fight does not have the same significance, but it can still be a fun bout.

Latifi (GLORY)

On paper, this fight is a squash match. Mousasi has nearly every advantage over Ilir Latifi that comes to mind. He has significantly more experience against better fighters on bigger stages. He had a full training camp and plenty of time to prepare and cut weight properly. Mousasi stands five inches taller and will have a significant reach advantage. And that is all before we even get into Mousasi’s skills. He is a versatile striker with a kickboxing background and knockout power. He holds a black belt in judo and has shown a solid submission game.

Despite all of those advantages, Latifi has a shot. His biggest strength is Mousasi’s biggest weakness: wrestling. Latifi has a long wrestling background and has effectively transitioned it into MMA. He won the Junior Nordic Championships in Greco-Roman wrestling in 2001 and finished second the following year. That skill set mixed with his physical strength will give Latifi a shot at taking Mousasi down and keeping him there.

If we were setting betting odds here, Latifi’s skill set and strength would definitely move the odds a little closer than what I have seen posted. However, we aren’t setting betting odds, and the probability is still that sometime within the five rounds, Mousasi lands a vicious blow and wins the bout.

Mousasi (Jerry Chavez/The MMA Corner)

Reinert: The underdog-lover in me wants to believe that somehow, some way, Latifi could pull off a win, but he’s making his UFC debut on short notice in a main-event fight against one of the world’s best light heavyweights. It ain’t happening.

Mousasi by quick TKO.

Kuhl: The injury bug strikes again, and, in an already seemingly lackluster lineup, this replacement was definitely a surprise. The one thing to keep in mind is that it is already fight week, and they had to go in-country, because visa and travel issues alone immediately narrowed most replacement possibilities.

It’s not really fair to pick on Latifi too much. In fact, he deserves a huge round of applause for stepping up against the veteran Mousasi, who I already had winning over top contender Gustafsson. It’s a huge bummer for Mousasi, because if, and when, he wins, it won’t boost his stock as much as it would have. But if by some freak occurrence he loses, that’s going to be detrimental to his run at the UFC title.

As Richard pointed out, Latifi’s strength lies solely in his wrestling and his power. But I actually score Mousasi as a pretty darn good wrestler for a guy with no background in that fighting modality. Mousasi is very dangerous on the ground, and even if Latifi gets the fight down, there’s no guarantee that he won’t get tapped or pounded out quickly.

I have Mousasi taking this one by first-round TKO.

Preliminary Card
WW: Papy Abedi (8-2) vs. Besam Yousef (6-1)

Kuhl: Papy Abedi versus Besam Yousef is certainly a “fight for your job” type of affair, and, frankly, even after one of them wins, they could both easily get cut. Abedi has never fought outside of Europe, even though he has fought twice in UFC action, and he’s 0-2 in the promotion. He’s a black belt in judo and a purple belt in BJJ, yet most of his wins are by TKO and both of his losses are by submission. Yousef has never fought outside Sweden, and his one UFC fight was a loss to Simeon Thoresen, who’s since been cut for stringing together two losses. That all being said, sometimes these fights end up being the best of the night. I think Abedi will finally utilize his ground skills to take this by submission.

Reinert: This is one of the only fights on the card to actually feature two Swedish-based fighters. Both fighters are coming off losses, with Abedi having dropped his last two and Yousef his last one, but they were undefeated for eight and six fights, respectively, before suffering their careers’ first defeats. I’m going with Abedi here, just because of his greater level of Octagon experience and comparatively more difficult opposition.

Wilcoxon: Could the cigar-smoking tough guy finally get his first UFC win? Yes. Yousef has an inflated record. He may have had a six-fight winning streak, but that was against inferior competition. I look for Abedi to knock him out early and pick up his first UFC victory.

MW: Michael Kuiper (12-1) vs. Tom Lawlor (8-5)

Reinert: This is one of those fights between an up-and-coming fighter and one whose time in the Octagon may be coming to an end. Michael Kuiper is a 23-year-old judoka with a 12-1 pro record. Eleven of his wins have come by stoppage, and he most recently finished Jared Hamman by TKO at UFC 150. Tom Lawlor, despite being a fan favorite, has not fared so well in recent years, going 2-4 in his last six fights. He likely needs a win to keep his job in the UFC, but expect Kuiper to put the kibosh on those plans.

