The UFC on Fuel TV 3 card has majorly flown under the radar. That may be because it’s on Fuel TV and many don’t have Fuel included in their cable package, or maybe even because it’s on a Tuesday night. However, the card from top to bottom has the potential to be one of the best, most action-packed cards of the year.

The UFC returns to Fairfax, Va., and the Patriot Center on May 15 for a card that should provide fireworks. The 12 men on the main card have combined for over 100 finishes in their careers. That is nothing short of amazing.

The main event has major title implications on the line, with the winner likely becoming the No. 1 contender to face off against the winner of Jose Aldo and Erik Koch. It wasn’t very long ago that Donald Cerrone’s name was being tossed around in title contention, and Amir Sadollah is a TUF champion.

While the card doesn’t carry a ton of household names, the fans that tune in for this one will be in for a treat, and a few of these guys are bound to become household names before much longer. If you don’t have Fuel, it’d be a wise decision to call your cable provider before May 15.

The panel of Paige Berger, Jake Martin and Garrett Derr took a look at each of the fights on the Fuel TV main card, which will air live at 8 p.m. ET and is prefaced by the preliminary card on Facebook beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET.

MW: Tom Lawlor (7-4) vs. Jason MacDonald (25-15)

Martin: Tom Lawlor and Jason MacDonald is an intriguing match-up to begin the night’s main card. Lawlor has had his fair share of struggles inside the Octagon, while MacDonald seems to be reaching the end of his long MMA career.

Jason MacDonald (R) (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

Both fighters are coming off of losses, so obviously both guys need a win in a bad way, especially Lawlor. Lawlor’s one of those guys that is entertaining outside of the ring with his flashy entrances and costumes at the weigh-ins, but he is inconsistent in the cage.

In fact, he has lost three of his last four, so a loss could send Lawlor packing. To make matters worse, two of those three losses came by way of submission, and that’s MacDonald’s specialty.

Fighting with his job on the line, Lawlor will give it his all, but I don’t think that’ll be enough. As much energy and excitement as Lawlor brings to the UFC, it’ll be sad to see him handed his walking papers following another submission loss.

Derr: I think Jake makes some great points, but one thing we need to take into account is MacDonald’s age. He’s 36 years old and he’s certainly not getting any younger. If we’re being completely honest with one another, MacDonald never truly reached his full potential.

With that being said, Lawlor has been lackluster at best in his most recent outings. In my opinion, we’ll see a barnburner with two of the sport’s most outdated fighters.

MacDonald will certainly be looking for the early submission as that’s been his go-to throughout his career. Lawlor’s submission defense has been suspect so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see MacDonald leave Fairfax with another tally for the win column.

Tom Lawlor (Second from left) (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

It’s also likely it’ll be the last time we see Lawlor in the UFC.

Berger: If Lawlor could bring his flash outside the cage inside, this fight could be the surprise of the night. However, as has been pointed out already, both men are hanging on to their UFC careers by the skin of their teeth.

Lawlor is younger and has less experience than his veteran opponent, which may mean he has more to lose. This fight also happens to fall on his birthday, so he’ll have some extra pep in his step come Tuesday night.

MacDonald has had an admirable career with a 25-15 record. Not many can say they’ve fought 40 times professionally in this relatively young sport. He’s a submission ace that may be looking at his last fight regardless of a win or a loss. While 36 is young when you look at what Randy Couture did, MacDonald is no Couture.

My bold prediction of the night is that this is the last fight inside the Octagon for both men. MacDonald will earn a submission victory, personally writing Lawlor’s pink slip, but here’s the bold part: MacDonald will retire and go out with a win. At 36 years old, he doesn’t really have the tools to make a run in the stacked middleweight division and as an athlete, I know firsthand it’s better to go out on your own terms than to have that decision made for you.

LHW: Fabio Maldonado (18-4) vs. Igor Pokrajac (24-8)

Derr: Many will look past the light heavyweight showdown between Maldonado and Pokrajac as few are familiar with the arsenal of each fighter. But I’m here to tell you why you shouldn’t.

