The UFC will make its return to Chicago for the first time in a year when UFC on Fox 10 rolls into town on Jan. 25. The trip marks the third time the UFC has come to Chicago in the last three years and, once again, it will be hosted in the United Center. The UFC brings out the big guns for the main event, as former lightweight champion Benson Henderson will square off with the No. 1 contender Josh Thomson. The two fighters seek to keep their title hopes alive in this battle and Thomson looks to retain that shot at the injured champion, Anthony Pettis. In the co-main event, heavyweights Gabriel Gonzaga and Stipe Miocic face off. Both fighters look to continue their ascension to the top of the heavyweight mountain. Also on the main card is a battle between Adriano Martins and the always exciting Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. This fight will mark the 12th time Cerrone has fought under the UFC banner since making his debut three years ago at UFC 126. Rounding out the main card is a featherweight tussle between Darren Elkins and Jeremy Stephens. On the preliminary card, there are four bantamweight battles scheduled, most notably a fight between Eddie Wineland and Yves Jabouin with potential “Fight of the Night” honors a strong possibility. Then, there’s the younger Pettis brother, Sergio, making his second UFC appearance against Alex Caceres. The early action begins at 4:30 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass with the rest of the preliminary card action airing at 5 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. The main card will begin on Fox at 8 p.m. ET. Here are the predictions for this card brought to you by the always amazing MMA Corner crew of Zach Miller, Kyle Symes and Sal DeRose in this edition of the Round Table. FW: Darren Elkins (17-3) vs. Jeremy Stephens (22-9) Miller: This fight between Darren Elkins and Jeremy Stephens is a good match-up to start off the main card. You have two solid fighters here with the winner potentially getting a top-10 opponent next if he comes out victorious on Saturday night. Elkins is coming off a win over veteran Hatsu Hioki, which makes Elkins’ record 6-1 as a UFC featherweight. His only loss was a knockout by the beast that is Chad “Money” Mendes. It will be an interesting test for the Indiana native, as Stephens is quite the power puncher himself. However, Elkins should get some good use out of training with Eddie Wineland, who is also fighting on this card, at Duneland Vale Tudo. “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens is looking to win his third fight in a row since dropping down to featherweight in 2013. The year before, Stephens was involved in some legal trouble and, more relevantly, he had lost three in a row when he was knocked out by Yves Edwards at UFC on Fox 5. However, Stephens is off to a good start in his new weight division, and Elkins presents a real test of whether Stephens can hang against a stacked featherweight roster. Both these fighters are well-rounded, but I’m going to go with Stephens here. His record isn’t as impressive as that of Elkins, but going into Brazil and knocking out Rony Jason with a head kick in under a minute was spectacular. Expect to see more “Lil’ Heathen” fireworks on fight night. Stephens with another first-round knockout. Symes: Zach makes a good point of Elkins working out with Wineland, because as we all know, iron sharpens iron. Elkins’ victory over Hioki may have meant a little more before Hioki fell off the planet since joining the UFC, but it’s hard to discredit the win. Elkins is a grinder who will no doubt look to drag Stephens into deep water, where his striking power won’t be as effective. Stephens will come out guns a’ blazin and attempt to remove Elkins’ head from his shoulders. Legal trouble aside, Stephens is a dangerous opponent for anyone to face. You can’t teach speed and you can’t teach raw knockout power, and Stephens has both. He isn’t the most technical fighter, but who needs proper form when you can make people go to sleep in devastating fashion like he did Jason. Stephens’ takedown defense is not good enough to stop Elkins’ relentless wrestling. However, I’m very concerned about Elkins early on. We saw him absolutely get blasted in the first round by Diego Brandao, and he could find himself in a similar situation against Stephens. Still, I’ll ride with Elkins and his wrestling to take home a unanimous decision. DeRose: Alright, so we have a split down the middle—one for Stephens and one for Elkins. I can’t be trusted with this much power. My colleagues make valid points as to why each fighter will win. Elkins has that grinding wrestling that will all but neutralize Stephens. Stephens doesn’t have the takedown defense to counter Elkins, and that alone