It’s been dubbed the “Battle on the Bayou,” and for the night’s preliminary competitors, it’s a battle to prove their worth to the UFC brass.  Several fighters are looking to bounce back from losses, while others are looking to reestablish their place within the organization and still others are making their first appearance inside the Octagon.

Welterweight Jorge Lopez enters the UFC as a highly-touted prospect seeking to live up to the hype and hand Justin Edwards his second Octagon loss.  Fresh off a split decision win over Hiroyuki Takaya, featherweight Robert Peralta makes his promotional debut against Mike Lullo.  Welterweight Mike Stumpf enters the Octagon for the first time as a short-notice late replacement to face T.J. Waldburger, who is seeking to rebound from a loss to Johny Hendricks at the last installment of the UFC’s Fight Night series.  Welterweight and TUF 13 alum Clay Harvison looks to remain undefeated inside the Octagon, while welcoming another TUF veteran, Seth Baczynski, back to the UFC.  Ken Stone and Donny Walker both seek their first win under a Zuffa-owned banner in a clash of bantamweights.  Matt Riddle returns to the Octagon after an extended layoff, seeking to hand Lance Benoist the first loss of his career in his UFC debut.  Former lightweight contender Evan Dunham looks to avoid a three-fight losing streak when he meets TUF 13 alum Shamar Bailey.  And finally, it’s all about the guillotine choke, as Cody McKenzie looks to lock in his patented hold on the neck of Vagner Rocha.

It’s eight fights worth of action, and it will all broadcast live from the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans via Facebook.  The stream begins at 5:30 p.m. ET.

The MMA Corner’s panel of Corey Adams, Brian McKenna and new staff writer Sean Smith gathered to discuss all eight prelim bouts in this edition of the Round Table.

WW: Justin Edwards (6-1) vs. Jorge Lopez (11-1)

McKenna: The first fight to take place at UFC Fight Night 25 is a welterweight clash between TUF veteran Justin Edwards and UFC newcomer Jorge Lopez. When Keon Caldwell withdrew from the 13th season of “The Ultimate Fighter” it left a hole to be filled, which was happily taken by Edwards. The Team dos Santos fighter lost in his first fight in the house to the eventual winner of the season, but looked impressive in defeat. The UFC held on to him because of this, and he fought against Clay Harvison at the finale, a fight he lost by split decision. When it comes down to it, the people who run the promotion love guys that go out and battle, and that is what we have here with “Fast Eddy.”

Looking to make a splash in his promotional debut, Jorge Lopez flaunts a fantastic record of 11-1. Fighting out of the Wand Fight Team, Lopez takes pride in being able to finish fights, as he has done in all of his victories. The most surprising statistic of all, however, is that he is only 22 years old. When I originally looked at his numbers, I was shocked that he had not fought for any major promotions, and his age must be why. One way or another, expect the young gun to show the world who he is.

Jorge Lopez (r) celebrates with Wanderlei Silva (Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog)

Look, even though the fights in the UFC Gym for “The Ultimate Fighter” are amateur bouts, Edwards has lost two straight fights. Lopez enters the Octagon with a 10-fight winning streak. This fight will definitely not go the distance, but Lopez will be the victor by knockout.

Adams: When I first looked at this match-up, I was ready to predict Edwards right off the bat. But after reading the background information on Lopez given by Brian, I had to reconsider my thought process.

Edward’s record on the show was not impressive, but as Brian stated, he did perform well against Tony Ferguson. Even after a loss to Clay Harvison, the UFC has brought him back and he should be focused to put on a good showing.

As far as breaking down Lopez, I am not familiar with him, but from what I’ve heard he is the next big thing. Hopefully, he will display his skills to the UFC fans and maybe even add another knockout to his record.

I’m going to agree with Brian’s assessment and predict Lopez by knockout.

Smith: An apprentice of Wanderlei Silva, Lopez has some serious potential. In his four years as a professional, Lopez has only suffered one loss, which came via split decision in the second fight of his career.

Edwards pushes a tremendous pace from the start of his fights. In his last fight against Harvison, that strategy worked to Edwards’ detriment, though, as he ran out of gas in the later rounds.

Lopez won’t be an easy opponent for Edwards to finish, so this fight could play out very similar to Edwards’ loss to Harvison. After taking the first round on the scorecards, look for Edwards to slow in the closing rounds.

A knockout is certainly possible, but I see Edwards surviving to see Lopez’s hand raised in a unanimous decision.

