The UFC is set to take over Toronto this weekend with UFC 165, where light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is stepping back into the cage for the first time since his dominant first-round victory over Chael Sonnen this spring.

Jones will defend his 205-pound title on Sept. 21 in the main event of the night, taking on Swedish up-and-comer Alexander Gustafsson. Gustafsson is riding a six-fight winning streak into his first title opportunity and is looking to build off his dominant wins over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Thiago Silva that earned him the shot at the belt.

Also on the card is a bantamweight title fight between interim champion Renan Barao and surging contender Eddie Wineland. With injured champion Dominick Cruz targeting an early 2014 comeback, the winner of this bout could find themselves in a title-unification fight within the next six months, making this a huge match-up at 135 pounds.

The preliminary card kicks off on Facebook at 6 p.m. ET, before heading over to Fox Sports 1 for the remainder of the prelims at 8 p.m. ET. The pay-per-view main card follows at 10 p.m. ET. The MMA Corner’s Vince Carey, Joe Chacon and Trey Downey break down the entire card in this edition of the Round Table.

LW: Pat Healy (29-16) vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov (20-0)

Chacon: Two very well-rounded and successful fighters come together for an exciting match-up to start the main-card portion of UFC 165.

Pat Healy is back after a 90-day suspension following a positive drug test for marijuana that was taken in conjunction with his fight against Jim Miller. Not only was his fight changed to a no-contest, but he also lost his “Submission of the Night” bonus. All that aside, Healy brings in 46 career fights with him against the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov. Of those 46 fights, only two have come in the Octagon, in which Healy is 0-1 with that one no-contest.

Nurmagomedov is a tremendous talent, and it’s expected he will showcase his outstanding wrestling skills to control the fight against Healy. Although Healy is also known for his wrestling, he’s going to have a tough time keeping up with the speed and athleticism of Nurmagomedov.

Look for Healy to leave himself exposed and Nurmagomedov to make a statement by going 5-0 in the UFC with a first-round submission victory.

Downey: Above any other fight on this card, this should be the best match-up. Both of these guys are grinders who love to push the pace.

Both men also had the biggest performances of their career in their last outings. Few expected Healy to defeat Miller, and even less expected him to earn that victory by submission. Nurmagomedov also had his most impressive performance in his complete domination of Abel Trujillo from bell to bell.

As Joe said, some of the luster of Healy’s win was taken away with the positive drug test. The UFC didn’t set Healy back too much, as he is getting a fight against an undefeated opponent in Nurmagomedov. The one clear advantage that Healy has is in experience. This is the best opportunity Healy has had to enter true title contention, and he will bring the fight to Nurmagomedov more than any of his last opponents.

Healy is a great fighter, but I view Nurmagomedov as a future title challenger. “The Eagle” and Healy have very similar strengths, but Nurmagomedov is just better in all of those areas. The other difference is the fact that Healy has shown a tendency to put himself in bad spots. Meanwhile, I haven’t seen many moments of weakness from Nurmagomedov. The Russian wins another dominating unanimous decision.

Carey: There’s no doubt that Nurmagomedov is one of the best lightweight prospects in the UFC, but I don’t know if my fellow panelists are giving Healy enough credit here. As great as “The Eagle” looked against Trujillo, I’m still having flashbacks from his fight with Gleison Tibau last year, where the young Russian looked to be in serious danger of losing his “0.”

Nurmagomedov is a fantastic wrestler, but he had a lot of trouble with Tibau due to the latter’s overall size and takedown defense. To be fair, Tibau does have the best takedown defense in UFC history at 91.90 percent, but “The Eagle” looked a bit lost on his feet against an average striker in Tibau.

If Nurmagomedov is unable to score a few takedowns and get the fight to the mat, suddenly we’re looking at a wide-open fight. Healy definitely has stand-up skills that would at least be considered serviceable, and while Nurmagomedov has shown a few holes in his striking game, he’s also shown flashes of brilliance, especially in his knockout win over Thiago Tavares earlier this year.

Even if Nurmagomedov gets this fight to the floor, he’s far from safe against the crafty Healy. “Bam Bam” showed off his slick grappling skills when he tapped out Jim Miller, and it will be interesting to see how the young Russian deals with such an experienced grappler on the mat.

