For the first time in the organization’s history, the UFC will host an event in the mecca of MMA training. UFC Fight Night 42 takes place on June 7 at Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque, N.M., and will be featured on Fox Sports 1 following an opening fight on UFC Fight Pass.

Fight fans will be treated to a main event that features former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson and Rustam Khabilov. Henderson is coming off a split decision victory over former Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson. Khabilov enters the contest riding a six-fight winning streak that includes two UFC victories.

In what is sure to be an exciting co-main event, warriors Ross Pearson and Albuquerque’s own Diego Sanchez battle for position in the UFC lightweight division. Pearson is looking to get back to his winning ways after suffering an illegal knee strike against Melvin Guillard. Sanchez, meanwhile, is fighting for his UFC life after losing three of his last four.

The main card also features a lightweight tilt between Rafael dos Anjos and Jason High, a bout between Yves Edwards and Piotr Hallmann and a bantamweight clash between Erik Perez and Bryan Caraway. The action kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET with a single Fight Pass prelim bout, then moves to Fox Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET for the remainder of the prelims. The action continues on Fox Sports 1 with the main card airing at 10 p.m. ET.

The MMA Corner’s Brian McKenna, Dale De Souza and RJ Gardner break down the entire card in this edition of the Round Table.

BW: Bryan Caraway (18-6) vs. Erik Perez (14-5)

McKenna: It will be a clash of fighters with one promotional loss when Bryan Caraway and Erik Perez kick off the main card. Interestingly enough, both of their losses came at the hands of Takeya Mizugaki by split decision.

It is no secret that Caraway, who has 16 submission victories in his career, likes to get the job done on the mat, where he can work the ground game. The Mexican, on the other hand, has been more balanced as far as his method of victory, with four knockouts and seven submissions.

At the end of the day, “Goyito” has more ways to win the fight, and that will be the deciding factor in this affair. Although Perez doesn’t need to outright avoid the fight turning into a grappling match, it would be in his best interest to keep the fight standing and try to work the striking game. It will be this strategy that drives him to win by unanimous decision.

De Souza: There is something about the contrast of styles here that makes this fight plenty of fun. Brian mentioned the submissions and ground game of Caraway, but Perez’s own track record in acquiring submission wins adds to the intrigue. Add in the fact that Caraway has finished his opponent in all of his UFC wins, and this one has the makings for quite the thriller for as long as it lasts.

Perez may not play the ground game with Caraway, though, so what happens to Caraway in that scenario? Though Caraway did out-grapple Mizugaki, he was outstruck by the former WEC bantamweight contender, who engaged in an electrifying battle of his own against Perez. “Goyito” may carry a style noticeably different from that of Mizugaki, but he still provides the output needed to get the best of anyone who tries to stand with him—well, save for Mizugaki, who narrowly outstruck Perez and took him down with relative ease.

Perez can struggle against guys who know how to keep him on his back. Sure, Perez has not been submitted in four years, but if any man could expose some hole in Perez’s submission defense, it would be Caraway.

Still, none should overlook the cardio game, which could be the key to this fight. Perez can outwork Caraway in this bout without getting himself into precarious positions, and I would expect him to do so. Perez takes all three rounds from Caraway in a unanimous nod.

Gardner: Both Brian and Dale have spotlighted the contrasting styles of these fighters, and I have to echo their sentiments. This fight is a bit of a throwback in the sense that it’s a classic striker vs. grappler match-up, but the caveat here is that Perez is no slouch on the ground.

Perez has shown over the course of his career that he is just as dangerous on the ground as he is on the feet, and the Jackson’s MMA fighter is knocking on the door of a top-10 bantamweight ranking. Caraway, though, is an absolute beast who has choked out three of his four UFC opponents.

The big question here is who is going to dictate the action, because the fighter who can control where this one takes place will be the man who goes home with the victory. Perez has more weapons, but it will not matter because Caraway is so good at what he does. Caraway wins this one via second-round submission.

LW: Yves Edwards (42-20-1) vs. Piotr Hallmann (14-2)

De Souza: Even at first glance, this bout feels like a pick ‘em fight, though that may just be because we’re talking about two lightweights. The longtime veteran, Yves Edwards, has done well to keep up with the changing landscape of the sport. Meanwhile, Piotr Hallmann showed us in his UFC debut that he may very well be a guy to look out for. We will see exactly how things play out come fight time.