FW: Mike Lullo (8-3) vs. Robert Peralta (14-3)

Adams: As a replacement for Mackens Semerzier, Peralta will move to the UFC from Strikeforce to take on Lullo, who is looking to get his first victory in the Octagon.

Peralta has been fighting professionally near his camp in San Diego since 2007 and finally got his chance to shine, as he was able to compete in his hometown when Strikeforce ventured to the west coast. “Problems” edged out a split decision over Hiroyuki Takaya in that bout and now has an opportunity to make it two big wins in a row.

His opponent, Lullo, is no slouch as a fighter. He stepped into the cage against one of the top prospects in the sport in Edson Barboza, but fell short due to the numerous leg kicks thrown by the Brazilian.

You may think, “Well you say he isn’t a slouch, but what has he done that is impressive?” The answer is: He lasted almost three rounds against a guy like Barboza, which is a bit of an accomplishment due to the fact Barboza has a bright career ahead of him. Also, Lullo is very impressive when it comes to jiu-jitsu, having submitted six of his 11 opponents.

Robert Peralta (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Expect Lullo to try to take this fight to the ground, but if it does stay on the feet, Lullo will be prepared with an alternate game plan.

One more fact: Peralta has been submitted twice in his career. That factor should influence the outcome of this fight. Lullo takes this one by submission.

Smith: Lullo does have a strong ground game, but in predicting the outcome of this fight, my mind keeps backtracking to Peralta’s win over Takaya, which is far more impressive than anything Lullo has accomplished.

Heading into his fight with Peralta, Dream featherweight champion Takaya had won consecutive fights against Joachim Hansen, Chase Beebe and Bibiano Fernandes. Beating Takaya puts Peralta in elite company and makes him a much more proven talent than Lullo.

While it is true that Peralta might be at a disadvantage on the ground against Lullo, there is little reason to believe he can’t keep this fight standing. If Lullo can’t take Peralta to the ground, it’s going to be another rough night for him in the stand-up department.

This loss will be much less torturous than having his thigh tenderized by Barboza’s shin, but Lullo will suffer another knockout loss in his second UFC appearance.

McKenna: Both fighters enter the Octagon with solid minor-league track records and having fought tough fights in their previous outing. In this case, we have Lullo, who fought well in defeat against a lightweight contender his his last bout, and Peralta, who grinded out a split decision victory.

In what appears to be an interesting subplot in this fight, Lullo will be making his featherweight debut. When fighters drop additional weight, it is always interesting to see how they react. Now, I realize that the drop from lightweight to featherweight is just 10 pounds, but that can be a lot of weight after you have routinely dropped the same amount of weight for years. Considering Peralta’s last fight was contested at 145, he will have a slight edge. Tack on what Sean mentioned about how winning that fight against Takaya solidified his career, and you have a winning recipe. Peralta by TKO in the third.

WW: Mike Stumpf (11-2) vs. Anthony “T.J.” Waldburger (13-6)

Smith: After suffering a knockout loss to Johny Hendricks in his second UFC appearance, T.J. Waldburger will be looking to get back on the winning track at UFC Fight Night 25. The 23-year-old Waldburger, who holds wins over the likes of Pat Healy and Brian Foster, will try to spoil the UFC debut of Mike Stumpf.

Stumpf serves as a late replacement for Daniel Roberts, who was forced out of his fight with Waldburger less than one week before the event. Spending the first few years of his MMA career on the Midwest regional circuit, Stumpf owns a record of 11-2, but he hasn’t fought many established opponents in his four years as a professional.

While both Waldburger and Stumpf have earned a majority of their wins by submission, neither has ever been forced to tap, which leads me to believe that this fight will go to a decision. In addition to the nerves that come with a fighter’s first showing in the Octagon, Stumpf is dealing with extremely short notice for this fight.

With the odds stacked against him, expect Stumpf to fall short against Waldburger on the scorecards.

McKenna: When a fighter comes into a fight on short notice, I am always hesitant to pick them for the win. While most fighters are in relatively good shape and are constantly training despite not having an upcoming fight, there is a higher level of fitness that fighters achieve when they are able to have a full training camp.

Sean laid out that both of these fighters are fabulous submission fighters, and often times the two grapplers will cancel each other out which drives the fight to a decision. It is going to be hard to pick Stumpf in this fight because of the fact that he is coming into the bout with a one week training camp and that he will be fighting for the first time with a potential worldwide audience on Facebook in the biggest MMA promotion on the planet, which is why Waldburger will have less butterflies and earn the decision.