pushes me to the Elkins side. However, as Kyle and Zach were quick to point out, Stephens has power in his hands. That power could probably light an entire city. Power alone gives Stephens a chance, but when you add in his speed it makes him a very deadly opponent to face. Luckily for Elkins, Stephens isn’t a technical fighter. Therefore, the first round will be huge in this fight. If Elkins can survive the first five minutes, his chances greatly increase. Elkins is going to definitely try to utilize his wrestling in that first round to take the life out of Stephens and make those punches come slower. If Elkins gets out of that first frame unscathed and can get a takedown or two, he can breeze through the final two rounds. Stephens should have definitely worked on stopping the takedown for this fight. It will be absolutely crucial for him to stuff them as they come. And they will come often. Stephens needs to keep this fight on the feet and try to blast Elkins with as many combos as he can. Stephens will have to step in close and try to land. The reach is identical and that should help him. Stephens’ knockout power is something Elkins will certainly have trouble with, but Elkins’ wrestling will be too much for his opponent. Stephens hasn’t shown good enough takedown defense to suggest that he can stop Elkins. Elkins by decision. LW: Donald Cerrone (21-6) vs. Adriano Martins (25-6) Symes: Props should go to Adriano Martins for being willing to take this big of a step up in competition for his second UFC appearance. Donald Cerrone is one of the division’s mainstays and is widely considered one of the most talented lightweights in the world. Martins is an unknown. It was good for him to finish his first fight in the UFC against Daron Cruickshank, but outside of that, I honestly don’t know a lot about him. Obviously, he’s an accomplished grappler, but his record is filled with a bunch of wins over unknown guys from Brazil. That’s not to say he’s been fighting tomato cans his whole career, but he has faced very few guys of note. And when he did fight those known guys, he came up short. We do know what Cerrone is all about, however. One of the more talented fighters in the division, Cerrone is a headache for anyone wherever the fight goes. His game is completely offense-minded in that he attacks on the feet and threatens with submissions while on the ground. Cerrone has come up short in recent years when facing upper-level competition, but he’s shown to be more than capable of handling the lower-tier guys. Cerrone is the better overall fighter, and it’s good to seem him getting back to his daredevil ways, because that’s who he is as a fighter. Some guys won’t like it, but that’s his version of meditating and finding his inner zen. Martins has shown to be a hard guy to finish, but Cerrone is good enough to get the job done by TKO. DeRose: Kyle nailed it right off the bat with Martins. Like most fighters who fight in the regional Brazilian circuit, his record is filled with unknown fighters. However, Martins is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and is coming off the aforementioned submission victory over Cruickshank. However, if you think Martins will get this fight to the mat or, heck, even finish the fight with a submission on Cerrone, think again. It won’t happen. What Cerrone lacks in belt ranking, he makes up for with amazing toughness and craziness. He has finished 15 opponents by submission, including last time out against Evan Dunham. The only man to submit “Cowboy” is former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson. Cerrone’s path to victory is certainly more clear cut. Martins can bring it to the ground and try to submit him. That game plan won’t be successful, but it’s his best chance to win. Cerrone, meanwhile, needs to utilize those excellent Muay Thai skills and drain energy from the legs of Martins with leg kicks. From there, he needs to establish distance and try to take advantage of a very slim one-inch reach edge. Cerrone is going to fire off some combos and eventually Martins will crumble. It is indeed commendable that Martins is taking this huge step up to face Cerrone in only his second UFC fight, but “Cowboy” will make him pay via a TKO in the second. Miller: No arguments here, boys. Not really much to add either. The thing about fighters like Martins is that you just don’t know, as Sal and Kyle both pointed out. Yes, most of those people he’s beaten are unheard of outside of local Brazilian circuits, but you can’t look past the fact that he’s had over 30 fights and holds a brown belt in judo in addition to the black belt in jiu-jitsu. Will that mean it gets him the win? Probably not, but if there’s any outstanding weakness one can attribute to Cerrone, it’s his lack of ability