Igor Pokrajac (Heavy MMA)

When we look at the 205-pound weight division, we are often directed to Jon Jones, Rashad Evans, or even Dan Henderson. In my opinion, the middle of the pack is completely overlooked and Maldonado and Pokrajac are no exception.

These two have combined for 25 knockouts over the course of their careers, and it’s likely we’ll see a 26th when action begins on Tuesday night. It will come down to who can withstand the most punishment when all is said and done.

Maldonado has never been knocked out in his career, while Pokrajac has fallen via KO four times. I believe we’ll see his fifth.

Berger: I think Garrett is spot on when he says both of these fighters fly under the radar. I think back to almost a year ago to Maldonado’s battle with Kyle Kingsbury at the TUF 13 Finale, and I can’t help but get excited for this one.

While Maldonado hasn’t fought many big names, he’s a Team Nogueira product with 22 professional fights to his credit. Don’t let the Nogueira affiliation fool you though, only three of his 18 victories have come by way of submission, and while he’s never been knocked out, two of his four losses have come via submission.

Pokrajac is coming off a first-round KO of another heavy-handed fighter in Krzysztof Soszynski. He’s fought bigger names than his opponent, and while most of those big names have gotten the better of the Croatian, the experience of having been in a cage with these guys will certainly bode well for him.

Fabio Maldonado (L) (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

Maldonado has been out of action for almost a full year; that, along with Pokrajac’s experience, I feel will lead to the first KO of Maldonado’s career.

Martin: As both of my compadres have pointed out, this fight has all of the makings to be a crowd pleaser. Even more so, it could steal the “Fight of the Night” award.

That’s a hard sell because you have such great fights like Dustin Poirier vs. Chan Sung Jung and Donald Cerrone vs. Jeremy Stephens on the card, but Pokrajac and Maldonado is capable of stealing the show.

They both have somewhat of a sprawl-n-brawl mentality, and when both guys are willing to stand and “bang,” it always makes for a fun fight.

I’ve gone back-and-forth on who will get the victory, but at the end of the night, I’m going to agree with Paige and say that Pokrajac’s experience will be the difference maker in this fight. Give me Pokrajac by decision.

BW: Jeff Hougland (10-4) vs. Yves Jabouin (17-7)

Berger: The battle of striker vs. submission ace. Hougland is coming off injury and will be making his second appearance inside the Octagon, while Jabouin is a UFC and WEC vet.

Yves Jabouin (L) (Heavy MMA)

Hougland is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and seven of his 10 victories have come by way of submission. He looked great in his promotional debut last summer and earned a unanimous decision victory over Donny Walker. At 5-foot-9, he’s a huge bantamweight and will have a three-inch height advantage over Jabouin.

With 11 of his 17 victories coming by way of knockout, Jabouin will be a huge threat on the feet. He’s got a wealth of experience having faced the likes of Mark Hominick, Sam Stout and Raphael Assuncao in his career. He’s won three of his last four, but his ground game is a bit weak and he has been submitted in three of his seven losses.

While Jabouin has the experience, I think Hougland will use his size advantage to take the fight to the ground and earn a submission victory.

Martin: I don’t know about y’all, but I feel it’s time for Jabouin to live up to the hype. He came into Zuffa as a highly-touted striker, and he’s shown only a few glimpses of his skills.

Yes, he’s won two out of his three fights in the UFC, but some of those victories were razor-thin decisions.

But as he takes on a submission ace in Hougland, as Paige pointed out, this could be his moment to really showcase those striking skills. But at the same time, Jabouin’s only loss in the UFC came by way of submission against Pablo Garza, but Garza pulled off a flying triangle for Heaven’s sake.

So this truly is an interesting scuffle with a clash of two completely different styles. As far as who will win, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Jabouin finally puts it all together and stops Hougland in what will be his most impressive victory to date.

Derr: I had the opportunity of talking with both Hougland and Jabouin this week and my senses tell me we’re in for a real treat.

I definitely agree with Jake in the sense that it’s do-or-die for Jabouin. Not in terms of losing his job, but showing that he is a legitimate force in the bantamweight division. He’s coming off two questionable split decision victories where many felt he was shown grace by the judges’ scorecards.

