While the main card of UFC 132 features a stacked lineup, don’t overlook the preliminary card for this UFC offering.  A number of interesting fights will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas before the event transitions to pay-per-view for the final five fights.

Lightweight Melvin Guillard will look to continue building upon his recent success when he takes on Shane Roller, while George Sotiropoulos will attempt to get back on track as a lightweight contender when he faces Rafael dos Anjos.  Those two bouts will air live on Spike TV beginning at 8 p.m. ET.

Surprisingly, even further down the lineup, we find a former WEC champion against a former WEC top contender, as bantamweight ex-champ Brian Bowles locks horns with Takeya Mizugaki.  It’s hard to believe that such an intriguing bout is on the Facebook broadcast portion of the card, which airs at 6 p.m. ET.  It just speaks to the plethora of great match-ups on this show.

Rounding out the Facebook portion of the prelims will be a middleweight skirmish between Brad Tavares and Aaron Simpson, a clash between lightweights Anthony Njokuani and Andre Winner, and a fight between a pair of debuting bantamweights in Jeff Hougland and Donny Walker.

The MMA Corner Round Table panel of Corey Adams, Bryan Henderson and Brian McKenna analyzed all six of the prelim fights.  Read on to see who they like in each bout.

BW: Jeff Hougland (9-4) vs. Donny Walker (15-6)

Adams: The stacked night of fights begins with a clash of two bantamweights making their UFC debuts.

Hougland has mostly competed in the Rumble on the Ridge circuit, as well as other smaller organizations. He is coming into this bout having won eight straight fights. I did not know this, but “Hellbound” faced current Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez in his only time with the WEC in 2003. Although he did come out on the losing end, he has competed against one of the top fighters in the world. Hougland’s style consists of jiu-jitsu, having seven of his nine wins come by way of submission.

Walker currently has compiled a lesser-known resume, but is coming into the UFC with a win streak himself, consisting of seven bouts. “Eagle Eye” has bounced around in many different organizations, but will take a step up as he makes his debut. Walker is also known as ground fighter with eight submission victories to his credit, including a rear-naked choke win against Billy Vaughan in December 2010.

Both men possess a similar style which makes this an interesting match-up. This fight has the makings of hitting the mat, but the ground games could cancel out each other. In the end, I think it will go the distance with Hougland earning the win.

Henderson: Granted, both men enter this fight with lengthy winning streaks, but something tells me these two won’t make many waves in the Octagon.  They just don’t have the resumes to make me believe that they can take a step up to the level of competition that the UFC’s bantamweight division has to offer.

That doesn’t mean a battle between the two won’t be interesting.  These guys are both submission specialists and have both competed at heavier weights in the past.  Hougland has picked up four wins in the last year, but was inactive before that for a stretch of more than four years.  Meanwhile, Walker has remained consistently active since his 2004 pro debut, but hit a rough patch in 2007 and 2008 where he went 2-5.  Walker’s most significant win has come against Bellator veteran Kenny Foster.

I think aggressiveness will be the key in this fight.  Hougland has only gone beyond the first round three times in his career, including against Melendez, and he has been an extremely quick finisher in his last five outings.  Walker isn’t quite as fast when it comes to ending a fight, and I think that costs him here.  Octagon jitters will make for a somewhat tentative opening minute or two, but Hougland will get to work early and have Walker tapping before the end of the opening stanza.

McKenna: I have to say that I thoroughly enjoy watching two fighters that are on big-time winning streaks fight one another.  Sure, both of these guys are making their UFC debuts, but what it tells me is that one way or another these fighters have been on their “A-game” lately.  I would be lying to you if I honestly said that I knew of these two fighters prior to this bout, but I look at that as a positive rather than a negative, because it means that these two men get to make a name for themselves, rather than be on some sort of overblown hype train.

From doing a bit of research on these guys and listening to my colleagues here, it appears that these two guys both have solid ground games.  With that being said, it appears that Walker has a bit of an edge in the striking game, which is why I’m leaning towards him winning this fight.  I’ll take Walker by knockout early in the third, but honestly, this is anyone’s fight.

LW: Anthony Njokuani (13-5) vs. Andre Winner (11-5-1)

Henderson: How Njokuani is still under contract with Zuffa is a mystery to me.  With the import of talent from WEC creating for an even more crowded lightweight division, someone who has gone just 1-2 in his last three fights on the blue mat and who followed that up by losing his UFC debut seems like a sure recipient of a pink slip. Yet here we are, with the striker facing off against The Ultimate Fighter 9 finalist, Winner.

Njokuani has shown flashes of brilliant stand-up and did win three in a row via TKO early in his WEC stint, but he’s also proven to be highly inconsistent.  Winner is a grinder who should be able to employ a strategy of avoiding Njokuani’s one strength, looking instead to clinch and dirty box his way to a victory.  Njokuani can defeat solid foes, such as Bart Palaszewski and Chris Horodecki, who would stand and trade with him at arm’s length, but I see Winner closing the distance rather than hanging out at the end of Njokuani’s strikes.