In the end, I’m going to agree with Joe and Trey by picking Nurmagomedov to win, but it’s going to be a very close fight. “The Eagle” wins by split decision in an exciting “Fight of the Night” affair and earns a spot in the top 10 for his efforts.

MW: Francis Carmont (21-7) vs. Constantinos Philippou (12-2)

Downey: Two up-and-coming middleweights will look to solidify themselves as contenders at UFC 165.

Both fighters come in riding long winning streaks. Carmont has won 10 straight and is undefeated in five UFC bouts. Philippou has won five straight after losing his UFC debut over two years ago. Although Carmont has the longer winning streak, Philippou is the higher-ranked fighter in the UFC rankings, coming in at No. 7. Carmont is looking to leapfrog Philippou into the top 10, after his last two decision victories over Tom Lawlor and Lorenz Larkin were less than impressive. Philippou is coming off a TKO victory over Tim Boetsch almost nine months ago at UFC 155.

Carmont really has a lot to prove in this bout. His last two victories went to the judges’ scorecards and many thought he could have lost both bouts. The Tristar Gym product will be fighting in front of his adopted home country, and the crowd might be just what he needs to go in for the kill.

Philippou, on the other hand, is looking at this fight as a bridge to bigger bouts. He was mentioned as a possible opponent for Michael Bisping, Vitor Belfort and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza earlier this year. An injury forced him out of the bout with Jacare, and Mark Munoz was given the Bisping fight.

Carmont is known for his boxing skill. He used the boxing to slowly break down Boetsch on the way to that third-round TKO. Many also believe that an accidental eye poke and headbutt were factors in the Boetsch fight, so Philippou will look to prove that it was no fluke.

Both fighters have something to prove in this fight, but I do not expect a finish for either fighter. I still expect Carmont to fight like he has recently, but Philippou will use his boxing to take a close decision victory.

Carey: Despite his five-fight winning streak, it’s tough to consider Carmont an actual threat in the UFC’s middleweight division right now. As Trey noted, a lot of Carmont’s UFC wins have been less than impressive, but he is getting a pretty good opportunity from the UFC here. Philippou is a top-10 ranked fighter who is being forced to step onto enemy territory against a guy who has a habit of winning razor-close decisions. Needless to say, this may be a tougher fight for Philippou than many anticipate.

Carmont has fought cautiously throughout his UFC run, usually opting to stay away from prolonged striking exchanges or wild grappling situations, and he’ll likely attempt to do the same against a solid counter-striker in Philippou. The New York-based Philippou has plenty of power in his hands, and a minor slip up from Carmont could lead to the home-crowd favorite’s night ending early.

Philippou isn’t the most aggressive fighter on the UFC roster, but he’s probably going to have to take the fight to “Limitless” if he wants to avoid being tagged from the outside by the longer Carmont. The Tristar Gym product will have at least a few inches of reach on Philippou, and since Carmont also uses his kicking game well, that reach is only going to grow inside the cage.

I’m not expecting fireworks in this one. The majority of this fight will likely involve Carmont backing up while throwing jabs and leg kicks, but at some point Philippou is going to connect with a few shots. Whether the shots hurt Carmont or just make him decide to try to take the fight to the mat, Philippou will capitalize on the opportunity and rain down some punches. He won’t get the stoppage victory he needs in order to gain a big-name opponent in his next bout, but he’ll keep his winning streak alive with a decision victory.

Chacon: This fight is going to play out just as Vince stated. Carmont fights entirely too safe, and sooner or later that fighting style catches up to you. As my colleagues have pointed out, Carmont isn’t necessarily blowing his opponents out of the water either.

The thing to look out for is the patience of Philippou. Chances are the “safety” game plan of Carmont is going to frustrate Philippou to the point where he might start to take some ill-advised chances that could put him in a bad position.

If there is a fight during which you could make a beer run, it’s going to be this one. Philippou wins via split decision.

HW: Matt Mitrione (6-2) vs. Brendan Schaub (9-3)

Carey: A lot of fans are looking forward to a fun slugfest between two former Ultimate Fighter teammates in this fight. Well, a lot of people are going to be disappointed.