With that being said, there are few that have flown under the radar as had Hougland, who will attempt to win his 10th straight fight.

In my opinion, this bout is as black and white as you can get. If Hougland can connect on the takedown, he’ll have the upper hand as he seems to excel in the submission. However, if Jabouin can stuff the early takedowns and maintain the pace on his feet, he’ll have a great chance as well.

But, advantage Hougland.

LW: Donald Cerrone (17-4) vs. Jeremy Stephens (20-7)

Derr: Get ready for a showdown, folks, as Cerrone and Stephens will take part in one of the most exciting bouts of the year. Many were surprised that Stephens was given this opportunity as he is coming off a loss. Or is he?

Donald Cerrone (R) (James Law/Heavy MMA)

If you can recall, Stephens came up short in a split decision loss to rising star Anthony Pettis at UFC 136. However, some feel Stephens received the short end of the stick as they felt he did enough to get the “W.”

With that being said, it will really come down to which Donald Cerrone shows up. Will it be the Cerrone we saw reel off six wins in one year or the Cerrone that was picked apart against Nate Diaz at UFC 141?

I believe we’ll see a rejuvenated Cerrone who will put Stephens on his back early and often. From there, Cerrone should have no problem capturing his first win of 2012.

Martin: You couldn’t have said it any better, Garrett. The true storyline of this fight is going to be which Cerrone shows up.

The Cerrone that fought Diaz was but a shell of the Cerrone we’ve grown to admire and respect. For the first time in a long time, Cerrone was tentative, and if he’s tentative against Stephens, he might very well go to sleep.

Stephens doesn’t get enough credit for the power he possesses, and if he happens to connect with Cerrone, it could be a short night for the “Cowboy.” But having said that, Cerrone’s striking is on a whole different level than that of Stephens.

Jeremy Stephens (James Law/Heavy MMA)

Stephens does have power, but he isn’t the most technical striker. At the end of the fight, Cerrone will get his hand raised with a decision victory over a very game Stephens.

Berger: This fight is going to be intense, and is actually my pick for “Fight of the Night.” Neither man has been knocked out, but between the two they have an astounding 31 finishes. I don’t think this one gets to the judges.

I chalk Cerrone’s performance against Diaz up to two things. One, he was too emotional going into the fight. The younger Diaz got inside “Cowboy’s” head and threw him right off his game. Two, Diaz is firing on all cylinders right now and has never looked better. Therefore, he’s making all of his opponents look like amateurs. I think we see a much sharper Cerrone this time around.

As for Stephens, I love guys that love to stand and bang, and Stephens is certainly one of those guys. He has 14 wins via knockout. My issue with Stephens is, while his record is impressive at 20-7 and he does have wins over a couple credible opponents like Sam Stout and Cole Miller, it seems like whenever he gets in the cage with someone at his level or better he gets submitted or drops a decision.

Based on what I’ve said above, I agree with both of my colleagues and feel Cerrone will walk away with the victory. Cerrone by submission.

WW: Jorge Lopez (11-2) vs. Amir Sadollah (5-3)

Martin: Anytime you have Amir Sadollah matched up against a striker, you know you’re in for a treat. That’s exactly what fans are in for on May 15 when Sadollah squares off against Jorge Lopez.

Jorge Lopez (standing) (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

Lopez’s UFC career didn’t exactly get off to a great start last September, and he’ll be looking to rebound against one of the more entertaining fighters at welterweight. Lopez lost a unanimous decision against Justin Edwards in his UFC debut, and in that fight, Lopez failed to get into any rhythm.

When he fights Sadollah, he’s going to have to settle in quickly, or he might be limping away from this fight. Lopez is a more patient striker, while Sadollah is a more aggressive Muay Thai specialist that throws some of the most beautiful leg kicks you’ll see.

This has all the makings to be a crowd pleasing fight, and Sadollah will be the one to get his hand raised at the end of the night. He needs a win following his tough loss to Duane Ludwig, and matching him up with another striker will bode well for him. Put me down for Sadollah via decision.