I think we’re in store for another disappointing showing from Njokuani.  Winner will outwork the striker and earn a unanimous decision that finally ushers Njokuani out of the UFC.

McKenna: While it is no secret that Njokuani has been struggling lately, let’s be honest with ourselves and admit that Winner hasn’t exactly been tearing the cover off of the ball lately either.  In Winner’s five official UFC bouts, he has gone 2-3, winning against Rolando Delgado and Rafaello Oliveira, both of which made their exit from the promotion after losing against Winner.  When Winner had to face a step up in competition, he didn’t exactly shine while getting decisioned by Nik Lentz and choked out by Dennis Siver.

With that being said, I agree with Bryan’s statements about Njokuani.  While he holds one of my favorite knockouts of all time – the head kick to the running-away Horodecki followed by the finish on the ground – he hasn’t done well as of late.  I think that when his fight against Edson Barboza earned Fight of the Night honors in his UFC debut, he earned a little bit of slack because, as we all know, Dana White and company love guys that show up to fight and put on a good show.
While Njokuani comes mainly from a Muay Thai background, he needs to recognize that most British fighters struggle when it comes to their wrestling.  With that being said, I think that Njokuani will earn the decision victory strictly by out-wrestling Winner.

Adams: This is a huge fight for both men, as a loss would more than likely have them cut by the UFC.

Njokuani is known for his highlight reel knockouts, but has had more down times than up. You may see something amazing out of him, or you may see another disappointing performance by the Muay Thai specialist. You never know.

I’m going to agree with Bryan in this fight and take Winner. After two straight losses, he should be focused to turn his career around. Winner should be aware of Njokuani’s strikes, as he has never been knocked out in his career. I think he will be able to grind out a decision victory.

MW: Brad Tavares (7-0) vs. Aaron Simpson (9-2)

McKenna: Tavares was on his way to winning his TUF 11 semi-final fight against Court McGee when he was tagged late in the third round, which led to him being brought to the ground and choked out.  In that fight, Tavares showed great takedown defense and also a great jab.  I personally thought that we would have seen Tavares go on to win the season if he had gotten past McGee that night, but there is nothing we can do about it now.  Tavares went on from the season to fight at the Finale, where he outpointed Seth Baczynski, and most recently dominated Phil Baroni at UFC 125.  It appears that the loss to McGee was probably good for his career, as he has looked great since.

Simpson had never lost a professional bout until he ran into Chris Leben back at that TUF 11 Finale.  While Simpson looked great in the first round against Leben, he absolutely gassed in the second round which lead to him getting knocked out.  Simpson went on from there to lose his next scrap against Mark Munoz, a fighter who has been on the rise as of late.  Simpson lost by unanimous decision in that fight, but managed to win a round on all three of the judges’ scorecards.  Simpson most recently bounced back by defeating Mario Miranda in March.

In my opinion this is Tavares’ fight to lose.  Sure, he has not fought the most difficult competition that the UFC has to offer, but he has handled every test.  Look for Tavares to earn the knockout in the first round.

Adams: Tavares steps in to replace Jason “Mayhem” Miller to take on the former collegiate wrestler Simpson.

Tavares looked good in his fight with Baroni at the beginning of the year and looks to have a great future in the UFC while only being 23-years-old. He looks to be a well-rounded fighter and will need to be against a guy like Simpson.

I like Brian’s pick of Tavares in this bout, but I’m not sure if there will be a stoppage. Yeah, Simpson was knocked out by Leben last year, but Leben possesses more powerful hands than does Tavares. Not saying he can’t put Simpson to sleep, but I’m going say it goes the distance with Tavares earning a decision.

Henderson: Simpson is one of those fighters who just cannot seem to get over that hump.  He’s 9-2 and has posted four wins in the Octagon, but he has also suffered two losses during his stint in the UFC.  Those defeats came at the hands of Leben and Munoz, both of whom are tough middleweights that have, at one time or another, been discussed as contenders.

The question here is whether Tavares is more in-line with the likes of Leben and Munoz, or if he’s more of a middling performer.  Given his undefeated seven-fight resume, I’m going to have to say he’s more contender than UFC prelim regular.  Now, don’t take that to mean he’s a contender right now — I’m just saying he has the potential to rise to higher levels than Simpson’s previous UFC victims.

Tavares has seemingly built a better all-around game than Simpson has managed to this point.  It won’t be an easy win for the Hawaiian, but he’ll demonstrate that he’s continuing to improve and impress.  I’ll echo Corey’s opinion, picking Tavares via decision.

