For the first time since UFC 145 on April 21, 2012, the world’s leading promotion in mixed martial arts returns to Atlanta on Jan.15 to host UFC Fight Night 35: Rockhold vs. Philippou. On Wednesday, fans will pack The Arena at Gwinnett Center for a dozen fights, including a five-round middleweight bout between two men who will bring out all the stops to get a victory.

Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold didn’t exactly have the type of Octagon debut he had hoped for when he landed on the wrong end of a head kick from Vitor Belfort in May. Now, in the fourth five-round fight of his career, can Rockhold get back on track to avoid falling out of the pack at 185 pounds?

His opponent, Costa Philippou, is in a similar situation. After going on a five-fight winning streak that included a TKO victory over Tim Boetsch, Philippou suffered his first defeat since March 2011. At UFC 165 on Sept. 21, 2013, Francis Carmont topped Philippou by unanimous decision, forcing the 34-year-old to return to the drawing board. Philippou, like Rockhold, can’t afford to lose back-to-back fights, as another would likely force him out of the top 10.

Another five bouts will stack the main card featured on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 7 p.m. ET, as Lorenz Larkin and Brad Tavares battle to boost their stock at 185 pounds, T.J. Dillashaw fights Mike Easton in a must-win bout for both men, heavy hitter Yoel Romero clashes with Derek Brunson, a flyweight tilt pits John Moraga against Dustin Ortiz, and Cole Miller throws down with Sam Sicilia.

If that wasn’t enough, four preliminary fights will also air on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 5 p.m. ET, while an additional two contests will be featured online beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

The MMA Corner’s Joe Chacon, Zach Miller and Corey Adams make picks for the entire card in this edition of the Round Table.

FW: Cole Miller (20-8) vs. Sam Sicilia (12-3)

Chacon: This match-up between Cole Miller and Sam Sicilia brings together a couple of The Ultimate Fighter alums who have contrasting styles to their game. Miller, a submission specialist, brings his lanky 76-inch reach into the Octagon against Sicilia, who is known as more of a boxer, but who can take a fight to the ground and win there when needed as well.

Miller has had a bit of an up-and-down career in which he hasn’t been able to string together a three-fight winning streak since 2006-2007 when he rattled off four in a row. He’s 3-4 over his last seven and really needs to find the motivation to come out and shine against a very beatable opponent in Sicilia.

Sicilia, like Miller, is coming off a much-needed win. He had previously lost consecutive fights before beating Godofredo “Pepey” Castro in November. He’ll want to keep this fight standing up, given that Miller has a distinct advantage once the fight hits the mat. Unless Sicilia can catch Miller with a shot as Miller goes in for a takedown, all signs are pointing to a submission win for Miller early on in the fight.

Miller: Miller is going into the fight with a nine-and-half-inch reach advantage, and he’s going to need it. Sicilia is a bad dude. When he lands, he puts people to sleep, and although Miller is a gritty fighter, he has been finished in the past.

No doubt Miller has the advantage on the mat, and if he can’t land a takedown, then he might even pull guard at some points. It’s worth mentioning, though, that Sicilia defeated fourth-degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Cristiano Marcello, and showed solid submission and takedown defense in doing so.

If Manny Gamburyan, who is smaller than Sicilia, was able to close the distance with Miller, then Sicilia will be able to as well. The fight will go back and forth, with Sicilia landing good shots and Miller nearly locking in some submissions, but not getting the tap. Miller might get too comfortable on his back, and unless he submits his opponent, Sicilia wins a close decision.

Adams: This is a difficult fight to pick, especially with Joe and Zach making solid cases for both men. The only way Sicilia will win is by knockout. The Sikjitsu member has won just one fight by decision in his career, so he’ll look to end it early to avoid Miller taking control of the fight throughout the later stages of the bout.

Bottom line, Miller has to be smart on the feet in this fight. If he drops his hands for just a few seconds, Sicilia may very well turn the lights out early. Miller has submitted the likes of Jorge Gurgel, Dan Lauzon and T.J. O’Brien in his career, so I don’t think there’s anyone in the division he can’t force to tap. “Magrinho” will put Sicilia against the cage, drag him to the ground and lock up an arm-triangle choke. It’s a risky prediction, but who knows? I’ll say he gets it in the second round.