to get a fight started on his terms. He looked flat against Nate Diaz, got tooled by Anthony Pettis and was not up to par against Rafael dos Anjos. Martins is nowhere near the skill level of those names, all of whom are at or near the top of the division, but it sheds light upon an important point. Cerrone better not take his opponent lightly, otherwise he’s going to find himself on the mat with a Cristiano Carioca black belt on top of him. Not a good look. As sad as it is to hear about Cerrone confessing he needs fights because he’s broke, he’ll be looking for a win bonus, and he’s more than likely training very hard to make some cash. Cerrone by unanimous decision. HW: Gabriel Gonzaga (16-7) vs. Stipe Miocic (10-1) DeRose: This is a great main card fight in the heavyweight division pitting Gabriel Gonzaga against Stipe Miocic. Miocic is looking for yet another signature win to stake his claim as a top heavyweight fighter, and Gonzaga makes a good name to add to his resume. Miocic looked excellent in his last fight with Roy Nelson. His striking was excellent, and he was able to make Nelson miss with relative ease with his great footwork and striking defense that night. Miocic is dangerous for Gonzaga, who, despite his jiu-jitsu specialty, will have a hard time bringing down Miocic, a former NCAA Division I wrestler. If the Miocic from the Nelson fight shows up, his easiest path to victory is to take Gonzaga out on his feet. Gonzaga doesn’t have the iron chin of Nelson, and Miocic, a former Golden Gloves champion, can surely find a way to land one if he fights like he did back then. That being said, we have seen crazier things happen in a Gonzaga fight. Miocic is a fearsome fighter, so Gonzaga’s best bet is to bring this fight to the mat as quickly as possible. Gonzaga will have to at least try to keep the fight standing long enough to work leg kicks to weaken Miocic’s legs or at least clinch with him enough that eventually he lands a trip, toss or takedown. Miocic’s lone loss did come in the UFC against Stefan Struve, but Gonzaga doesn’t have that range. In fact, Gonzaga is facing a four-inch reach disadvantage. Miocic has the easier path to victory here. He will establish the jab early and ease into the comfort of his boxing prowess to find his range before he starts to throw hands. Miocic by TKO in the second. Miller: First off, good on “Napao” for working his way back to a co-main event. The future looked bleak for Gonzaga after he was cut by the UFC in 2010, but two first-round knockout wins in 2013 have revitalized the Brazilian’s career. In a division that has a lack of challengers for the champion, an impressive win over Miocic could put him one fight away from a title shot. That’s easier said than done, however. To echo Sal’s comments, Miocic is the younger, hungrier fighter with the more impressive resume. With the way that Gonzaga has been striking lately, it’s possible he won’t even want it on the mat. I mean, if you have been knocking guys out like “Napao” has, then you’re probably confident you can do it to anyone. Miocic, even with his wrestling pedigree, has shown an insane growth in his striking and attacks not only with power, but accurate, technical precision. Everyone loves a good comeback story, and to see Gonzaga come back from the ashes would be phenomenal. However, putting the emotional aspect aside, I can only see Miocic picking his opponent apart. Of course, Gonzaga could always land one of his monster punches or kicks, or maybe catch Miocic in a guillotine, but you have to go with the more consistent fighter. Miocic wins by TKO in the third. Symes: Both Zach and Sal did a good job of breaking this one down. It boils down to whether or not Gonzaga can get the fight to the mat. I agree with Zach that Gonzaga may have fallen in love with his knockout power recently (honestly, though, what heavyweight isn’t capable of a knockout?), but I believe his mindset will change when Miocic lands a flush combination. It’s easy to knock out people when you’re not getting hit, and we’ve seen Gonzaga have chin issues in his career. The difference in this fight will be Miocic’s wrestling, negating the takedown attempts of Gonzaga, and his boxing skills. If Gonzaga gets this bout to the mat, it will be very dangerous for Miocic, not only because Gonzaga is a BJJ black belt, but because he’s a big heavyweight to move off of you. Luckily for Miocic, he shouldn’t face that issue, as his boxing and athleticism will serve him well until he gets the TKO stoppage in the first round. LW: Benson Henderson (19-3) vs. Josh Thomson (20-5) Symes: The battle between Josh Thomson and Benson Henderson figures to be a No. 1 contender match-up given how highly both men are ranked. Henderson is coming off his first loss in the