Wilcoxon: Lawlor may be best known for his weigh-in costumes and entrances into the arenas. He has a strong wrestling background and has been spending time with Joe Lauzon to work on his BJJ. Kuiper has a black belt in judo. I am leaning towards Lawlor in a minor upset. He out-strikes Kuiper and uses his wrestling to score needed points on his way to a decision.

Kuhl: Kuiper is a complete animal. Although his promotional debut netted him his first loss in a three-round fight with Rafael Natal, I’m convinced that was just a cobweb fight. The kid is bad as hell and definitely showed his intentions in his drubbing of Hamman on Hamman’s home turf. Lawlor is a good guy and a great fighter, but he has had a fairly lackluster UFC career. I have the youngster taking this one by TKO.

WW: Ben Alloway (12-3) vs. Ryan LaFlare (7-0)

Wilcoxon: Ryan LaFlare is a UFC newcomer. He is the Ring of Combat welterweight champ and has finished every one of his fights. He is a versatile striker and possesses a solid ground game. LaFlare did lose over two years to a wrist injury, but he returned to action with a victory in January. Ben Alloway is an Australian who was on The Ultimate Fighter: Smashes and won his UFC debut. LaFlare is too versatile for Alloway and will eventually catch the Aussie in a scramble. LaFlare via submission.

Kuhl: I will disagree slightly with Richard about LaFlare’s versatility being too much for Alloway. The Aussie may have all three losses by submission, but he also has four wins by submission, in addition to six knockouts. He may have losses, but the last one was two years ago and he is on a 6-0 run. LaFlare has only fought on one stage in his pro career and never fought outside of Atlantic City, let alone the United States. Alloway has fought battles on three continents, with Europe becoming the fourth. I have Alloway taking this one by TKO.

Reinert: While both of these fighters have demonstrated their offensive abilities both standing and on the ground, Alloway is the only one of the two to experience defeat in the cage, losing three times by submission. With most of the other factors in this fight being toss-ups, I’ll agree with Richard here and pick LaFlare to extend his winning streak by submission.

FW: Marcus Brimage (6-1) vs. Conor McGregor (12-2)

Reinert: This fight pits two streaking featherweights against each other and has the potential to be one of the best contests on the preliminary card. Marcus Brimage is 6-1 overall and has gone 3-0 in the UFC, most recently defeating Jimy Hettes by decision at UFC 152. Conor McGregor, meanwhile, is riding an eight-fight winning streak, but is making his UFC debut. I’m going with Octagon experience here and picking Brimage to notch another UFC decision victory.

Kuhl: Every once in a while, I find myself saying, “Where has Marcus Brimage been?”, and then he pops back on the radar. Brimage is one of those fighters that shows up every six months, and when he does, he wins, mostly by decision. Promotional newcomer McGregor is a crazy-talented Irishman that has never been out of round two, almost always winning by beatdown. In this one, as much as I like Brimage’s run, I have McGregor finishing by first-round TKO.

Wilcoxon: McGregor is truly one of the biggest and most exciting Irish prospects the MMA world has seen. He held both the featherweight and lightweight championships simultaneously. But like with all UK prospects, wrestling will always be the unanswered question until they prove they can handle it. This fight will either be a decision win by Brimage or stoppage by McGregor. I am going with the latter. McGregor wins by first-round TKO.

WW: Adlan Amagov (11-2-1) vs. Chris Spang (5-1)

Kuhl: In this battle of promotional newcomers, we have Adlan Amagov, a devastating striker who also happened to win a gold medal at the 2012 NAGA championships, versus Chris Spang, a Swedish native who went 2-1 in Strikeforce action but only has six pro fights under his belt, in addition to a stint in pro boxing that led to two decision wins. Both former Strikeforce competitors are coming off impressive TKO victories, but Amagov definitely is a more proven fighter on all levels. Even though Spang is returning home for this one, I have Amagov by TKO.