MW: Derek Brunson (11-2) vs. Yoel Romero (6-1)

Miller: Can I start out by saying how much I love this fight? Good, because I love this fight. What you have here are two big and powerful middleweights in Derek Brunson and Yoel Romero who are well-versed in both the ground game and striking. The two men share more similarities than being really built: they both train at very elite gyms—Brunson at Jackson’s and Romero at American Top Team—and both are 2-0 so far in the UFC.

Despite their impressive pedigrees, I’m leaning more towards Romero. Even at 36 years old, the Cuban seems to look extremely impressive. In his UFC debut, he knocked out Clifford Starks with a flying knee, and he also won his second UFC bout by knockout. If you’ve watched the Romero fight, you’ve seen how he’s constantly mixing in jumping or spinning attacks, sidekicks and heavy hands. Oh yeah, and he’s an Olympic-level wrestler who won a silver medal in Sydney.

Brunson is no slouch on the ground, but Romero’s just on another level, and if he wants the takedown, he’s going to get it. I see Romero rocking Brunson and then finishing the fight on the ground for a first-round TKO.

Adams: I’m still not 100 percent sold on Brunson, but his first-round submission win over Brian Houston wasn’t one to look past. Brunson is athletic and possesses a solid wrestling game, but he now faces one of the most dangerous strikers in the division.

With all of his fights ending by knockout, Romero’s game plan is clear. As Zach mentioned, Romero has wrestling credentials, but we haven’t seen how he performs if he gets put on his back. As long as he can keep Brunson in the center of the cage standing, Romero will have a great opportunity to make it three highlight-reel finishes in a row.

I see it coming early, either late first or early second round, with Romero’s hand raised.

Chacon: This is a classic example of a fight between guys with contrasting styles. Romero wants to stand and bang, whereas Brunson is going to look to get this fight to the ground as soon as it starts. If Romero can keep his distance, he should be fine. He was, afterall, able to knock out Ronny Markes, who holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

It’s not as if Brunson doesn’t have a chance. Of course he does. However, in watching his fights as of late, it doesn’t appear he’ll be able to hold off the very aggressive and strong game that Romero will throw at him.

Yes, Romero may be 36, but unless he gets too careless, he should get his third straight Octagon win via knockout.

BW: T.J. Dillashaw (8-2) vs. Mike Easton (13-3)

Adams: T.J. Dillashaw and Mike Easton, a pair of bantamweights who desperately need a win, will clash on the main card.

It appears as if Dillashaw was on the verge of becoming a top contender with four consecutive wins, but he met a tough veteran in Raphael Assuncao who was too much to overcome. However, the fact that Dillashaw narrowly lost and really went through adversity in that fight will allow him to better evolve as a fighter at just 27 years old.

Easton is returning to the cage following back-to-back losses to Assuncao and Brad Pickett. He will be looking to rebound after picking up “Fight of the Night” honors in April. Easton’s style and movement is difficult to adjust to, so it will be interesting to see how the guys at Team Alpha Male game-plan Dillashaw against “The Hulk.”

Dillashaw should be the favorite on Saturday, but it won’t be as close as in his past fights. Although Easton has just one finish in his UFC career, his athleticism is dangerous in itself when attempting to maintain a constant pace for three rounds. Dillashaw returns to form in Atlanta. With his wrestling background to go along with improved striking, Dillashaw should stop Easton in the second round.

Chacon: Corey hit the nail on the head in what I believe to be the biggest advantage for Easton—his movement and athleticism. Both fighters are going to come out extremely motivated to win and keep their spot on the UFC roster secure.

It may take a couple of rounds, but ultimately Dillashaw should be able to find his comfort zone with Easton and get him to the ground. Once Easton is smothered, he loses the advantage he has of bouncing around the Octagon and the fight turns in favor of Dillashaw. It will then become Dillashaw’s fight to lose, but he won’t let Easton escape.

Dillashaw by TKO late in the second round.

Miller: This fight is probably the hardest to predict. I can see why someone would pick Dillashaw, but even with the improved striking game at Team Alpha Male, Dillashaw would have to be extremely lucky to catch Easton on the feet.

Easton has dropped his last two fights, but let’s not overlook his past accomplishments. He’s a Taekwondo black belt with slick striking, and he’s a jiu-jitsu black belt under Lloyd Irvin. Easton also trains with some tough guys over at Alliance MMA. Even though Alpha Male may be the team right now, don’t forget that Easton’s training partners are guys like Phil Davis, Michael Chandler and Dominick Cruz, plus tons of other talented fighters. The only time Easton has been finished was back in 2007, and it was because of an injury.