Is Edwards staring down a must-win situation? Yes, absolutely, but then every fight in the MMA world is a must-win. Edwards’ case probably gets a mulligan because he comes off a no-contest with Yancy Medeiros, though Medeiros originally knocked Edwards out. In any case, the “Thugjitsu Master” knows how to turn things around on his own accord, and he still has the grappling and striking needed to make things happen when it counts.

Hallmann debuted for the UFC last September and put away Francisco Trinaldo via submission, which gave us all an idea as to why the UFC elected to sign him. Of course, he ran into a speed bump when he dropped a decision to Al Iaquinta, so Hallmann does find himself needing to return to the win column in a big way.

It’s hard to know if age is finally catching up with Edwards at this point, but if it didn’t in his past few losses, it’ll do so on this night. Hallman takes a TKO in whatever round he chooses.

Gardner: Edwards is heading into his 65th career fight, and the 37-year-old UFC veteran is indeed in a must-win situation. He has not won a fight since December 2012, when he knocked out Jeremy Stephens in spectacular fashion. Edwards is always a game competitor, but it looks like Father Time is finally catching up with him.

Hallmann, on the other hand, is a fighter who is on his way up in the sport. The Polish-born fighter has shown he is just as likely to submit someone as he is to knock them out—13 of his 14 career wins have come via stoppage. This is a great opportunity for Hallmann to get a win over a very well-known fighter.

Although Edwards is not going to roll over for anyone, Hallmann has too many weapons with which Edwards must contend. Hallmann will be able to control the action and wear down the veteran. Hallmann wins this one via third-round TKO.

McKenna: Watching Edwards his last couple of times out has been tough, because it is a case of a fighter who has so many miles on his odometer. The “Thugjitsu Master” has been great for the sport and for the promotion, but he needs to really be at the top of his game if he wants to take down Hallmann in this match-up.

Both fighters are equal parts as dangerous on the ground as they are on the feet, which makes for an interesting fight. That being said, I have to go with my fellow panelists and take Hallmann here. A defeat at the hands of Hallmann could potentially spell the end for Edwards in the UFC.

LW: Rafael dos Anjos (20-7) vs. Jason High (18-4)

Gardner: Heading into his April bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov, Rafael dos Anjos was on a roll. He had won five in a row and was looking every bit a threat to the UFC lightweight title. However, Nurmagomedov derailed dos Anjos’ title hopes when he dominated the Brazilian from start to finish.

Jason High, on the other hand, is coming off of back-to-back wins, and the welterweight veteran will be making his lightweight debut. HIgh will be getting a real test in dos Anjos, who has beaten some of the best in the world at 155 pounds.

This is a very difficult fight to pick because these two match up very well against each other. High is the better wrestler, but dos Anjos is the better Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu player. However, both guys have knockout power.

Considering he has the wrestling advantage, High should be able to dictate the pace of the fight and keep dos Anjos off balance. High wins this one via razor-thin split decision.

McKenna: It is one thing for a fighter to take upon the challenge of moving down in weight and altering their diet accordingly. It is another to do that and schedule a fight against a highly ranked fighter like dos Anjos. High will have an uphill climb ahead of him as the former welterweight embarks on the challenge.

Dos Anjos was riding the biggest promotional winning streak of his career before being derailed by Nurmagomedov his last time out. Considering how well the Brazilian had been fighting, it was shocking to see someone come in and dominate him with relative ease. Whatever the reason, you have to expect him to come back to the Octagon more motivated than ever for this fight.

RJ touched on the fact that High will be making his debut at lightweight, but the fact that he is doing so against such a high-caliber fighter lightweight makes a tough situation even tougher. Look for the Brazilian to return to form with the submission victory on Saturday.

De Souza: Seeing that High will fight dos Anjos at lightweight might be strange not only because of High’s history of welterweight bouts, but also because High did defeat Anthony Lapsley and James Head in his most recent tilts. Nevertheless, High is a man that held his own and found success in a weight class of larger men, and now he will jump straight into the deep end, so to speak, at lightweight. Still, those expecting a cakewalk for dos Anjos should think again, because this fight will be anything but an easy one for the fringe contender.

Yes, dos Anjos is still on the fringe of potential contention because, let’s be honest, the men that have not gotten tooled by Nurmagomedov either don’t fight at lightweight or don’t respond fast enough whenever the matchmakers come calling for a guy to face “The Eagle.” In other words, dos Anjos shouldn’t feel too bad about coming off a loss to Nurmagomedov. Besides, dos Anjos is still improving in every facet of his game, and he is still working hard to put everything together in a way that helps him to compete with the upper echelon of the lightweight division.