Mitrione and Schaub have been willing to let their hands go in search of a big knockout in the past, but while Mitrione has only had to suffer from the after-effects of a knockout loss once, Schaub has a couple more bitter defeats on his resume.

Following back-to-back knockout losses to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Ben Rothwell, Schaub came out and completely out-grappled Lavar Johnson in his last fight, giving “Big” no chance to unload his powerful strikes. Considering how well this strategy worked out for Schaub in his last bout, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go right back to it against Mitrione, who’s still relatively untested off his back.

Mitrione isn’t the easiest fighter to get to the floor, but he does tend to let himself get controlled against the cage, something that Cheick Kongo used well to score a decision win over “Meathead” back at UFC 137. Even though these two have gotten into a bit of a war of words over the last few months, Schaub just needs to take a page out of his and Mitrione’s former TUF coach Rashad Evans’ playbook and use Mitrione’s aggressiveness to set up his explosive NFL-style takedowns.

Whether it’s on the mat or against the cage, “The Hybrid” is going to muscle his former Team Evans member around the Octagon, using his top control and pressure to score a unanimous decision win.

Chacon: Vince nailed it right on the head. Schaub is going to talk a big game about wanting to knock out Mitrione, but there is no reason to believe Schaub is going to spend more than a few moments standing up before going for the takedown.

Schaub has the same quality of chin as Frank Mir and has already been knocked out three times in a UFC career that has spanned less than three years. Mitrione still has a solid chin and can withstand a slugfest with Schaub.

Unless Mitrione’s takedown defense has improved, Schaub is going to smother him for a three-round snoozefest. However, Schaub’s chin is so weak that it’s entirely possible for him to get caught with an uppercut on a takedown attempt. Look for that to happen somewhere in the second round. Mitrione by knockout.

Downey: This fight could go one of many different directions, as evidenced by Joe’s and Vince’s differing predictions. In fact, I could see either coming to fruition.

These two fighters have an abundance of similarities. Both fighters’ strength is their striking, both were cast members on season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter, both are former NFL players, and both have been knocked out by Roy Nelson.

My fellow panelists are right in saying that Schaub played it safe in his last fight. He chose to take Lavar Johnson to the ground for a safe victory rather than chance it on his feet. Schaub will attempt to use the same game plan in this one. I am just not sure of how well that will play out.

When “The Hybrid” entered the UFC, I believed he had the potential to be a future contender. Schaub is a solid and explosive fighter, but he has the worst possible weakness that a heavyweight can have: a questionable chin. I trust Mitrione’s grappling enough to predict he can keep it standing for long enough periods of time to earn a knockout victory.

Interim BW Championship: Renan Barao (30-1) vs. Eddie Wineland (20-8-1)

Downey: Two of the world’s top bantamweights clash for the UFC interim title in a bout originally scheduled for June. This fight was supposed to be the main event of UFC 161 in Winnipeg. Renan Barao had to withdraw from the fight due to a foot injury, but Eddie Wineland will still get the nod in front of a Canadian crowd.

Barao comes into his second title defense boasting the current longest winning streak in MMA. That one in the loss column came in his first professional fight, over eight years ago. Barao is coming off a submission victory over Michael McDonald back in February.

You have to be happy for Wineland getting this opportunity. It was unclear if Wineland would still get this shot after Barao was injured, due to the uncertainty surrounding titleholder Dominick Cruz’s knee. Wineland is the first-ever WEC bantamweight champion and is coming off the most impressive performance of his career over Brad Pickett. This is a huge opportunity for Wineland that brings his career full circle. Prior to this, the biggest fight of his career was in his UFC debut against Urijah Faber. Ironically, that fight was also the co-main event of Jon Jones’ title-fight card.

It is crazy to think that in the over two years that Cruz has been out, Barao has nearly cleared out the entire bantamweight division. If he wins Saturday night, he will hold victories over five of the six fighters ranked directly below him. After this, the only logical fight for Barao is the match-up with Cruz.