It’s funny that both these guys are coming off “Fight of the Night,” split decision losses, because I see the exact same thing happening here. Although Dillashaw’s striking isn’t good enough to finish Easton on the feet, it’s certainly good enough to the extent that Dillashaw will be able to land some significant strikes. Easton, however, will have the better showing in the striking department, and Dillashaw will want to land takedowns. Easton is good enough to get back to his feet, but a lot of judges see takedowns as a big point, even if they’re not followed up by anything significant.

Back and forth they’ll go, but Dillashaw gets the split decision win. The silver lining for Easton is that he’ll get another “Fight of the Night” bonus check.

WW: Beneil Dariush (6-0) vs. Charlie Brenneman (19-5)

Miller: This fight has some interesting components that could play out in any number of ways. Charlie Brenneman, since being cut by the UFC in 2012, has gone on a four-fight winning streak in regional promotions and has been wrecking competition, with three out of four of those wins coming by way of submission. “The Spaniard” clearly has the talent to compete in the big leagues, but the question is if he will be able to revive his career in a stacked 155-pound division.

Beneil Dariush is an undefeated prospect making his UFC debut. The MMA Corner’s Bryan Henderson writes about how “Octagon Jitters” affect those under the bright lights for the first time, but honestly, I don’t see Dariush freezing when the cage doors close. He trains with some of the very best in the sport at Kings MMA. However, this may not be the right fight for him to showcase his talents.

Taking people down and wearing them out is Brenneman’s bread and butter, and I expect him to do that here. Dariush, a BJJ black belt, possesses a very aggressive guard and has a number of first-round submissions. There is always the possibility that Brenneman gets too ambitious and leaves an opening when shooting for a takedown. Nonetheless, with Dariush’s kick-heavy offense, Brenneman will be able to grab a leg and hold Dariush down for a unanimous decision win.

Chacon: This fight is a good example as to why you can’t just look at records and recent success in predicting an outcome to the fight. Yes, Dariush is 6-0 and Brenneman has “earned” his way back into the Octagon by winning four in a row. Those marks seem less impressive once you take a look at some film of some of those fights. I always hate to discount a fighter, because, heck, I can never do it, but many of those wins for both fighters look to be against very sloppy opponents who didn’t appear to have a lot of “fight smarts.”

It’s obvious that Dariush and Brenneman are looking to create some buzz for themselves as part of the main card, and the advantage between these two would go to Brenneman mainly due to the fact that he’s been around this block before. Both fighters can do it all inside the cage. They possess skills that could lead them to a win standing up or on the ground. They can both also take a fight the distance while still being effective in the waning moments.

I’ll go with the more experienced Brenneman via split decision.

Adams: Even if this fight comes on short notice for Brenneman, it should have no effect on the veteran, who has to be fired up to step back inside the Octagon for the first time since 2012.

An interesting note on Brenneman is the amount of submission wins he has had since his release from the UFC, while also moving to the lightweight division. A fighter who is continuing to learn jiu-jitsu along with a wrestling background is scary. We’ll find out Wednesday how he performs back on the big stage.

Dariush comes in with five finishes in his six total fights, but we can’t really analyze him unless you’ve seen him in person. I think the key to the fight is the size of Brenneman. They’ll be the same height, but I expect Brenneman to be larger in mass. That will help him take his opponent to the mat.

“The Spaniard” returns with a submission win.

MW: Lorenz Larkin (14-1) vs. Brad Tavares (11-1)

Chacon: The fight between Lorenz Larkin and Brad Tavares should be a fun one. Both guys have excellent cardio, which should make for a lengthy, entertaining fight. Larkin is 1-1 in the UFC and is coming off a decision win over Chris Camozzi. Tavares has a bit more experience inside the Octagon and has posted a 6-1 mark under the promotion since his debut in 2010.

Larkin and Tavares are similar in size, and both have showcased a pretty well-rounded right game. Larkin was the last person to beat Robbie Lawler before Lawler rattled off a very impressive streak of performances in 2013.

We’ll see a bit of everything in this fight. A solid stand-up game from both fighters should keep this fight off the canvas. It’s unlikely either one of these guys will go down via knockout, as both have excellent chins. This has all the makings of going the distance and ending with a razor-thin decision by the judges.

