When Zuffa merged its WEC brand with the UFC, three lightweights stood out from the pack as the most promising imports at 155: the final WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, former title holder Ben Henderson and, finally, perennial contender Donald Cerrone.

While Ben Henderson recently defeated UFC lightweight contender Jim Miller, it could be argued that out of this trio, Cerrone has had the most success since migrating to the UFC’s Octagon.  Cerrone’s resume since arriving definitely sports more honors.  Compared to Henderson’s 2-0 record with both wins coming via decision and Pettis’ 1-1 mark with a split decision win over Jeremy Stephens and a loss to Clay Guida, Cerrone’s three-fight winning streak with two stoppages, a Knockout of the Night bonus and a Fight of the Night bonus looks positively outstanding.

Saturday evening at UFC 137 in Las Vegas, Cerrone has a chance to further his pursuit of a title bid at 155 pounds when he steps into the cage against fellow contender Dennis Siver.  Since 2009, Siver has posted a 7-1 mark under the UFC banner and poses a substantial threat to Cerrone’s current run of success.  The winner is likely only a step away from a lightweight title shot.  Could this finally be the “Cowboy’s” time, or will the German derail his hopes?

Fans will get to find out the answer to that question during the 8 p.m. ET Spike TV Prelims broadcast.  The lightweight clash will be joined on the live broadcast by a featherweight bout between Bart Palaszewski and Tyson Griffin.

Earlier in the evening, fans can visit the UFC’s Facebook page to catch the rest of the preliminary card for the event.  Chris Camozzi will make his return to the Octagon against Francis Carmont in a middleweight bout, lightweights Danny Downes and Ramsey Nijem will battle, Brandon Vera meets Eliot Marshall in a light heavyweight showdown and someone’s “0” must go when undefeated middleweights Clifford Starks and Dustin Jacoby make their UFC debuts.

The MMA Corner panel of Corey Adams, Brian McKenna and Richard Wilcoxon break down all of the UFC 137 preliminary card action in this edition of the Round Table.

MW: Chris Camozzi (15-4) vs. Francis Carmont (16-7)

Wilcoxon: Camozzi finds himself back in the UFC for a second run. His only fight out of the promotion was a controversial decision victory over Joey Villlasenor. The former TUF competitor is a tough fighter who eats up lesser-established fighters, but struggles when confronted by fighters a little further up the ladder than himself.

Carmont is a UFC newcomer. He is getting his shot after defeating former UFC competitor Jason Day. On paper, he appears to be well-rounded.

But fights aren’t held on paper. Jason Day is actually just 1-5 in his last six fights, so defeating him is not the feather in the cap it used to be. Also, and even more damning for me, is that Carmont lost to Ross Pointon. Yes, it was years ago, but Pointon was the epitome of the UFC’s hope to get a UK star. Pointon was 2-6 in his last eight fights before making The Ultimate Fighter reality show and Carmont was one of those two victories. Maybe he has improved since then, but that is a big red flag for me.

Camozzi should win the fight easily. Carmont hasn’t been stopped since 2008, so he may be able to hold out to lose a one-sided decision.

McKenna: When Camozzi was cut from the UFC, I was a little surprised. Under the UFC banner, “Kamikaze” had won two fights and lost just one, and this doesn’t even include the fight he won to get into the house for the 11th season of TUF. He probably could have made some noise if he didn’t break his jaw in that entry fight, but ultimately we will never know. With that though, three victories in the Octagon, albeit one of them technically amateur, and after one loss he got the boot.

Meanwhile, Carmont has proven himself to be well-rounded, as Richard has previously stated, while fighting in minor promotions. He has recently ripped off five straight victories and is 7-3 in his last ten fights, which is extremely respectable. However, the problem with “Limitless” is that in those fights he has not beaten anyone who matters.

Chris Camozzi (r) (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)

To me, the fact that Camozzi was cut from the promotion so suddenly left him hungry. After one fight outside of the UFC in which he had to grind to get the victory, they brought him back and I think they will be happy that he is back as he steamrolls the newcomer. Camozzi with the second-round submission victory.

Adams: I’m going to echo my panelist’s prediction of Camozzi and I agree that this will be a fight he is very capable of winning.

When Camozzi first came off TUF, I thought he would make an immediate impact with his long reach and jiu-jitsu skills, but he suffered a loss and was cut by the UFC.

The exit from the promotion will actually turn out to be a good life lesson for the young guy and he will come out fighting hard on Saturday, earning an early submission win.

LW: Ramsey Nijem (4-2) vs. Danny Downes (8-2)

McKenna: Both Ramsey Nijem and Danny Downes made their official UFC debut at The Ultimate Fighter 13 finale. Despite this, they had both previously fought inside of an Octagon. Downes, with the WEC twice, and Nijem, while fighting on the 13th season of the TUF reality show.