What kind of High will we see, though? The weight cut can work any number of ways. High either could feel better and more comfortable with putting everything together than he did at welterweight, or he could feel drained and sluggish overall. If all goes well, High’s wrestling game should be able to persevere here.

That sounds like a big “if” until one remembers that a strong takedown-heavy game can stifle dos Anjos. So, even if High doesn’t have the best of weight cuts, he just needs to exert enough energy to dominate the top position. High may be fighting an uphill battle, but he should respond well in his lightweight debut. With his takedowns and a well-executed game plan centered around more grappling than anything else, High secures a rear-naked choke for a first-round upset victory.

FlyW: John Dodson (15-6) vs. John Moraga (14-2)

De Souza: John Dodson and John Moraga are part of why the flyweight division remains exciting, even with a dominant champion like Demetrious Johnson at the top of the class. Both men own losses to the champ, but Dodson holds the distinction of having come as close to beating “Mighty Mouse” as any flyweight that the champ has faced since winning the belt. Dodson may find himself a step closer to a rematch with Johnson, but, as far as opponents go, Moraga is no walk in the park.

Moraga’s rise to the flyweight title chase was remarkable because he went from Facebook portions of cards to UFC on Fox main-event status in relatively short order. Of course, Johnson dominated when the two did battle, and, to top it all off, Moraga was submitted in the fifth round. A debated decision win over Dustin Ortiz followed, leaving questions about whether Moraga would ever come back in a clear way.But Moraga still owns a good chance to return to his truest form if he can knock off arguably the most powerful flyweight he’s faced up until now.

Dodson, like Moraga, has only fought once since his loss to Johnson. After a knockout win over Darrell Montague, Dodson planned on replacing an injured Ian McCall against Scott Jorgensen, but an injury prevented the bout from happening. The luxury of only having won once since losing to Johnson, though, is that Dodson only needs to put that power to use one more time—or, if need be, twice more—in order to cue up another title bid.

Someone’s ability to finish will prevail here, and please excuse me if I actually do find this bout tough to call. Dodson may bring better striking defense, but if this one goes to the ground, Moraga would likely possess the grappling edge.

Dodson implements his power again by catching Moraga with a hard right hand to score a TKO win inside the distance.

McKenna: It will be a battle of two of the top flyweights, and Dale did a fine job laying out the credentials of the two fighters. However, he left one key part out. In 2011, Dodson won the 11th season of The Ultimate Fighter by knocking out his opponent in a fight that took place at bantamweight. Who was it that he knocked out? None other than T.J. Dillashaw, the man who currently reigns as the bantamweight champion of the world. That is the type of power that Dodson carries with him, and it is a lethal thing for a flyweight to carry around.

What this fight comes down to is the fact that, overall, “The Magician” is simply a better fighter than his opponent. Dodson has a lot of tools on his belt, and he knows when and where to use them, something he has displayed beautifully throughout his time in the Octagon. I agree with Dale: Dodson will win this fight by TKO.

Gardner: This is a flyweight fight that just screams “fireworks.” Both men came up short in their title bids against Johnson, but they each had their moments against the champion. What my colleagues failed to point out is that this isn’t the first time these two fighters have met. Dodson defeated Moraga via unanimous decision at Nemesis Fighting: MMA Global Invasion in December 2010.

Moraga, a former All-American wrestler at Arizona State, is the better grappler of the two, but Dodson is a freak athlete with the kind of explosive knockout power fighters of which fighters can only dream. Dodson’s knockout victory over current UFC bantamweight champion Dillashaw is more impressive when one considers that Dillashaw just dismantled Renan Barao, who was universally recognized as one of the best fighters in the world prior to his loss.

Moraga, wanting to avenge his prior loss to Dodson, has some extra motivation coming in, but he is going to have his hands full. Dodson is a strong enough wrestler to keep the fight on the feet, where Moraga is simply overmatched. Dodson is too fast and powerful for Moraga, and he wins this one via third-round knockout.