Both fighters will come into this fight immensely motivated. Wineland is out to prove that he is a true champion of the sport. For Barao, Wineland is the last obstacle en route to the long-awaited showdown with Cruz. Wineland is a worthy and game challenger, but I just don’t think he is the guy to end the champ’s winning streak. I’ll predict a decision for Barao, but I could also see a late TKO due to leg kicks.

Chacon: Trey is right. It’s great to see Wineland have this opportunity, but this is probably going to be the last time we see him near the top of the food chain in the UFC.

Although Wineland is coming off two consecutive wins, he is 2-2 over his last four fights. The two wins have come against Pickett and Scott Jorgensen. Both are solid fighters in their own respect, but they are nowhere near the talent level of Barao. Then again, few are.

It’s never a good idea to base a fight solely off of past opponents, but Wineland has a history of beating the guys he is supposed to beat and then losing with a big opportunity on the line. Wineland, who has tremendous knockout power, typically loses his fights via submission (accounting for half of his losses) or decision (38 percent of his losses). When he wins, it’s by a knockout more often than not.

Barao has a granite chin, endless cardio, and doesn’t put himself in dangerous situations. He’s simply too good and too smart of a fighter to lose to Wineland. Call me crazy, but I think Wineland beating Barao would be as big of an upset as Weidman beating Silva.

Barao wins via first-round submission.

Carey: It’s starting to look like Barao is going to completely rid the bantamweight division of contenders before Cruz even has a chance to return. After already taking out Faber and McDonald during his incredible climb towards the bantamweight championship, Barao has decimated the division to the point where Wineland is really the only fighter near title contention at this point.

Wineland is definitely the fighter most deserving of a shot at Barao and the interim championship at this point, but that may point towards a stagnant top five in the 135-pound division more than anything. Sure, Wineland’s wins over Pickett and Jorgensen were impressive, but those guys have both been beaten by top-level bantamweights in the past, which takes a bit of luster out of Wineland’s wins.

Like my colleagues, I find it hard to see what exactly Wineland has to offer Barao in the cage. Wineland had a bit of success against Faber on the feet, but Barao completely shut down “The California Kid” in their interim title fight at UFC 149, and his striking makes Wineland’s look almost amateur by comparison. Throw in Wineland’s tendency to get put in bad situations on the mat, and it could be a long night for the former WEC champion.

It’s been over four years since Wineland has been submitted, but Barao is going to break that streak on Saturday. The interim champ will dominate on the feet to the point that Wineland has no choice but to go for broke and start throwing bombs. Barao will use Wineland’s aggressiveness against him in order to get the fight to the mat. Wineland won’t go away easily, but Barao has the tools to beat him up on the ground, and eventually an exhausted Wineland will make a fight-ending mistake in the grappling department.

LHW Championship: Jon Jones (18-1) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (15-1)

Chacon: Jon Jones looks to break Tito Ortiz’s record for consecutive light heavyweight title defenses in this fight against Alexander Gustafsson.

We last saw Jones and his detached big toe beat Chael Sonnen in April at UFC 159. Jones is just about as perfect as a fighter can be at this point, with his only deficiency being his tendency to throw himself into precarious situations, such as when Vitor Belfort nearly took Jones’ arm home with him.

As Gustafsson climbed up the rankings, people clamored for him to have a shot at Jones. Now that he’s getting that shot, nobody believes he can win. So goes the fickleness of MMA fans and media. Although Gustafsson is 7-1 fighting under the UFC banner, the most notable name of those seven wins is Shogun Rua. Jones has not only beaten Rua, but also Sonnen, Belfort, Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida and Rampage Jackson, among others.

Jones is in the type of situation where one would have to pick him to win until he proves you wrong. Gustafsson is a formidable opponent who should make this an interesting fight, but it’s Jones who will have his hand raised. Jones by unanimous decision.

Carey: At this point, there’s no use in trying to make a case for anyone to beat Jones. “Bones” has been absolutely dominant against the highest level of competition imaginable at 205 pounds, and it’s tough to think of Gustafsson as anything more than another name about to be added to Jones’ resume. That’s not to say that Gustafsson isn’t as talented as the rest of the guys Jones has fought over the last few years. In fact, he might be one of the more difficult puzzles that Jones has had to solve at this point. However, Jones is just that good at this stage in his career.