Flip a coin on this one, but I’ll go with Larkin.

Adams: When looking at this fight on paper, you have to think the victor takes a massive leap up in the rankings to face even more tough competition.

The Hawaiian-born Tavares has been on a roll with wins in his last four fights. Although all have been by decision, he does have the ability to finish fights, as showcased in his time before coming to the UFC. But the area where Tavares has a disadvantage is in the competition he has faced. No offense to guys such as Riki Fukuda or Robert “Bubba” McDaniel, but they aren’t exactly the likes of Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal and Lawler, two foes with which Larkin has squared off.

Larkin put on an impressive showing against a solid fighter in Camozzi in his last outing, and I expect even more from him here. “The Monsoon” hasn’t scored a knockout since 2011, so I, too, think this fight goes the distance.

It’s a tough call, but I’m going to side with Larkin by unanimous decision.

Miller: Having just spoken to Larkin, I think he knows that even though Tavares has a reputation as a striker, he has to be ready in all areas. Honestly, I know it sounds strange, but this fight will not be won for either man on the feet. Let me explain:

Sometimes when both competitors are really good at the same thing, they cancel each other out. Both these guys are just so fast and so tough that the difference will be seen on the ground or in the clinch, and that’s where Larkin has the advantage.

Tavares is a couple of inches taller than his opponent, and both of them will weigh 185 pounds on the night before the scrap, but Larkin is a huge middleweight who almost played for the NFL. He also used to compete at a higher weight division. He’ll be able to use his size to either stuff Tavares against the fence at times, or he might catch him by surprise and land a takedown or two. Those factors will be enough to earn Larkin the decision.

MW: Luke Rockhold (10-2) vs. Costa Philippou (12-3)

Adams: Luke Rockhold vs. Costa Philippou isn’t exactly a main event to make anyone more anxious for Saturday than normal, but it is a key fight for both men, who know they can’t afford back-to-back losses in a crowded middleweight division.

Rockhold had arguably the greatest run under the Strikeforce banner from 2008-2012 by going 9-0, including winning and defending the middleweight championship twice until the promotion was bought out. As for his Octagon debut, it’s one Rockhold has to put behind him. Rockhold was a part of Vitor Belfort’s trio of head-kick knockouts in 2013. He was finished in the first round, but expect Rockhold to be in top form on Saturday.

With five wins in a row during a two-year span, Philippou has fallen out of the mix for the time being after a decision loss to Francis Carmont at UFC 165. Several of Philippou’s fights as of late have been lackluster showings, so the 34-year-old needs to demonstrate that he is still capable of the type of performance he had in 2011 when he knocked out Jared Hamman in the first round.

We also have to remember this is a five-round fight, and while Philippou has gone the distance eight times in his career, he has never gone five rounds like Rockhold. It may not factor into the outcome of the fight, but it’s something to keep in mind.

As for my pick, I like Rockhold. The knockout loss to Belfort should have ignited a fire under him, and he will return in dominant fashion. If he can’t finish Philippou midway through the fight, he should be able to do enough on the scorecards to get back on track.

Miller: All solid points. I don’t think we should underestimate Philippou’s toughness, though. He’s never been finished, and remember that time where Riki Fukuda kept kicking him in the groin and it only made him angrier? True, Philippou isn’t as flashy as the former Strikeforce champion, but he’s a serious competitor. Don’t forget that Philippou ended Tim Boetsch’s amazing run he was having where he knocked out Yushin Okami and ruined Hector Lombard’s debut in the UFC. Now, I know it’s folly to apply the logic of, “Well, if he beat that guy, and that guy beat this guy, then…,” but you have to acknowledge that none of Philippou’s match-ups were gimme fights when he went on a five-fight winning streak. He has powerful hands, and he might even wobble Rockhold a couple times in this bout.

However, Rockhold has an overwhelming advantage on the mat. He’s a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and has wrestled since a young age. In fact, five out of Rockhold’s first six wins came by way of submission. Granted, they were against lower-level competition, but if Philippou, who boxed on the Greek national team, starts making things uncomfortable on the feet, don’t be surprised to see Rockhold shoot for a takedown. By the way, Rockhold trains at American Kickboxing Academy with some of the best wrestlers in MMA—Daniel Cormier, Cain Velasquez, Jon Fitch, etc.