Ramsey Nijem (Spike TV)

Even though Nijem was knocked out while fighting for the contract against Tony Ferguson, he looked impressive while fighting on The Ultimate Fighter, displaying both great grappling and great striking. He finished all three of his fights leading up to that finale fight, twice choking out his opponent and once finishing the fight by strikes. The Utah native could turn out to be a feared fighter for a long time due to the fact that he has displayed his abilities at the ripe age of 23, and can only get better from here.

Five fights before Nijem lost to Ferguson, Downes was defeated by Jeremy Stephens via unanimous decision. It was not the UFC debut that he had hoped for, as he had only gone 1-1 with his first go-around with Zuffa while fighting for the WEC. Stephens really found a way to smother “Danny Boy” on that particular night, and he really could have drawn the blueprint for defeating him.

Both of these young guns are looking to get back onto their winning ways and Nijem will be the one who has his hand raised at the end of the fight. Considering that this is his first fight since the conclusion of the show, he will be more focused without constantly worrying about a camera being on him. Downes will be choked out sometime in the first round.

Adams: This is one of the more intriguing fights on the undercard in my opinion and will be worth watching on Facebook.

Nijem will be the favorite in this fight, and rightfully so. During his time on the reality show, “Stripper Ramsey” was the guy I predicted to win, but ended up falling to Ferguson, as mentioned. As Brian stated, the three fights he did win on the show were all by knockout or submission. That shows that he doesn’t prefer fights to go to the judges’ scorecards, which is exactly what Dana White and the UFC are looking for.

Danny Downes (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

“Danny Boy” is not someone that should be overlooked, however. The young kid fights out of one of the top camps in the country in Milwaukee with trainer Duke Roufus. While his UFC debut wasn’t as impressive as he would have liked, I expect Downes to put up a good fight against Nijem.

But when it comes down to it, I believe this is Nijem’s fight to lose. In the early going, Downes may be able to land some solid strikes, but in round two, Nijem will lock up a submission hold to get his first UFC win.

Wilcoxon: This is a striker versus grappler fight in my eyes. Sure, both guys have some skill in the others area of speciality, but their key to victory lies in opposite roads.

Really, I don’t have much to add to my colleagues’ analysis of Nijem. He will be looking to get this fight to the ground where he can apply submission.

Downes is still an enigma to me. His lone victory under the Zuffa banner was over Tiequan Zhang. At the time, that appeared to be an accomplishment, but since then Zhang has not looked very impressive. Downes will need to keep this fight standing to have a hope.

I don’t think Downes can keep it standing the entire fight. Nijem will take this fight to the ground easily where he will dominate. Downes has a puncher’s chance, but that’s about it. I look for Nijem to end this early with a rear-naked choke in the first round.

MW: Clifford Starks (7-0) vs. Dustin Jacoby (6-0)

McKenna: When two undefeated fighters both make their UFC debut against one another, fireworks are bound to take place. In one corner, we have Clifford Starks, who fights out of Arizona Combat Sports, and in the other corner, Dustin Jacoby, who calls Finney’s Hit Squad gym his home.

While these two fighters don’t have the biggest names in the sport, both of them have fought in strong promotions to get them to where they are today. Starks most recently fought with Shark Fights and Jacoby had a fight with well-known Chicago promotion XFO. These were the stepping stones that got us to where these guys are today.

Be that as it may, Jacoby holds five knockout victories and one submission victory, as opposed to three knockouts and one submission for his opponent. Considering Starks fights with Arizona Combat Sports, you have to believe that he has great wrestling. However, in order to wrestle, the fight has to go to the ground. While Starks works for it to get there, Jacoby will be setting up the knockout to take the win.

Adams: Even though 90 percent of the MMA community will not know who these two men are, they will both bring it on Saturday to make a statement to the UFC that they are here to stay.

As mentioned, Starks trains out of Tempe, Ariz., which gives him an advantage to have the opportunity to train with guys such as Ryan Bader and Aaron Simpson.

At first, it was expected to be Jacoby against Brad Tavares on the main card, but after Tavares went down with an injury, this fight was moved to the undercard. When looking at Jacoby’s resume, two things stand out. First, his height, as he stands 6-foot-4. Second, his record, with five knockouts and one submission. The 23-year-old has never been past the second round and I see that happening in this fight as well.

Dustin Jacoby (Capital City Cage Wars)

This bout is my sleeper pick for Fight of the Night. It could be an exciting fight that goes to a decision, but I think it ends early with a knockout victory for Jacoby in round two.

Wilcoxon: I will put myself into that 90 percent and admit I know very little about these two fighters. As mentioned, Jacoby will have a height advantage and looks to be the epitome of a striker with five out of his six victories coming via TKO.