A lot has been made about Gustafsson being a tall and long fighter in the mold of Jones, but the Swede is still going to be giving up almost a foot in reach during the bout. The major reach disadvantage for Gustafsson is going to be one of the most intriguing things about this match-up, as “The Mauler” usually uses his own length and distance to pick apart his opponents, a strategy he’s going to have to abandon against Jones.

This fight is probably going to be a lot more one-sided than the talent level shown by Gustafsson in his last few fights would indicate, and unlike Joe, I think Jones gets the finish here. Gustafsson is a legitimate top-five light heavyweight, but his usual strike-and-stay-on-the-outside game plan just doesn’t match up well with the length and athletic ability of Jones. Even if “The Mauler” is able to close the distance and start landing a few good shots, Jones will be in range to take the Swede to the mat.

Even though it was over three years ago, it’s easy to imagine Jones watching the tape of Phil Davis putting Gustafsson away with an anaconda choke at UFC 112 with an evil grin on his face. That kind of submission win is right in Jones’ wheelhouse, and he’ll do something similar to score a second-round victory over Gustafsson.

Downey: I couldn’t agree more with Joe’s and Vince’s breakdowns of this one. With Anderson Silva’s loss, Jones took over the mantle as the sport’s top pound-for-pound fighter. As Joe stated, Jones is looking to break Tito Ortiz’s record for most light heavyweight title defenses, something Jones has been talking about doing for a while now.

The champ also virtually hand-picked Gustafsson as the fighter he wanted to do it against. The UFC has marketed this as a battle of reach, and Jones pointed that out as a factor in his desire to face Gustafsson over other contenders. The thing about it, as my colleagues have noted, is that Jones still holds a sizeable advantage in the reach department.

I would like the Swede’s chances a lot more if he had some one-shot knockout power. “The Mauler’s” best quality is undoubtedly his striking and he has some very slick boxing, but other than in the Vladimir Matyushenko fight, he hasn’t shown fight-ending power.

Vince read my mind with his mention of this fight looking very similar to Gustafsson’s lone career loss against Phil Davis. With the exception of Davis, I don’t see any current UFC light heavyweights having much of a chance against Jones, but that is a discussion for a different day. Jones breaks Ortiz’s record with a second-round submission.

Preliminary Card
HW: Nandor Guelmino (11-4-1) vs. Daniel Omielanczuk (15-3-1)

Carey: Fight fans may remember Nandor Guelmino from his less than impressive Strikeforce debut against Josh Barnett earlier this year, yet Zuffa decided to give him a shot in the UFC despite the one-sided nature of his last bout. Faith in Guelmino likely isn’t very high amongst MMA fans, and he has a tough test ahead of him in Polish heavyweight Daniel Omielanczuk, who seems to have the submission skills to make life difficult for the Austrian if the fight hits the floor. Due to Omielanczuk’s current 11-fight winning streak, I’ll take the Warsaw native to win by submission, but it’s always a tough call when two heavyweight newcomers hit the Octagon.

Downey: Vince is very right about the unpredictability of heavyweight fights, especially when it comes to newcomers. When the big boys step into the Octagon, a fight can end at any moment. My pick is based on two major factors. Omielanczuk is a guy that UFC matchmaker Joe Silva was obviously impressed with if he plucked him out of Europe and added him to the UFC heavyweight division. In these kind of heavyweight bouts, I also tend to lean towards the better submission fighters, as chokes become a lot more possible when guys get tired. Omielanczuk by second-round submission.

Chacon: I absolutely love the fact that we are getting a heavyweight fight on the preliminary card. I’m with Vince and Trey on this one. Omielanczuk will understand his best chance of winning is on the ground, and he should take the fight there from the beginning. Guelmino isn’t a slouch when he’s in an offensive ground position, but he has absolutely no chance of fighting off his back. These two lugs will start to tire out towards the end of the second round, which is when we will see Omielanczuk’s submission take place.