Octagon, one that also saw him drop the title to his nemesis, Anthony Pettis. Luckily for Henderson’s confidence, the loss was the result of a split-second lapse rather than a dominant victory for Pettis, not to take anything away from the champ. Thomson, meanwhile, comes in after becoming the first man to stop Nate Diaz by strikes. Prior to that bout, Thomson fought a very close fight with former Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez. Thomson is a true veteran of the sport, and it’s a testament to the American Kickboxing Academy and Thomson himself that he’s still among the best 155-pounders in the world at this point in his career. Both guys are well-versed when it comes to striking and grappling, but there’s one area in which Henderson holds the greatest advantage: pure athleticism. Henderson is younger and is the better athlete heading into this contest. Of course, Henderson’s size for a lightweight figures to come into play at some point. Thomson is durable and won’t be an easy out for Henderson, but “Smooth” still takes this fight. Thomson got propelled up the rankings due to T.J. Grant’s injury, and he’s not on the same level as Henderson. I’ll give a nod to Thomson for his toughness, which will keep him from being blown out of the water by Henderson, but that won’t be enough against the second-best lightweight in the world. Henderson by unanimous decision. Miller: If you’re a Thomson fan, it’s troubling to hear that he had a terrible training camp. I’m no professional fighter, but I reckon if you’re going against a former UFC lightweight champion, you have to have a good training camp. Now, I’m not saying Thomson won’t be prepared. As Kyle said, the dude is incredibly tough. Thomson recently took Diaz to school and bloodied him up before knocking him out. Thomson is the kind of guy who’s always going to be in there to fight, no matter who he’s up against. Henderson is a tough challenge for anyone. Before Pettis started lighting him up on the feet with body kicks and got an armbar win, “Bendo” was employing his grinding style and smothering the now-UFC lightweight champion against the cage. There have been moments of Henderson brawling with opponents, like with Clay Guida, but I suspect that he’ll employ the same smothering game plan against a dangerous striker like Thomson. The real question is where Henderson’s head is at. What we saw with his last loss to Pettis was that he came back with an impressive 7-0 run in the UFC before losing the belt again to his longtime rival. While I suspect it will only make him a better fighter, you never know what that does to a fighter’s mental state. After all, he couldn’t take Pettis down, he was getting dominated on the feet, and he got trapped in an armbar while in top position. “Bendo” returns to good form and wears out Thomson en route to a decision win. DeRose: Kyle, in his opening remarks, did an excellent job of pointing out how good Henderson is. Pettis was smart enough and good enough to take advantage of that split-second lapse by Henderson. Henderson is an absurdly good No. 2 in the lightweight division, much like Urijah Faber is in the bantamweight division. I can’t look at any part of Henderson’s game and say that this is an exploitable weakness or this is where the fight should go for Thomson. Standing or on the ground, Henderson is a great fighter. Beating Henderson takes a lot more than trying to exploit a weakness. He is one of those fighters that you can’t beat in one area and win the fight. You have to beat him in all areas to take the fight. Thomson is a heck of a fighter, too. He is a very dangerous striker and a very adept grappler. If the fight does go to the ground, Thomson won’t get beat by TKO or submission. I want to pick Thomson purely because Kyle and Zach both picked Henderson to win and I want to give the supposed No. 1 title contender a chance here, because he certainly has a chance. However, I picked against the grain last time I did predictions and ended up losing to my cousin, Mike. I won’t let that happen again. Henderson by unanimous decision. Preliminary Card HW: Walt Harris (5-2) vs. Nikita Krylov (15-3) Miller: This fight between Walt Harris and Nikita Krylov should be an entertaining one. These fighters like to stand and bang, and both are in need of a win. Former NCAA Division I basketball player Walt Harris looked great in his UFC debut—on the feet, that is—before Jared Rosholt used his Oklahoma State University wrestling experience to hold him down. Similarly, Krylov got smothered by Soa Palelei and lost by TKO in the third round. Although “Al Capone” Krylov certainly has more experience, there’s no denying Harris’s athleticism, and I think we’ll see a much improved version of “The Big Ticket.” Harris wins by TKO in the