LW: Ross Pearson (15-6) vs. Diego Sanchez (24-7)

McKenna: When fighters go 1-3 over their last four fights, speculation starts to swirl about whether or not they will be released from the promotion in the near future. Normally this is the case, but it doesn’t necessarily hold true for Diego Sanchez. “The Dream” is the type of fighter who goes out and battles each and every time, and he’s never part of a boring fight. His two straight losses cannot be ignored, though.

Pearson, meanwhile, has returned to form after moving back to lightweight following a brief stint at featherweight. He won two straight fights before his next fight was ended due to an illegal knee against Melvin Guillard. It is difficult to explain, but if you compare the Pearson of today to that of his first stint at lightweight, the current version has definitely been way more of a force to be reckoned with.

We haven’t had a fight between two winners of The Ultimate Fighter in a while, but that is exactly what we get when season-one winner Sanchez battles the season-nine victor, Pearson. In this particular bout, I’m going to take the “The Real Deal” based off a combination of how he has performed as of late and, also, the fact that Sanchez has taken so much punishment as a result of the way he fights that it is only a matter of time until his chin starts to deteriorate.

Pearson by second-round TKO.

Gardner: Brian makes a great point about Sanchez. Even though he stands at 1-3 in his last four bouts, people don’t really think about him potentially being on the chopping block. That’s because of his style. But although Sanchez is a UFC sweetheart, the lightweight division is bursting at the seams with talent. There is no room for a fighter on a three-fight skid, so this is very much a must-win season for the TUF season-one winner.

Pearson has looked great since his return to lightweight. He defeated George Sotiropoulos and Ryan Couture before taking that illegal blow from Guillard in his last outing. A big reason Pearson has looked so good has to be due to his move to Alliance MMA in San Diego. Alliance is quickly becoming one of the premier gyms in all of MMA.

Given the styles of both fighters and their willingness to go to war, this fight has the potential to be a great one. Sanchez is no stranger to entertaining clashes, but Pearson is the more technical striker and he has the advantage on the feet. Although Sanchez is a tenacious wrestler, he prefers to stand and trade. Since B.J. Penn is the only person to ever stop Sanchez, I don’t think Pearson will get the stoppage. However, he should be able to outwork Sanchez.

Pearson wins this one via unanimous decision.

De Souza: If this had happened back during Sanchez’s time as a top contender, perhaps this bout might have been something of an instant classic. However, Sanchez represented a different breed of fighter then. He was able to successfully blend in his fast-paced offense and his takedowns beautifully against top-level guys not named B.J. Penn. At this point, though, it’s hard to tell what kind of fighter he is, because just when you think he has it all put together, he shows that he still has a long way to go before he can get it all going.

Pearson may not represent the best that Sanchez has faced in a long time, but he still presents a well-rounded threat that can hurt Sanchez. All it takes is one shot from Pearson to rattle anyone, and with the mixed bag of tricks he brought to The Ultimate Fighter 9, he certainly can formulate a plan to take advantage of Sanchez’s aggressiveness. Granted, this will mark Pearson’s first fight since the aforementioned no-contest, so there will be a question about whether Pearson can get it together on fight night. Additionally, the fire lit in him by the loss to Myles Jury in Dallas will certainly motivate Sanchez to put on his best performance in a while.

We will see what Sanchez has left to offer when he fights in Albuquerque for the first time since his pre-UFC days. Certainly, the hometown crowd with invigorate “The Dream” to show the world what he can do when his back is against the wall. But Pearson will not go down with ease. In fact, Pearson will not go down at all. “The Real Deal” executes with his boxing and pushes through three tough rounds to nab a unanimous decision from the TUF 1 winner.

LW: Benson Henderson (20-3) vs. Rustam Khabilov (17-1)

Gardner: The headlining bout of the evening is a lightweight contest featuring former combat sambo world champion Rustam Khabilov and former UFC lightweight champ Benson Henderson. Khabilov is coming off of a “Fight of the Night” performance, and Henderson is rarely in a boring scrap.

Combat sambo, like collegiate wrestling, is arguably the best base to having when making the transition into MMA. The discipline has a lot in common with MMA, and Khabilov was a world champion in the sport. Also consider that Khabilov has only lost once in his professional career and that he heads into this fight riding a six-fight winning streak, and there is plenty of reason to like his chances.

Henderson, though, will be too much to handle for the Russian. Henderson is a former NAIA All-American wrestler, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and a taekwondo black belt, not to mention he has some of the biggest thighs you will see on an athlete outside of the NFL. Henderson is one of the sport’s truly elite athletes, and he will drive that home against Khabilov. Henderson wins this one via exciting unanimous decision.