Wilcoxon: This should be a fun fight for the fans, since both of these guys like to stand and trade. Spang possesses a boxing background and will be competing in front of his hometown crowd. Those advantages are too much for Amagov to overcome. Spang wins by a second-round TKO.

Reinert: With both fighters making their UFC debuts in this bout, expect an action-packed contest between two fighters with a lot to prove. Each fought to mixed results in Strikeforce. I’m going to choose Amagov here, with his more extensive professional experience, including a fight with (albeit a loss to) Robbie Lawler.

MW: Adam Cella (4-0) vs. Tor Troeng (15-4-1)

Wilcoxon: Two TUF fighters from the current season airing on television got the invitation to compete on a UFC card before the season even wraps. Adam Cella is a kickboxer who wants to keep the fight standing. Tor Troeng is actually the most well-rounded fighter on this season of TUF. His weakness is that he is small for the division and can be bullied by bigger fighters. Cella is that type of fighter. Troeng’s future may lie at welterweight, but he will pick up a middleweight win over Cella. Troeng wins via submission.

Reinert: I agree with Richard. Troeng is not only the more well-rounded fighter, but also the more experienced, with 20 pro fights to Cella’s five. Troeng will also have the home-arena advantage, so to speak, as he fights in front of a friendly Swedish crowd. One also wonders if Cella is suffering any residual psychological effects from his brutal knockout at the hands (or foot, as it were) of Uriah Hall. Too many things working against Cella here, and I’m going with Troeng by decision.

Kuhl: While Cella’s infamous nap, kindly delivered by Hall, was not as surprising to me as it was to many others, what really surprises me is that he made it onto TUF after defeating three guys that have a collective record of 0-6 and one guy who, at 16-21, was on a 1-11 run against regional opponents. It really makes me wonder how guys like Rick Glenn and Joe Ellenberger, with a combined record of 27-3, get overlooked after trying out. Troeng, on the other hand, is a well-rounded veteran who is 11-1-1 in the last five years with eight finishes in that time. Troeng is absolutely going to dominate this one, finishing Cella by the end of round two.

LW: Michael Johnson (12-7) vs. Reza Madadi (12-3)

Kuhl: Reza Madadi versus Michael Johnson is a match-up that carries a “striker versus grappler” undertone. I don’t know what it is about Blackzilian Michael Johnson, the striker, that worries me. That being said, he’s a very talented fighter with a great camp behind him. Madadi, the grappler, had a nice run beating some former UFC guys in the Superior Challenge promotion a couple years ago, but outside of his choke of Yoislandy Izquierdo last April, he hasn’t done anything very significant since 2009. Johnson has had seven fights in the UFC now, and he is well aware that a loss to Madadi could spell the end of his UFC run. I’ve got Johnson bringing out the superior striking to take this one by TKO.

Reinert: Johnson might have more fights in the UFC, but Madadi has fought (and beaten) his fair share of UFC vets outside the promotion. Both fighters are looking to rebound from recent losses, and with the abundance of UFC fighters at 155 pounds, there are likely contract implications in play as well. I’m going with Madadi here, since he owns a number of wins by submission, an area in which Johnson has been shown to need work.

Wilcoxon: I’m going the opposite way from Eric, by taking Johnson. While it is true that Johnson has lost via submission a number of times and Madadi has won the majority of his fights by this means, that doesn’t tell the whole story. Johnson should be the more athletic fighter, he will win the stand-up, and Madadi hasn’t fared well with the judges. Johnson will keep this fight standing and will win a decision.

Top Photo: Gegard Mousasi (top) (Jerry Chavez/The MMA Corner)

About The Author

Richard Wilcoxon
Staff Writer

An East Coast native, Richard Wilcoxon grew up a die hard fan of traditional team sports. In the early 1990's, he stumbled onto the sport of MMA and has been hooked ever since. He started writing about the sport on his Sporting News member blog in 2005 where he worked to spread his passion for the sport. He eventually became an official staff writer for Sporting News' "The Rumble" MMA/boxing blog before joining The MMA Corner.