Adams: Great opinions have been stated already by my fellow panelists and I couldn’t agree more.

A Roberts vs. Waldburger match-up would be fairly even, but now with the injury to Roberts, Stumpf comes to the UFC and will be a huge underdog in this fight. The change of opponents shouldn’t be a problem for Waldburger and he will also be the faster-paced fighter.

It would be a great story is Stumpf could pull this off, but there won’t be a miracle in this one as Waldburger cruises to a unanimous decision win.

WW: Clay Harvison (7-1) vs. Seth Baczynski (13-6)

Adams: In a welterweight bout that pits former TUF competitors together, Harvison will try to make it two wins in the UFC while Baczynski returns to the promotion.

Clay Harvison (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

A member of Team Lesnar on TUF 13, Harvison will step back into the Octagon after having one UFC victory under his belt. That win came over Justin Edwards, who he defeated at the TUF finale via split decision. The Georgia native has a kickboxing background, but also has four submission wins in his career.

Baczynski came into the UFC after competing on the 11th season of TUF, in which he was disqualified in his quarterfinal fight with Brad Tavares. The two met again June 2010 and it was Tavares once more declared the winner. Baczynski has now re-amped his training camp by moving to Tempe, Ariz., at Power MMA and Fitness.

This contest is a tough one to call, but I’m leaning toward Baczynski. My hunch is that a solid training camp and two straight wins outside the UFC will give him some momentum coming into the fight with Harvison.

I’ll take Baczynski by a close decision that will have him competing in the UFC full-time.

McKenna: These “Fight Night” cards are where the UFC loves to showcase their young talent that they brought in from “The Ultimate Fighter,” and this fight is a perfect example. Both of these fighters had success on their respective seasons, but also went through the agony of defeat while in the process.

The biggest thing to me that stands out right now is how much a loss can truly humble you. In this specific case, I am talking about Baczynski. Like Corey said, Baczynski saw the opportunity for gain, after losing again to Brad Tavares, by relocating himself to a new camp. He has worked his way back into the UFC after DaMarques Johnson had to pull himself out of the fight from an injury.

Seth Baczynski (r) (Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog)

From watching Harvison on the reality show, he is also a hard worker and a tough guy, but the “Polish Pistola” has put in the hard work and will take the fight by decision.

Smith: Although he has won two straight fights since being released from the UFC, I’m not sold on the idea that Baczynski has completely turned things around. One of those two wins, a technical knockout of Tim McKenzie, was extremely controversial due to the fact that replays showed Baczynski had tapped and had his arm broken in an armbar before finishing McKenzie with elbows.

That being said, Baczynski’s time with all the former Arizona State wrestlers at Power MMA should play a factor in this fight. Harvison’s cardio nearly failed him in his last fight against Justin Edwards, so Baczynski should be able to take advantage of that if he can force his opponent to work off of his back early in this bout.

Harvison will leave everything in the cage, but it won’t be enough, as Baczynski will take this one in a unanimous decision.

BW: Ken Stone (9-3) vs. Donny Walker (15-7)

McKenna: Ken Stone has had a rough go at it ever since he signed on the dotted line with Zuffa. His first fight for the company came at the final WEC card, and he had the pleasure of taking on the first-ever WEC bantamweight champion, Eddie Wineland. The fight ended after Wineland slammed Stone, knocking him out. After the WEC merger, Stone squared off against former No. 1 contender Scott Jorgensen and was winning the first round until he was knocked out from guard. To keep it simple, I don’t know if he has the chin to be able to compete at this level.

Donny Walker (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)

Walker also lost his promotional debut, but rather than getting knocked out, he lost a split decision. While “Eagle Eye” has four knockouts and eight submissions, he has also been stopped five times in his career. I love the fact that he is well-rounded, but considering that he has been submitted four times scares me.

The soft chin of Stone makes it hard for me to pick him, but I think that he will learn from his two previous mistakes. The American Top Team product will take the fight to the ground and secure the submission late in the first round.

Smith: While Walker’s four submission losses are concerning heading into a fight with an American Top Team fighter, a couple of those losses came against stiff competition in Jeff Curran and Cub Swanson. Additionally, Walker defended a number of submission attempts in his UFC debut against jiu-jitsu black belt Jeff Hougland.

Ken Stone (Scott Petersen/MMA Weekly)

I believe Walker’s stand-up will prove to be his real weakness in this fight. In the short time that his fight with Hougland stayed standing, Walker pressed forward with very little head movement. If Stone can land a well-timed counter punch, it could be Walker’s chin that is tested in this fight. While Stone might not be the best at taking shots, the four knockout wins in his career suggest that he can dish them out.