As Corey mentioned, Starks is coming on about 10 days’ notice. While that is a concern, Starks just fought on Oct. 15, so he will be in fighting shape. He also is a former collegiate wrestler with Arizona State University and trains with a known team.

With a proper training camp, I would take Starks to win this fight without hesitation. The late notice does concern me a little, but the impact will be lessened by his recent fight. I have to buck the trend here and take Starks to use his wrestling to control the fight and win a decision.

LHW: Brandon Vera (11-5) vs. Eliot Marshall (10-3)

Adams: I actually didn’t realize Vera was still with the promotion after dropping three straight fights, with one of those losses turned into a no-contest. But it’s good to see “The Truth” back in the Octagon in a must-win situation against Marshall.

Brandon Vera (r) (Bryan Henderson/The MMA Corner)

Even though Vera compiled an 0-3 record in his most recent outings, you have to look at the opponents he faced: Randy Couture, Jon Jones and Thiago Silva. A Hall of Famer, the current light heavyweight champion and a former top contender. So when it comes down to it, Vera just needs to take on guys lower in the rankings and will do so at UFC 137.

A member of Grudge Training Center in Denver, “Fire” Marshall will not be a walk-over. The 31-year-old is in a bit of a win or get cut situation himself. After a loss to Vladimir Matyushenko in March 2010, Marshall was cut from the UFC, but in his time away from the promotion, he racked up three straight wins. The UFC brought him back to take on Luiz Cane at UFC 128, but he was defeated in the first round. Marshall’s fate rests on what happens in this bout.

Anytime fighters are in a situation where they have to win to keep their job, they will find anyway to take home a victory. I expect Marshall to try to take Vera to the ground and work his jiu-jitsu game in an attempt to either earn a late submission or a clear-cut decision, but I’m going to take Vera to rejuvenate his career with an early knockout stoppage.

Wilcoxon: Oh, there is no doubt about it, this is a loser-leaves-town match-up. Vera was only brought back into the UFC fold because Thiago Silva tested positive for PED use while Marshall was brought back as late replacement for UFC 128. The UFC will almost always give a late replacement a second fight with a full training camp if they help out the promotion while filling in on short notice. So both of these fighters have a lot riding on this fight.

Vera may never be the monster he looked to be back in 2006, but he is a solid, well-rounded fighter. He has a background in Greco-Roman wrestling and good Muay Thai. He has solid submission defense, but don’t look for him to pull out a fancy submission.

Marshall has always been more of a gatekeeper than a monster. He has decent striking, but on the mat is where he will look to do most of his damage. The BJJ black belt has won five fights via submission and another four via decision.

Eliot Marshall (r) (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)

Stylistically, this is a bad match-up for Marshall. Vera’s wrestling ability stalled Couture for most of their fight, so I don’t think Marshall has much of a hope to get this fight to the ground. I look for Vera to pick Marshall apart before putting it away in the second round.

McKenna: After Vera knocked out Frank Mir back in 2006, he was thought to be the next big thing in MMA. Undefeated, just took out the former champ and just a few wins away from a shot at the heavyweight gold. Then, “The Truth” fell back to Earth. He lost two straight and because of it, he dropped down to light heavyweight and has been nothing but mediocre since. At this point, his UFC life still exists because of the fact that his most recent opponent doped and officially kept him from getting his third straight loss.

I spoke about how it was a little surprising that Chris Camozzi was cut from the promotion after relative success, and I feel the same way about Marshall. “The Fire” won two fights on The Ultimate Fighter, he won three straight fights in the UFC, and after losing a split decision to Vladimir Matyushenko, he got his walking papers. That doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me, but it is what it is. Now, as Richard mentioned, even though he lost at UFC 128, he is still around because he came in on short notice for that fight.

I honestly cannot justify picking Vera in this fight. He has just been so bad lately, and I really don’t see him turning it around. I am going against Richard and Corey and taking Marshall by decision.

FW: Tyson Griffin (15-5) vs. Bart Palaszewski (35-14)

Wilcoxon: Griffin was one of the best lightweights in the UFC until back-to-back-to-back losses forced him to drop down to featherweight. In his first fight at featherweight, he defeated title contender Manny Gamburyan. He is a huge featherweight with top notch wrestling skills. Griffin’s weakness is that he can be lured into trading strikes at times with guys he shouldn’t.

Bart Palaszewski (r) (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

Palaszewski is a long-time veteran of the sport. He is a jack of all trades, winning 16 fights via TKO and another 11 via submission. However, he is not a fan of the judges’ cards with 10 of his losses coming from the judges. This will be Palaszewski’s first fight in nearly a year and his first fight on the UFC stage. I wouldn’t expect this to impact a veteran like Palaszewski as much as some fighters, but it may have some impact.