BW: Alex Caceres (8-5) vs. Roland Delorme (9-1)

Chacon: Alex Caceres makes his return to the Octagon for the first time since failing his post-fight drug test, due to marijuana use, in March. Roland Delorme is a judo specialist who is looking for his fourth UFC win. Caceres does get overly anxious at times and leaves both his neck and arm exposed when he loses. Look for Delorme to win via armbar early in the fight.

Downey: Most fans know Caceres from his “Bruce Leeroy” persona and his stint on The Ultimate Fighter. He has a very unorthodox striking style and likes to mix it up with kicks. He does struggle with takedown defense, though, and Delorme will take advantage of the weakness to earn a unanimous nod from the judges.

Carey: If it wasn’t for his failed post-fight test in his last bout and a wacky decision by referee Herb Dean a few fights earlier (where Dean deducted two points for an illegal low kick), Caceres would be on a five-fight winning streak at the moment. “Bruce Leeroy” might be one of the most underrated fighters in the bantamweight division, and I’ll disagree with my fellow panelists and pick Caceres by split decision in this one.

LW: Michael Prazeres (16-1) vs. Jesse Ronson (13-2)

Downey: Jesse Ronson takes an eight-fight winning streak into his Octagon debut. Ten out of his 13 professional victories have come by way of a finish. Michael Prazeres suffered his first career loss in his UFC debut against Paulo Thiago. Prazeres could be fighting for his job, but Ronson is fighting in front of a hometown crowd. This is a very close fight, but I will take the Canadian via decision.

Carey: I’m sure the Toronto crowd is hoping Trey is right with that pick, but I just don’t see it happening. Ronson is on a solid winning streak, but his lack of competition combined with Octagon jitters could be enough to leave Ronson disappointed on Saturday night. On the flipside, Prazeres was very competitive against a tough veteran in Thiago in his last fight, and his overall grappling skills may be too much for “The Body Snatcher” to handle. Ronson will make it a scrap, but Prazeres will put the Canadian in trouble multiple times on the mat before winning an easy decision.

Chacon: Prazeres and Ronson are going to put on an exciting fight. Ronson will be heading into the cage to finish Prazeres, but Prazeres is going to try to slow the pace of the fight as he works to hang onto his spot on the UFC roster. That’s the one thing that could plague Prazeres. If he fights safe and relinquishes himself to doing the bare minimum to win the fight, he will risk doing more damage than good. Ronson is going to be amped up in front of his hometown and should walk away with another finish to add to his record.

LW: Renee Forte (8-2) vs. John Makdessi (11-2)

Carey: Renee Forte looked great in his last fight, where he took out longtime UFC lightweight Terry Etim in Etim’s home country of England. Now, he’ll look to play the spoiler once again at UFC 165. Forte is fighting John Makdessi in Makdessi’s native Canada, and he’ll have a tough fight ahead of him on Saturday night. Forte was able to put the pressure on Etim and force the Brit to make costly mistakes on the feet and the mat, but Makdessi is a far better counter-striker than Etim. The Canadian uses Forte’s aggressiveness against him and takes home a second-round TKO victory.

Chacon: Makdessi is a UFC veteran who is looking for this third consecutive win. Forte is coming off a very nice win over Etim and will take this fight against Makdessi to the ground as soon as possible. Makdessi, on the other hand, has the advantage standing up. Should Makdessi be able to avoid the takedown, he will be able to win this fight via decision.

Downey: I agree with my colleagues when it comes to Makdessi’s advantage on the feet. He is a rare breed of an extremely technical striker that still intertwines unorthodox attacks into his game. Makdessi is just better than Forte at this stage in his career and will use his jab mixed in with some spinning attacks to earn his third straight UFC victory.

BW: Mitch Gagnon (9-2) vs. Dustin Kimura (10-0)

Downey: This featherweight contest could bring fireworks to the undercard. Dustin Kimura is undefeated and has gone the distance only once in his 10 pro bouts. This fight could be very interesting if it hits the ground. All nine of Mitch Gagnon’s wins are via submission, and Kimura owns seven victories by tapout. The difference is Kimura’s advantage on the feet. He will rock Gagnon with a punch and pounce on a submission for the win.

Chacon: I have a tough time going against anyone with the last name of Kimura, especially when they have a perfect record. This may not be one of the more exciting featherweight contests, but it should still entertain. Look for Kimura to control the action on the ground and grind out a split decision victory.