Considering that we haven’t really seen either fighter find success on the highest level, this is a tough fight to call. Stone has more ways to win this fight, though, so I’m also taking him in the first round. However, I see the bout ending in a technical knockout.

Adams: This is a very difficult fight to pick, but should be exciting as both men are in search of a win.

I do believe Stone has the advantage in this bout as well. When you compare his resume to Walker’s, it shows that Stone has faced tougher competition. This is good to have as a young fighter, as competing against the best in the world will help in the long run.

Walker put up a good fight in his bout with Hougland, but fell just short. My prediction is that he will have a good showing, but will fall short again, this time by third-round TKO.

WW: Matthew Riddle (5-2) vs. Lance Benoist (5-0)

Smith: After battling injuries for much of the last year, Matt Riddle is ready to step back into the Octagon for the first time in nine months. Riddle, who suffered a unanimous decision loss to Sean Pierson in his last appearance, will meet UFC newcomer Lance Benoist on Saturday.

Relatively new to the professional MMA scene, Benoist has finished all five of his opponents in the first round. Having met modest competition thus far in his career, it is tough to gauge Benoist’s true ability and how he will react to this big step up in competition. That being said, I don’t doubt for a second the UFC’s ability to scout impressive talent.

Riddle has put together a respectable 5-2 record in the UFC, but none of his wins have been jaw-dropping. Benoist hasn’t had a fight leave the first round, but Riddle’s time off means his cardio could also be a problem if this fight enters the later rounds.

The holes in Riddle’s game have been put on display for everyone to see, while Benoist hasn’t been exposed whatsoever. I’m going to put my faith in the unknown and choose Benoist to win this fight by unanimous decision.

Adams: I’m going to have to go the opposite direction.

I haven’t heard of much of Benoist, but we have give him credit for his finishing ability, as Sean mentioned. Four of those wins have come by submission and he has also won the Cage Championships welterweight belt twice.

Riddle has not shown us a whole lot in the UFC, but he is a solid fighter and deserves more respect than he is credited with. The TUF 7 cast member needs a win here to stay in the mix in the UFC welterweight division.

My question is, how can someone see Benoist winning this fight? He may be the next big thing in the sport for all I know, but against Riddle, he is outmatched. Benoist likes to submit guys, but how does he plan on taking down a wrestler like Riddle? I’m taking Riddle with a first-round TKO.

McKenna: Interestingly enough, I have to use Sean’s points against him. First, it was mentioned that in every single professional fight of his, Benoist has finished his opponent in the first round. What does this sound like? Yup, Shane Carwin. He had the same statistic, but when it mattered most he didn’t know how to conserve his gas tank and he lost in the title fight against Brock Lesnar after winning the first round.

Second, Benoist was brought to the promotion because of the UFC’s ability to scout impressive talent. Well, Riddle is a product of TUF, which gets their talent through tryouts and scouting. If you want to take it a step further, Riddle entered the show without a professional fight, and is now 5-2 in his career with every fight taking place in the Octagon.

Benoist has disposed of every single opponent with relative ease, but Riddle has done very well while fighting in the best promotion on the planet. Because of this, Riddle will earn his sixth career victory after he knocks out a gassed Benoist in the third round.

LW: Evan Dunham (11-2) vs. Shamar Bailey (12-3)

McKenna: Shamar Bailey was the second overall pick for the 13th season of The Ultimate Fighter and the first pick by Junior dos Santos. Highly touted for his wrestling credentials, he won his preliminary fight by defeating his opponent with his wrestling. Bailey lost his next fight and was eliminated from the competition. After watching him in his official UFC debut last June, it is clear that he will use his wrestling to grind out fights. I don’t want to prematurely say that he is a guy who imposes the lay-and-pray tactic, but I really hope that isn’t what we see on Saturday.

Evan Dunham (Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog)

After his fight at UFC 115, I was convinced that Dunham was on his way towards a lightweight title shot. Had he defeated Sean Sherk at UFC 119, then he probably would have gotten it, however the split decision loss held him away from it. They say that a loss can be the best thing to happen to a fighter, to humble them. I thought that would be the case and we would see an explosive Dunham at Fight for the Troops 2, that he would be back on track towards the title. However, what we did see was Melvin Guillard steal the show, and hijack his title talk train. “3-D” will welcome the fight to the ground in the hopes he can secure his seventh submission victory, but one thing for sure is that he needs the win on Saturday.