De Souza: Just when you thought you had the UFC lightweight picture figured out, the UFC goes ahead and shakes it up a little bit more. Arguably, Henderson serves as one of the top lightweights in the UFC, despite his controversial win over Josh Thomson.

At this point, we can all expect that Henderson will push his opponent all five rounds if he’s in the main event. Nobody will question that, in between hair flips and a calm stare that dares his foes to come at him, Henderson’s powerful wrestling game and cardio mix well enough to break his opponents down and leave them unable to respond from the bottom. Very few men can claim to have figured Henderson out in that regard, but Khabilov might be the first.

Would it shock anyone if he did? Remember, owning a base in combat sambo means essentially keeping more than a handful of tools at one’s disposal. In this case, Khabilov’s bread and butter involves a wide array of takedowns from a variety of arts, meaning that if he can’t get a guy down with something from a wrestler’s playbook, he will do his hardest work to look for a judo-style throw before taking his foes into his world.

Henderson comes in as the favorite to prevail here, and Khabilov knows this. On paper, one might expect Henderson to have more ways to win because of how he strikes, sets up his takedowns and hunts for submissions, but a man that can take anybody down without having to look for a double-leg or any traditional wrestling takedown is going to know more ways to execute that kind of game plan. Henderson fights his hind parts off, but Khabilov gets the better end of the unanimous decision verdict here. However, he will not win more than three of those five rounds.

McKenna: If there is one person who truly lives up to his nickname within the UFC, it is Benson “Smooth” Henderson. He really is smooth as a fighter, which has led to a lot of success throughout his career. The former UFC champion has been looking to return to championship form ever since he lost his title to Anthony Pettis back at UFC 164.

However, the real story here is the quality of his opponent, Khabilov. The Russian is 3-0 inside the UFC, but, for the most part, people have absolutely no idea who he is, which truly is a shame. He made an absolutely mind-boggling debut when he threw Vinc Pichel around the Octagon worse than Daniel Cormier just threw Dan Henderson around. One of the slams set up the fight-winning knockout over Pichel.

The other story of this fight is the experience factor. Both fighters are superb, but fighting in five-round main events is something that Henderson has been doing regularly since 2009. Furthermore, he has been doing it against the top lightweights in the world, and he has emerged victorious, sometimes even defeating the same opponent on multiple occasions. Khabilov will have his time in the spotlight down the road, but it will be “Smooth” leaving the cage victorious on Saturday.

Preliminary Card
LHW: Patrick Cummins (4-1) vs. Roger Narvaez (6-0)

McKenna: Remember when Patrick Cummins burst onto the scene to take on Daniel Cormier with just over a week’s notice? Yeah, that may have turned out to have been a bad decision, but it did earn him a second fight with the promotion. Now, he returns to take on Roger Narvaez in the first fight of the night. This is a hard fight to pick because of the small sample size we have to work with, but I’m going to go with Cummins by first-round knockout.

De Souza: I wish we could speak from an alternate universe where Cummins at least gave Cormier some fits before he got finished, but Cummins did not look the least bit competitive in that bout. With the chance to work on a full camp, Cummins will look better this time. However, Narvaez, who comes in to make his UFC debut here, will end things with a first-round knockout.

Gardner: This fight seems like a bit of a consolation prize for Cummins, but he earned it by creating some real hype for an otherwise uninteresting fight and by taking a beating at the hands of Cormier. Cummins isn’t getting a cake walk in newcomer Narvaez, but, with a full camp under his belt and experience against one of the best fighters in the world, Cummins will win this one via first-round submission.

LW: Jake Lindsey (9-0) vs. Jon Tuck (7-1)

De Souza: Titan FC veteran Jake Lindsey joins the UFC roster to face Jon Tuck. Tuck lost for the first time in his pro career in a tilt with Norman Parke last year. Up until his UFC debut one fight earlier, Tuck had never gone to decision, but both of his Octagon appearances have seen the judges. Tuck will look to end this one somehow. “Super Saiyan” gets it done via a second-round submission.

Gardner: Being a fellow Kansan, I really want to pull for Lindsey. However, he is getting a real test in Tuck, a stud of a grappler. Tuck is elite on the mat, having won competitions all over the world. In MMA action, he is hungry to get back in the win column. Lindsey is game, but Tuck will simply be too much for him. Tuck wins this one via third-round submission.