BW: Brian Bowles (9-1) vs. Takeya Mizugaki (14-5-2)

Henderson: There’s no doubt that Mizugaki is a tough opponent.  He has taken former champion Miguel Torres and recent top contender Scott Jorgensen to decisions, as well as having defeated Rani Yahya and Jeff Curran.

However, Bowles is a former champ in his own right and has only suffered defeat once in his career.  That loss just happens to have come against current champion Dominick Cruz.  Since the loss, and following a long injury layoff, Bowles has come back to defeat Damacio Page and start his quest to recapture the gold.

While Mizugaki presents a stiff challenge, I don’t see him as the man to knock Bowles off of his path back to a title shot.  Other than the loss to Cruz, Bowles has impressed against everyone he has faced.  I see an exciting stand-up war taking place in this one, with Mizugaki scoring here and there, but Bowles ultimately getting the best of the exchanges. Bowles takes this via decision.

Adams: I agree with Bryan in this one, but I think Bowles may be able to submit Mizugaki.

Brian Bowles (Ken Pishna/MMA Weekly)

Bowles currently has had six submission victories in his career, including three of which were awarded Submission of the Night honors. As Bryan stated, Bowles is looking to make another run in the bantamweight division to get his belt back. I too believe Mizugaki isn’t the type of fighter to set back Bowles.

The reason I say this is because the majority of Mizugaki’s fights go the distance, with nine of his 14 wins coming by way of decision. Also, he was submitted back in November 2010 by Urijah Faber who, like Bowles, is a brown belt in BJJ. This isn’t the best match-up for Mizugaki in my eyes and I see Bowles locking up a submission midway through the fight.

McKenna: Let me start out by saying that you know that a fight card is stacked when a bout between former WEC bantamweight champion Brian Bowles and Takeya Mizugaki isn’t even on the Spike TV Prelim card.

Bowles is looking to work his way back to the top of the 135-pound division.  The only time I have ever seen Bowles really look flustered is while fighting Cruz, which is something that Cruz does to people on a regular basis.  I would have loved to see the Cruz vs. Bowles fight continue to the late rounds, but when the doctor stopped the fight because of Bowles’ broken hand, there was nothing we could do about it.  I think that Bowles is now back and more motivated than ever simply because that fight marked his first career loss, he lost his title, and he did so because of a broken hand, not because the other guy truly won.

I feel that lately Japanese imports to American MMA promotions have struggled a bit.  Takanori Gomi was 31-5 prior to the UFC, and is 1-2 for the UFC.  Yoshihiro Akiyama was 13-1-0(2) before, and is 1-2 for the UFC.  Mizugaki is not really any different, as he was 11-2-2 prior to fighting for the WEC, and is 3-3 since.  The top fighters in the world flock to America to fight for the big payday, which makes the competition higher and the result is Mizugaki’s true colors as a fighter are showing.  Mizugaki did happen to take down Yahya, but doesn’t have much else to show while fighting here.

I see this fight being a boxing clinic for Bowles, and because of that Mizugaki will try to bring the fight to the ground where, like Corey said, Bowles will secure the submission.

LW: George Sotiropoulos (14-3) vs. Rafael dos Anjos (14-5)

McKenna: Sotiropoulos was on a seven-fight winning streak, running through George Roop, Joe Lauzon and Joe Stevenson before being derailed by Dennis Siver at UFC 127 in his homeland of Australia.  Prior to the loss, Sots was in the conversation for a shot at the lightweight strap.  Oh, how the mighty have fallen, as that one loss has bumped Sotiropoulos off of a pay-per-view main card for the first time since February of last year.

Dos Anjos will enter the Octagon for the seventh time on Saturday.  He is only 3-3 fighting for the UFC and he has had an up-and-down UFC career so far.  He wins the fights that he should win — Rob Emerson, Kyle Bradley, Terry Etim — and he loses the fights that he has no business winning — Jeremy Stephens, Tyson Griffin, Clay Guida.  Quite frankly, we need to see something from this kid in order for him to become relevant in the UFC.

George Sotiropoulos (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)

Sotiropoulos has 14 wins with eight by submission, and dos Anjos has 14 wins with seven by submission.  This fight could very well turn into a BJJ showcase.  Because of that, I see this fight going the distance with Sotiropoulos coming out the victor.

Henderson: While Sotiropoulos might be known for his work on the mat, his boxing has not looked half bad lately.  Sure, if he can’t take down a noted striker like Siver, he’s going to be in for a long night in the striking department.  However, as visions of dos Anjos getting knocked into oblivion courtesy of Jeremy Stephens flash through my head, I feel like we might be talking about a BJJ specialist who can come into this fight with confidence that he has an advantage regardless of where the bout takes place.

Dos Anjos might be a submission specialist, but I doubt he’ll want to test his skills against someone of the caliber of Sotiropoulos.  That leaves it up to the native Australian to decide whether he wants to challenge the takedown defense of dos Anjos or try to pick him apart on the feet.