second round. DeRose: Krylov was a bust in that aforementioned Palelei fight. He had what seemed to be a lot of potential, but, man, did that fight let a lot of air out of that balloon. Harris did look good in his striking, but just couldn’t counteract Rosholt’s wrestling. I want to say this fight will stay standing, but with Krylov’s 10 submission victories, it might somehow find the ground, which is how Krylov wins. I’m taking a leap of faith, but Krylov by submission. Symes: Good lord that Krylov/Palelei fight was awful to watch. I honestly thought we might have the first “double TKO due to exhaustion” in MMA history. Krylov is supposed to be an interesting prospect, but that bout is difficult to forget when assessing his potential. If Krylov can get the fight to the ground, as my colleagues suggested, he will have an advantage. However, Krylov is no Jared Rosholt and Harris can use his athleticism to avoid Krylov’s takedowns. Harris by TKO. WW: Mike Rhodes (6-1) vs. George Sullivan (14-3) DeRose: This fight between Mike Rhodes and George Sullivan is a late addition to the card, so it will be interesting to see if these guys are up for the task on a little over a week’s notice. The guy who fought most recently would be Rhodes. Overall, he seems like the better pick, coming out of Roufusport. Coming off of a five-round fight, he’ll be in better shape and should win this fight. Symes: This has the potential to be either very exciting or extremely boring with both guys making their Octagon debuts. Sullivan has more fights, but Rhodes’ bouts in the RFA carry with them more merit. Add in the fact that Rhodes will have the hometown (Roufusport/Milwaukee is only a few hours from Chicago) crowd behind him, I’ll take Rhodes by unanimous decision. Miller: You never know how “Octagon Jitters” will affect certain fighters. Some take advantage of the spotlight and shine, whereas others seem to freeze up and end up looking like a fish in a shark tank. The fact that this is the UFC for both fighters leaves even more questions. It’s a coin toss, but when in doubt, I always go with the more experienced fighter. Sullivan will continue his streak of TKO wins. LW: Daron Cruickshank (13-4) vs. Mike Rio (9-3) Miller: Neither of these fighters’ 2013 was a good year record-wise. Daron Cruickshank went 1-2, and Mike Rio went 0-2. Rio seems to have a blatant weakness on the mat, where he suffered both his losses by way of submission in the first round. Cruickshank likes to strike more, but don’t be surprised if he tries to take advantage of the hole in his opponent’s game. I’ll take Cruickshank with a submission in the third. Symes: As Zach pointed out, both guys are in need of a win to stay relevant in the division. Rio clearly has a hole in his ground game, but lucky for him, Cruickshank isn’t known as a submission artist. It certainly would make sense for Cruickshank to take advantage of those holes in Rios’ grappling, but it’s doubtful that Cruickshank is willing to forego his striking arsenal. I will pick Cruickshank by virtue of the tougher competition he has faced. DeRose: I also wouldn’t be surprised if Cruickshank goes to exploit Rio’s weakness in this fight. Grappling isn’t typically Cruickshank’s strength, but it could certainly be one here. A combined 1-4 in 2013, these two combine for what is really a toss-up here as to who wins, but like Kyle, I’m going with Cruickshank based solely on the level of competition he has faced thus far in the UFC. BW: Ramiro “Junior” Hernandez (13-5) vs. Hugo Viana (7-1) Symes: Ramiro Hernandez is a diverse fighter, evident by his four KO/TKO and five submission victories. Hugo Viana made his mark in the UFC by competing on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, as well as by looking like Wolverine from the X-Men. Viana is coming off a loss to T.J. Dillashaw, and Hernandez lost his UFC debut against Lucas Martins. Although Viana did win his first Octagon appearance by knockout, he’s not known as a finisher. That will come back to haunt him against Hernandez. Hernandez by TKO. DeRose: This is another fight that can go either way. Viana certainly isn’t a finisher, but you can classify Hernandez as one. Nine of Junior’s 13 wins came by submission or knockout. Viana has been out of the cage for nearly a year, and that is what pushes me to Hernandez’s side. Hernandez by unanimous decision. Miller: I’m going to have to disagree with my colleagues here. While the majority of his fights went to decision, Viana did knock out Reuben Duran in the first round. Furthermore, Viana bloodied up Dillashaw before he got caught by a big punch, and he was also able to escape Dillashaw’s back mount with both hooks in. If he can do that to one of the hottest names in the bantamweight division, I’m confident he’ll