Carey: This fight is most likely going to come down to which guy is better on the feet, and as Trey said, Kimura is going to have the advantage in that department. Kimura started off his MMA career by tapping out everyone in sight, but in his two bouts prior to his UFC debut, he scored a couple of impressive knockouts to help him get inside the Octagon. Gagnon has never been stopped by punches, but that doesn’t mean he won’t get hurt. I’ll second Trey’s prediction of a submission win for Kimura, after Kimura lands a big shot or two.

WW: Chris Clements (11-4) vs. Stephen Thompson (7-1)

Chacon: If you’re looking for a “Knockout of the Night” contender, be sure to catch Chris Clements vs. Stephen Thompson. Clements has had 10 of his 11 wins come by knockout and will try to give Thompson the first KO loss of his career. Thompson is long and lanky, though, and will find his range early. This one will end in a knockout, but it will be Thompson finishing it with a knee to the head of Clements before the third round.

Carey: Joe’s right: this one is going to be fun. Both guys are excellent strikers with impressive highlight reels, and with only one combined loss by knockout, these two can take it as well as they dish it out. Thompson is the obvious pick here due to his striking likely being a bit superior to that of Clements, but don’t be surprised if “Wonderboy” shows off a bit of his ground game before pulling the trigger on a knockout blow late in the fight.

Downey: Just like Joe and Vince, I expect this fight to be a slugfest. Clements is an extremely aggressive guy who could certainly cause Thompson trouble. Thompson’s karate style should set him apart, however. He will have to fight through some early trouble, but will catch Clements coming in and end it in round two.

BW: Ivan Menjivar (25-10) vs. Wilson Reis (16-4)

Carey: Despite having a few wins over UFC veterans on the regional scene, Wilson Reis struggled to a 3-3 record under the bright lights of Bellator. That’s enough to make me nervous about his UFC debut, especially since it’s coming against a very solid veteran in Ivan Menjivar. Reis has talent, but I just can’t see him pulling off the upset here and will take Menjivar by second-round submission.

Downey: I agree with Vince on this one. Menjivar is still a top-10 bantamweight, even after his loss to Urijah Faber. Reis struggled to reach the top in Bellator. When you combine that with the fact that he is taking this fight on short notice, I just can’t see him taking the win. Reis will be game, as this is the biggest fight of his career, but Menjivar wins a decision.

Chacon: It’s really difficult to go against Menjivar in this one. Menjivar has battled with and been tested by some of the best fighters in the division. He is confident in every fight he goes into, but knowing Reis is jumping into this late should boost that level of comfort even more. The only chance Reis has is if Menjivar gets too confident and leaves himself exposed. Menjivar is too smart for that. Reis will take it the distance, but it will be a lopsided unanimous decision victory for Menjivar.

LW: Myles Jury (12-0) vs. Mike Ricci (8-3)

Chacon: Myles “The Fury” Jury takes his perfect record of 12-0 up against TUF 16 finalist Mike Ricci. Jury is giving up a modest three-inch reach advantage, but should have no problem controlling this fight from the beginning. Ricci is 3-3 over his last six and will be placed directly on the hot seat after Jury makes quick work of him. Jury via first-round TKO.

Downey: I was surprised when this fight was announced. I thought Jury would receive a big step up in competition after his knockout of Ramsey Nijem in his last outing. Ricci is a solid technical fighter, but Jury clearly has the advantage when it comes to power and explosiveness. I like “The Fury” by late first- or early second-round TKO.

Carey: Like Trey, I was a bit surprised by this matchmaking, but for a different reason. Ricci could easily end up being a Sam Stout or Mark Hominick type of favorite for the Canadian fans if he can stick around in the UFC for a few more fights, and throwing him in there against Jury is too much too soon. Ricci has potential, but he’s going to have to come back strong after Jury stops him with punches in Toronto.

Photo: Jon Jones (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

About The Author

Vince Carey
Staff Writer

Vince Carey has been writing about the sport of mixed martial arts since 2010. Although he is just 21 years old, the Omaha-based writer is looking to provide readers with interesting content on all things related to MMA.