Rockhold, despite his grappling pedigree, has developed into more of a striker these days. With his reach advantage, he’ll try to keep his opponent on the outside with jabs and kicks for as long as possible, but I suspect Philippou will eventually find a way to get inside and keep the fight competitive. I just don’t know how Philippou will look in the later rounds, if it gets there. On the other hand, Rockhold has fought 25 minutes twice in his career. Look for Rockhold to use his jiu-jitsu and submit a tired Philippou in rounds four or five.

Chacon: Zach and Corey provide excellent points and summarized the strengths and weaknesses of Rockhold and Philippou very well. I’ve never been fond of picking guys just based off of who they’ve beat or lost to in the past, and there probably aren’t many successful prognosticators out there who do.

Corey says Rockhold is going to be fired up coming off a loss, and Zach thinks the conditioning will be a key factor in the fight. I agree with both of them. It’s not so much that Rockhold coming off a loss will give him the motivation to win, but rather it’s the way that he lost. There’s no shame in losing to Belfort in the same way that Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping did. He got caught in the first round, but it wasn’t like he was bloodied up for a long fight.

The difference here will indeed be Rockhold’s ground game. Philippou no doubt has the tools to stay off his back, but Rockhold should really shine in that area of this fight. Make it three picks for Rockhold, as I believe he gets a submission win late in the second round.

Preliminary Card

FlyW: Alptekin Ozkilic (9-1) vs. Louis Smolka (6-0)

Chacon: Louis Smolka makes his UFC debut against Alptekin Ozkilic in a fight that I feel will surprise many as being one of the most exciting of the evening. Smolka and Ozkilic are versatile flyweights that can win a fight no matter where it goes. “The Turkish Delight” has already gone through the Octagon jitters, and this fight appears to be so even that the one fight in the UFC may be the slight edge Ozkilic has that sways my opinion in his direction. Ozkilic by TKO in the second round.

Miller: If this was a contest of who has the better nickname, I would have to call it a draw. You have Alptekin “The Turkish Delight” Ozkilic vs. Louis “Da Last Samurai” Smolka. Smolka’s resume is certainly impressive—he’s undefeated so far in his six performances, and he’s finished all of his opponents. However, Ozkilic has got to be coming in really confident after beating an opponent like Darren Uyenoyama, and he gets the decision here.

Adams: Chalk another up for Ozkilic. “The Turkish Delight” defeated Uyenoyama, but previously he also had wins over tough opponents in Josh Robinson and Antonio Banuelos. This guy is legit and really deserves to fight a higher-ranked fighter, rather than someone making their UFC debut. Ozkilic by unanimous decision.

LW: Vinc Pichel (7-1) vs. Garett Whiteley (7-1)

Miller: This is a tough one to call. Vinc Pichel and Garett Whiteley both have submission (Pichel’s came on The Ultimate Fighter) and knockout wins. It could go either way, but this one’s not going beyond the first round. I’ve noticed that Whiteley tends to drop his hands, so I’ll pick Vinc “From Hell” Pichel with a first-round knockout.

Adams: In order to avoid trading with Pichel, Whiteley will look to take the fight to the mat. But I’m not sure he can. Rustam Khabilov slammed Pichel to the canvas in brutal fashion, but Whiteley can’t compare to the Russian. Pichel will knock out Whiteley in the second frame.

Chacon: Pichel has the potential to be an exciting fighter, but unless he develops more of ground game, I’m not sure he’s ever going to cross the threshold as somebody who can be taken seriously in the division. With that being said, this is a favorable match-up for him. Pichel via early TKO.

MW: Brian Houston (4-1) vs. Trevor Smith (10-4)

Adams: We have a striker vs. grappler match-up here with Brian Houston taking on Trevor Smith. With three of his four wins coming by knockout, Houston will be head-hunting. However, I see Smith dictating where the fight goes. Houston was dominated and submitted by Derek Brunson in the first round back on Nov. 6. Now, Houston draws Smith, who specializes in submissions. “Hot Sauce” locks up a guillotine choke in the opening round to force “B-Hue” to tap.

Chacon: I’m with Corey on this one. Houston is what one would consider a careless fighter at times. Smith will be able to get him to the ground with relative ease and should secure a submission victory early on in the fight. Keep in mind that the four wins Houston has in his professional career came against guys with a combined record of 5-9.