McKenna: According to my research, there has only been one time that Tuck has fought in North America, and that was when he lost against Al Iaquinta to get into The Ultimate Fighter 15 house. He has spent most of his career fighting in Asia, and his aforementioned defeat against Parke happened in England. The common connection here is that he does not succeed when he has to take a long plane ride to a fight, which is exactly what will happen for this fight. Look for “The Librarian” to take advantage of this and win the fight by second-round TKO.

FlyW: Scott Jorgensen (14-9) vs. Danny Martinez (16-5)

Gardner: Less that four years ago, Scott Jorgensen was fighting for the bantamweight title. Now, he is 1-5 in his last six and has dropped his last three straight, and was submitted twice in the process. It is win-or-go-home time for Jorgensen heading into this fight, and while he isn’t getting a cake walk by any means, Danny Martinez is not on Jorgensen’s level. Jorgensen wins this one via second-round submission, thereby handing Martinez the first stoppage loss of his career.

McKenna: I have absolutely no idea as to why Jorgensen is still under contract with Zuffa. This literally has to be the absolute last chance for him after all those losses. For this reason, Jorgensen will be fighting against himself, rather than fighting against Martinez, who will be standing across from him. Because of this, Martinez will emerge victorious by decision.

De Souza: “Young Guns” isn’t on the tail end of his career by any means, but he knows this is a make-or-break moment. Martinez cannot afford a loss either. Jorgensen pushes the pace against Martinez, but in one of the more closely contested bouts of the night, Martinez takes a split decision.

WW: Lance Benoist (6-2) vs. Bobby Voelker (24-11)

De Souza: With what’s happened in the UFC since UFC 152, it’s understandable to forget that this will be Lance Benoist’s first fight in the UFC in two (count ‘em, two) years. Of course, he’d love nothing more than to beat Bobby Voelker, but Voelker comes in with the motivation of having never won in the UFC, despite three appearances in the promotion against serious opposition. Benoist is a good challenge for Voelker, but he doesn’t fall on the level of a Patrick Cote or a Robbie Lawler. Give me Voelker by a first-round knockout and an early “Performance of the Night” contender.

McKenna: This is clearly a loser-goes-home match, with the two fighters entering the fight on a combined five-fight record of 0-5. Benoist looked promising when he first entered the promotion and took the unanimous decision from Matthew Riddle, who was always a tough fighter to beat. It was downhill from there, though, with Benoist dropping two straight to Seth Baczynski and Sean Pierson. Unfortunately, the extended time away from the cage will only hurt him even more, and he will drop his third straight here.

Gardner: It’s not often UFC fans are treated to fights featuring fighters with a combined 1-5 UFC record. Honestly, it’s not something fans should ever be forced to endure. Regardless of who wins, neither fighter has shown they are worthy of a UFC contract. I doubt either is going to make a statement to the contrary in this outing. Voelker has faced tougher competition, and I expect him to get his first UFC win. Voelker wins via first-round TKO.

BW: Yaotzin Meza (20-9) vs. Sergio Pettis (10-1)

McKenna: Sergio Pettis, who joined the UFC roster in 2013, has been one of the biggest free agent signings for the UFC. He lost his last time out against Alex Caceres, but look for “The Phenom” to return to the cage better than ever. There are a lot of fighters who need that kick in the rear to motivate them to train harder and harder, and the defeat against “Bruce Leroy” is exactly that for the Roufusport product. I wouldn’t want to be Yaotzin Meza in this fight, because Pettis is going to come out strong and win the fight in the first round.

Gardner: Every fighter wants to win every fight they are in, but losing is an important part of a fighter’s development. It forces the fighter to take that next step in their growth. Pettis is a tremendous prospect with a very high ceiling, and the loss in his last outing was just the motivation he needed. Meza is a tough veteran, but he is getting thrown to the wolves here. Pettis wins this one via first-round TKO.

De Souza: As much as I thought Pettis might have won against Caceres, I agree that he’ll learn more from that loss than he ever would have from a win over “Bruce Leroy.” Meza is a stellar competitor who has the experience needed to get the best of Pettis, but he’s been thrown to the wolves for more than just this fight. He’s been in that role since he’s been in the UFC. Pettis reinvents the “Phenom” within and locks a “W” down with a first-round knockout, though he can realistically finish early by whatever method he chooses.

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.