Dunham knows that if he loses, he will likely be handed the pink slip. Because of this, he will be looking to not only dominate the fight, but to score a great stoppage. Dunham will stuff the takedowns and earn a knockout early in the second round.

Adams: Bottom line: Must-win for Mr.Dunham.

It seems as if the UFC gave Dunham a winnable fight on the undercard to help him get back on track. Nothing against Bailey, as he is a very tough guy that is capable of pulling off the upset, but Dunham will be highly favored.

I had jumped on the “3-D” bandwagon along with Brian and was expecting him to face one of the top guys in the division. But hopefully we will see him back to his old self in search of climbing back up the ladder.

Shamar Bailey (Spike TV)

Like I said though, Bailey is a guy that could pull off an upset. He will be much stronger than Dunham when they step in the Octagon, which could cause problems for the Xtreme Couture member. However, the speed and overall talent of Dunham will be too much to handle and will earn an early knockout.

Smith: In his short time with the UFC, Bailey has put his excellent wrestling base on display. When forced to stand, Bailey hasn’t had nearly as much success, though, so he will certainly be looking to take Dunham to the ground in this matchup.

While Dunham probably has the ability to stuff Bailey’s takedowns, as he trains with some of the best wrestlers in the sport at Xtreme Couture, he won’t be afraid to risk fighting off of his back against Bailey.

“I think he’s got his hands full with me anywhere this fight goes,” Dunham recently said. “I plan on putting him away, hopefully in the first round. If not, I plan on taking him to deep waters and seeing if he can swim.”

Dunham should get back on the winning track in this fight. Unlike Sherk, Bailey won’t be able to repeatedly escape from Dunham’s guillotine attempts. In my opinion, Dunham forces Bailey to tap in the third round of this fight.

LW: Cody McKenzie (12-1) vs. Vagner Rocha (6-2)

Adams: The Brazilian Vagner Rocha stepped up in June to fight Donald Cerrone on a few weeks’ notice. Even though he lost that fight, he showed he will take on anyone in the sport. Rocha now gets another tough opponent in McKenzie.

McKenzie’s game plan can be summed up in two words: Guillotine choke. All of the TUF 12 competitor’s wins have come by way of that particular submission hold. That’s very impressive and everything, but in the sport of mixed martial arts, you have to possess an array of skills to be successful. Yves Edwards was out face-to-face with the “AK Kid” and beat him at his own game by submitting him by rear-naked choke.

I’ve said this in the past and I’ll say it again, there is nothing more scary in the UFC than a young, hungry Brazilian. At only 29-years-old, Rocha has a ways to go in the sport. He has the jiu-jitsu background in his blood, but also has some power in his hands that has yet to be seen. Look for Rocha to display what he really has in his second fight with the UFC.

Vagner Rocha (l) (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Based on what I’ve seen out of McKenzie, I just cannot pick him until I see if he has more skills than just his guillotine choke. Rocha should be aware of this and keep the fight standing to earn a knockout in the second round.

Smith: Many fighters have fallen prey to McKenzie’s guillotine choke. That being said, in his last fight against Yves Edwards, this one-trick pony was exposed as the incomplete fighter he is. Ignoring his sloppy striking for a second, McKenzie isn’t even the better grappler in this matchup.

A world-class jiu-jitsu practitioner, Rocha is simply not going to get caught in a submission that he knows is coming. Rocha’s weakness is in his striking, but he might even have an advantage over McKenzie in that department.

I don’t see any way Rocha loses this fight. If Edwards can put McKenzie away with a submission, expect Rocha to do the same in an even shorter amount of time.

McKenna: Guillotine choke. One-trick pony. Needs to improve in other aspects of the fight game. These are exactly the things that Cody McKenzie wants you to think. When you enter a fight against the Alaskan, you absolutely have to have the knowledge of his choke in the back of your mind, and as any athlete will tell you, when you’re in the heart of battle and you’re thinking, you’re not in a good position. To think that McKenzie is not training in all aspects of the fight game is ridiculous, so expect to see him use his other skills as his opponent works around his specialty.

With all of that being said, I have to agree with how Rocha has been broken down thus far. As Corey said, a young and hungry Brazilian is always dangerous in this sport, and as Sean said, despite his elite grappling credentials, Rocha very well could have an advantage in the striking department. But even with all of this, I have to go with the TUF veteran in this fight. A guilotine choke will be slapped on the Brazilian in the second round.

Top Photo: Cody McKenzie (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)