This fight might turn into a tuneup session for Sotiropoulos.  He might let it go longer just so he can work on tweaking some elements of his game.  Once he tires of that, he’ll find a way to end dos Anjos’ night.  I’ll say he uses his boxing to knock down dos Anjos, then pounces and quickly snaps on a submission for the win.

Adams: This is a fight I can see being worthy for Fight of the Night honors possibly.

Sotiropoulos has locked in various submissions, but as Bryan mentioned, his boxing is vastly improving. He took a step back with his loss to Siver, but that should benefit him somewhat for this fight, as he is looking to get back on track.

This won’t be an easy fight for the Australian, however, as dos Anjos is a talented fighter. But the thing with the Brazilian is that he hasn’t beaten any top-of-the-line fighters. He’ll get another chance to see if he can beat a top 10 lightweight in Sotiropoulos, but I don’t think it will happen.

If dos Anjos decides not to mess with Sotriopoulos on the ground, he may be surprised with the striking ability of the Australian. I don’t think either will finish the fight, but I’m expecting a close battle. In the end, I’m going to take Sotiropoulos as well, by decision.

LW: Melvin Guillard (27-8-2) vs. Shane Roller (10-3)

Adams: Many great lightweight battles will go down on Saturday, and this one is no different as “The Young Assassin” looks to make it five wins in a row against a tough fighter in Roller.

Guillard has been a part of the UFC since 2005, where he competed on the second season of The Ultimate Fighter. Since then, he has been known as one of the toughest guys in the 155-pound division. Under Greg Jackson, he has won his last four bouts, including a first-round TKO victory over Evan Dunham in his last fight. His style is primarily throwing bombs, but he is also a brown belt in Judo and a blue belt in BJJ.

His opponent will be no walk-through by any means, however. Roller was a three-time All-American wrestler at Oklahoma State. He made the transition to MMA quite well by going 6-2 in the WEC. In March 2011, Roller made his UFC debut well-known by earning a Knockout of the Night victory over Thiago Tavares. The concern for the All-American is he has not performed when put up against high-caliber fighters, being defeated by Ben Henderson and Anthony Pettis in his days in the WEC. This fight will determine if Roller should be mentioned as a future top contender in the loaded lightweight division.

It’s very difficult for me to pick against Guillard, as I made the wrong decision in his fight with Dunham. Guillard has not fared well against jiu-jitsu guys (Joe Stevenson, Rich Clementi, and Nick Diaz), but Roller isn’t the type of fighter to go for the submission right away. I think if Guillard has been working on his takedown defense, he will win this fight by knockout.

McKenna: Over the last week or two, my late night TV surfing has landed me on Versus where I have caught the Roller versus Tavares fight a couple of times.  Like Corey said, if you did not know who Roller was prior to that fight, you quickly learned because that was a fantastic flash knockout.  From that fight, you would think that Roller was a big knockout guy, but, also as Corey mentioned, Roller’s bread and butter is his wrestling.  Even though wrestling doesn’t focus on submissions, Shane has managed to take six of his ten wins via submission, so don’t sleep on that.

Guillard has indeed put himself back on the map with that highlight reel knockout over Evan Dunham.  “The Young Assassin” shocked a lot of people when he won that fight, as he was the underdog.  If anything, Guillard just put another notch on his belt and is ready to move on to the next fight, which happens to be against Roller.  Guillard definitely has more experience and also has a wider range of ammunition in his arsenal as far as training disciplines.

Shane Roller (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

But with that being said, I think that Roller will find a way to get Guillard to the ground and work the submission from it.  Unfortunately for the winner of this fight, we have such a log jam at the top of division that while it helps their career, they would definitely be on the outside of the title talk.

Henderson: I think, of the two eye-opening moments — Roller’s big KO win and Guillard’s showing against Dunham — it would have to be Guillard’s performance that impressed me more.  That’s not to say Roller doesn’t deserve credit for his win, but he’s not a knockout machine and one big KO isn’t likely to signal the start of a sudden run of big finishes from the wrestler.

Guillard’s performance, on the other hand, could indicate that the longtime veteran has finally put it all together and is focused on reaching the sport’s highest levels.  He did great against a solid fighter in Dunham, who has proven in the past to be a submission threat both on the ground and standing.  Guillard was able to avoid getting in bad spots and leaving himself open to submissions, and was able to put away Dunham via TKO.

Guillard has tremendously improved since moving to Jackson’s MMA.  With such a superior strategist in his corner, “The Young Assassin” will succeed in this fight by avoiding the takedown and outstriking Roller.  Roller has suffered a couple of TKO losses in his career, and I think that number moves up to three when all is said and done in this match-up.  Guillard via second-round TKO.

Top Photo: Melvin Guillard (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)