be able to escape Hernandez on the ground, even though Junior trains at the Miletich fight camp. I was raised on the X-Men, so I’ll take “Wolverine” by second-round TKO. BW: Chico Camus (13-4) vs. Yaotzin Meza (20-8) DeRose: Chico Camus is another Roufusport fighter on this card. His opponent, Yaotzin Meza, has an advantage if the fight goes to the ground, where Meza has seven submission victories, including a submission in his last fight against John Albert. Camus doesn’t really have great takedown defense, and that will be all Meza needs to win this fight. Meza by submission. Miller: Sal’s got it right. It certainly is Meza’s fight to lose. Camus has solid training at Roufusport, but Meza is coming out of the MMA Lab with beasts like former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson. Just to add some stats to Sal’s points, Camus only has a 20 percent takedown defense. Stats can always be misleading, but going with Meza is the smart bet. He’ll threaten with submissions, but end up getting the decision victory. Symes: If you can believe it, Camus got a much louder reaction from fans in attendance at UFC 164 than that of teammate Anthony Pettis. He seemed to feed off it, and that should help him in this contest against a dangerous grappler in Meza. However, as Zach and Sal pointed out, Camus has some issues with takedown defense. Against someone with the level of grappling that Meza possesses, that spells trouble. Meza by split decision. BW: Yves Jabouin (19-8) vs. Eddie Wineland (20-9-1) Symes: Can you say “Fight of the Night”? It very well could be the case for this battle of stand-up artists Yves Jabouin and Eddie Wineland. Both guys are known from their days in the WEC, but Wineland is the fighter who has progressed further in their respective careers. Wineland’s boxing will be the key—he’s shown the ability to end a fight with a single punch. Jabouin’s kicks will keep Wineland off balance at first, but eventually Wineland will find a home for his punches. Wineland by knockout. Miller: It’s a good fight for Wineland, who likes to turn his contests into brawls and impose his aggressive style. Jabouin, while a very different kind of striker, will want to keep the fight on the feet. Wineland has never been able to beat the best of the best at the division. He has lost to Urijah Faber, Joseph Benavidez and Renan Barao, but he’ll be able to look good in this fight. I’m with Kyle on this one: Wineland will win by first-round knockout. DeRose: This is the kind of fight you would expect to see in the movie Bloodsport—two fighters, very good strikers, will be looking to punch the other’s head into the mat. This will be indeed be “Fight of the Night,” as the two go toe-to-toe in what will be an amazing prelim battle. Wineland wins by KO, based on experience and the sheer tenacity of his boxing skills. BW: Alex Caceres (9-5) vs. Sergio Pettis (10-0) Miller: I really like this match-up between Alex Caceres and Sergio Pettis. After a 1-3 start in the UFC, Caceres has been on a bit of a run, save one no-contest for testing positive for marijuana in a fight was originally ruled a split decision win for Caceres. Pettis, meanwhile, may be one of the hottest names in the sport right now. Granted, this is largely because of the success of Sergio’s older brother and UFC lightweight champion, Anthony, but with any fighter training out of Roufusport—and especially a Pettis brother—there’s a level of intrigue and curiosity about what crazy move they’re going to perform in front of our eyes in the Octagon. The undefeated Sergio is only 20 years old and still growing, but he should return to his roots at flyweight, where other fighters won’t have a size advantage over him. Nevertheless, Caceres doesn’t pose that much of a threat. The scrap will certainly be exciting, as both these guys love to stand and use kicks, but Pettis easily wins a decision here. DeRose: This is a fight between Caceres, an old prospect who never quite lived up to his potential, and Pettis, a fighter with a lot of upside and a bright future ahead. Pettis is obviously a hot name and has the same fearsome striking arsenal as his brother. I’ll second Zach in saying that Pettis should go to flyweight, but not because of the size disadvantage he faces at bantamweight. I’ve never been high on Caceres and certainly don’t think this fight is even close. Pettis by TKO in the second. Symes: There’s a lot of hype surrounding Pettis due to his brother’s success, and we got to see him (somewhat) validate it in his Octagon debut. I’ve never understood the fascination some fans have with Caceres as a prospect, and I don’t anticipate him offering much opposition to Pettis. There are holes in the ground game of Pettis, but Caceres isn’t the guy to exploit them. Pettis by TKO.