Palaszewski’s best chance comes by luring Griffin into a striking battle. But Griffin and his coaches have to be aware of this as well. I look for Griffin to return to his smothering wrestling to win a one-sided decision.

Adams: Richard has laid this fight out very well, as I was thinking the same thing.

Not to put down Palaszewski, but he hasn’t been very consistent in his career. There is the fight where he defeated Anthony Pettis, but other than that, I don’t see many quality wins for him. I’ll give him credit on his striking though, because he has had some nice finishes in his time with the WEC.

Tyson Griffin (Tracy Lee/Combat Lifestyle)

But against a wrestler like Griffin, I believe “Bartimus” is at a disadvantage. The Xtreme Couture member took a downhill plunge by losing three straight fights, but was able to keep his job after defeating a tough Manny Gamburyan in June. With the win, Griffin should have his head on straight and will look to make a run in the featherweight division.

That run starts against Palaszewski, where Griffin will wear down his opponent en route to a clear-cut decision win.

McKenna: I fully agree with Richard and Corey in that this fight will be determined by Griffin being able to take down Palaszewski and use his weight to keep him down while pounding on him.

That is not a knock against “Bartimus,” because he is a solid fighter in his own right, but this fight is a match-up nightmare for him. Yes, the Polish-born fighter is a black belt in jiu-jitsu, but he is taking on a fighter who has never been submitted. I simply don’t see Palaszewski winning this fight unless he somehow finds the baseball bat that Gray Maynard was asking Dana White about after his loss to Frankie Edgar. Griffin wins by a landslide decision in this one.

LW: Dennis Siver (19-7) vs. Donald Cerrone (16-3)

Adams: In an explosive lightweight bout that will propel either fighter into title contention with a win, German Dennis Siver will lock horns with the “Cowboy”.

Siver has come on strong as of late, winning in his last four fights, and is within arm’s reach of a title shot with a win on Saturday and another win over a top contender. While having arguably the best striking game in the lightweight division, it’s actually his jiu-jitsu that has won the majority of his fights (nine).

Dennis Siver (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)

Another guy that is slowly climbing up the ranks is Cerrone, who is 3-0 since moving over in the WEC-UFC merger. Bottom line for “Cowboy” is this: He isn’t afraid to fight anyone. He is one of, if not the toughest guy in the division. Cerrone has won 12 of his 19 fights by submission, but his stand-up game is vastly improving, as he earned Knockout of the Night in his last outing against Charles Oliveira.

Even though Cerrone is coming in as a replacement for Sam Stout, I believe it is “Cowboy’s” time to step up to the plate and get a huge win over a top-10 fighter. My prediction is Cerrone will not be able to finish the German, but will earn a unanimous decision.

McKenna: The last time that Siver entered the Octagon, people were talking about how he could be the next guy in line after Maynard and Edgar battled for the title, considering he was riding a three-fight winning streak and had just dismantled then-contender George Sotiropoulos. That night he took on Matt Wiman and earned a decision victory which many people thought should have gone in favor of Wiman. Even though it goes on his record as a victory, a lot of people consider Wiman to have won that fight and Siver is heading into this fight to try to legitimize that last fight’s victory on top of winning the current fight.

I will always like guys who fight. Sure, that sounds a little bit off considering that all of the fighters indeed fight, but when you talk about Cerrone, you have to talk about how frequently this guy in fact fights. When he enters the cage on Saturday, it will be the fifth time that he will have fought in the last calender year. On Dec. 16, 2010, he defeated Chris Horodecki at the final WEC card and went on to win three more fights afterward. The fact that this is his fifth fight is a tribute to him as a guy who wants to fight and also a tribute to him about how well he takes care of himself.

Donald Cerrone (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)

While Siver indeed has a strong ground game, as Corey highlighted, he as also been on the wrong end of several submissions during his career. Considering that Cerrone has a really strong ground game himself, and that he trains with Greg Jackson, he will find a second-round submission and put himself right in the mix for a title shot.

Wilcoxon: I love this match-up and thank Joe Silva for making it! Both guys come from a striking background. Siver has a background in kickboxing that has been highlighted in his spinning back-kick victories, while Cerrone comes from a Muay Thai background. But despite both fighters pedigree in striking, both fighters finish more fights via submission.

Cerrone’s biggest weakness is wrestling, but he won’t be facing a stud wrestler in this fight and if he does end up on the bottom, he will throw submission attempt after submission attempt at Siver. Siver has seen the judges’ scorecards in four of his last five fights. I think this fight will be his fifth in his last six, but Cerrone will win the decision by being the more active fighter.

Top Photo: Donald Cerrone (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)