Miller: Joe coming in big with the stats! Hard to argue here. Smith’s last two fights were losses, but they were against Tim Kennedy and Ed Herman, two very seasoned opponents. Smith should be able to tap Houston in the first round. For fun, I’ll say the win comes via flying armbar. If it actually happens, just remember where you heard it first.

FlyW: John Moraga (13-2) vs. Dustin Ortiz (12-2)

Miller: John Moraga looked extremely impressive before running into UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. He ran through Ulysses Gomez and choked out Chris Cariaso, before getting armbarred by the champ. “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is one of the pound-for-pound best in the world, though, so it’s understandable if Moraga couldn’t take home the belt. This is his first fight since losing to Johnson in July 2013. He’s going against a tough fighter in Dustin Ortiz, who scored a TKO victory in his UFC debut. Ortiz, who trains at Roufusport, will keep the fight interesting, but Moraga returns to his winning ways with a dominant unanimous decision.

Chacon: I agree with Zach. There certainly isn’t anything worrisome about Moraga coming off a loss to the best flyweight in the world. This fight has the potential to be “Fight of the Night,” and I expect Moraga and Ortiz to come out full of energy and put on a show for the fans. Moraga should get the better of Ortiz and finish strong en route to a split decision win.

Adams: I love this fight because I have a crush on flyweights. It’s undeniable. I see Moraga bouncing back with a win, but not in dominant fashion. Ortiz is a very tough, durable fighter who has never been finished. Something that hasn’t been mentioned is the fact that Ortiz defeated one of the most experienced 125-pounders in the world in Jose Maria Tome. That’s not an easy task. But in the end, I have to pick against the Franklin, Tenn., native and go with Moraga to win by decision.

LW: Elias Silverio (9-0) vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg (14-3-1)

Chacon: Isaac Vallie-Flagg is one scary fighter. He possesses a well-rounded game that is most dangerous standing up. Vallie-Flagg’s conditioning is top notch. Elias Silverio is also a stand-up fighter who typically fights smart and more often than not takes the fight the distance en route to securing a decision win. Vallie-Flagg should be able to overwhelm Silverio and stop this fight before it gets to the judges. Vallie-Flagg via TKO.

Adams: Silverio is a quality opponent, but he is no match for Vallie-Flagg. Remember, Vallie-Flagg is coming off wins over Brian Melancon, Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante and Yves Edwards, so the veteran has faced far better competition than the Brazilian. The only thing that is concerning about Vallie-Flagg is his 11-month layoff, but the training at Jackson’s should have him back in top shape. Vallie-Flagg adds a fourth consecutive decision win to his record, and this time it will be a unanimous verdict.

Miller: There are just too many questions surrounding Silverio. He is unbeaten and has already fought inside the Octagon, but who has he beaten? No one outstanding. Silverio has knockout power, but Vallie-Flagg will use his experience and coast to a unanimous decision.

LW: Justin Edwards (8-3) vs. Ramsey Nijem (7-4)

Adams: This is a big fight for Ramsey Nijem and Justin Edwards. That is especially the case for Nijem, who is likely fighting for his job against Edwards. Nijem has been stopped on back-to-back occassions against Myles Jury and James Vick, so it has to put pressure on his shoulders. Across the cage will be “Fast Eddy,” who just hasn’t put everything together in his career. Edwards will likely need to take Nijem down to win with hopes of locking up a submission hold. Honestly, I could see this fight going either way. However, I’m going to roll with Edwards, who will submit Nijem late in the fight.

Miller: I think the pressure is on for both these guys, who are going to be in the cage with the feeling that they’re fighting for their jobs. Edwards, since entering the UFC, has been on a lose-win-lose-win pattern. This is the age where Jon Fitch and Yushin Okami can be cut after a couple of losses, after all. I also see this fight on the ground, but I’m going to have to disagree with my esteemed colleague here. I just don’t know how the weight cut is going to affect Edwards, who is making his lightweight debut. Nijem has solid enough wrestling and jiu-jitsu to thwart any submission attempts. I’m taking “Stripper Ramsey” by unanimous decision.

Chacon: This is a scary fight for Nijem. He came into the UFC and it didn’t take long for him to rattle off three wins. Now, though, he’s in jeopardy of losing his third straight against somebody who can put anybody away with a submission pretty quick. This should be a fun fight, and although Nijem is a likeable guy, he’ll most likely be put away by the overpowering ground game of Edwards.