Berger: As a Las Vegas resident, this fight excites me because both men train right here in the fight capital of the world. As Jake pointed out, striker vs. striker is always a recipe for a fun fight as well.

Both men are coming off losses, so they’ll surely have something to prove. Sadollah has a wealth of experience inside the Octagon, as all of his professional fights have been in the UFC. While he is a striker, it’s interesting to note that he doesn’t have a (T)KO victory to his credit. However, training with Robert Drysdale has paid off as he does have two submission victories. He’s fought some tough guys, but it’s time for Sadollah to step up and show why he’s a TUF champ.

Lopez is a young guy who has never been finished in his 13-fight professional career. He’s a Wanderlei Silva product, and certainly takes after his mentor in that his knockout to submission (zero) ratio reads more like a Cy Young candidate in baseball.

Amir Sadollah (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

This is a tough one to call. I will take Sadollah purely because he trains at the better camp with guys like Forrest Griffin plus pretty much the entire Xtreme Couture roster over at Drysdale’s, and he simply has more tools to win the fight. Sadollah by decision.

Derr: This is a pretty interesting match-up, as it’s unclear just how good Lopez truly is. We saw dominating success through the early stages of his career, but that was in lower-tier promotions.

Lopez didn’t do much impressing in his Octagon debut, which leads me to believe we’ll see something similar when action begins on May 15. However, Lopez does have knockout power and will need to control the stand-up early and often.

When the rubber meets the road, I see this bout favoring the man with experience and that is certainly Sadollah in this match-up. Despite few notable wins, Sadollah has gained the Octagon experience through bouts with Johny Hendricks, Phil Baroni, and Duane Ludwig.

Lopez certainly has an opportunity to capitalize early, but when all is said and done, it will be Sadollah who gets his hand raised via decision.

FW: Dustin Poirier (12-1) vs. Chan Sung Jung (12-3)

Berger: The fact that this fight is headlining a Fuel card blows my mind. It could easily headline an FX card or be on the main card of Fox or a pay-per-view. Both of these guys are explosive and entertaining fighters.

Chan Sung Jung (Heavy MMA)

Poirier has the skills to finish his opponent on the feet or on the ground. He trains under Tim Credeur in Louisiana and has five knockouts and five submissions in his 13-fight career. His submissions are always fierce, and varied—he doesn’t have one “go-to” move.

“The Korean Zombie” is another fun guy to watch, which is why I’m sure he’s built up a cult-like following. He pulled off the first twister in UFC history against Leonard Garcia and has registered one of each of the “of the Night” bonuses. While he’s been inconsistent of late, dropping three of his last six, he’s also a guy that can finish you wherever the fight goes.

This is a hard one to predict, but one thing’s for sure: don’t blink! This has the potential to be a “Fight of the Year” candidate, and the result should thrust one of these two young stars into title contention. I say Poirier takes this one in a close bout by way of submission.

Derr: I’m still not sure why “The Korean Zombie” is headlining an event with Poirier which could potentially decide who’s next in line for a featherweight title shot.

But, when it comes down to it, I’m not the one who calls the shots. I see this being a one-sided affair as I believe Poirier is destined to become the future champion in the 145-pound weight division.

I believe Poirier to be the No. 2 featherweight in the world and no one, including Jung, will stop the rising star en route to earning his much desired title shot. If Jung wants any chance of remaining in this fight, he’ll need to approach Poirier very, very cautiously.

Dustin Poirier (bottom right) (Sherdog)

I foresee a finish in the middle of the opening frame via TKO. Watch out, Poirier is on a fast track to the top.

Martin: As much as I would like to offer a different argument from my colleagues, I must say they are both correct.

As Paige pointed out, this is a really fun fight, and it’s a fight that’s fan-friendly because of how entertaining they are. But having said that, I agree with Garrett about the matchmaking.

Yes, it’s a fight that will get fans excited, but “The Korean Zombie” isn’t on the same level as Poirier. After all, Poirier is the one that’s won five fights in a row, including knocking off No. 1 contender Josh Grispi.

“The Korean Zombie” is 2-2 in his last four fights, and one of those losses came by a vicious head kick that sent him unconscious to the canvas. I’m expecting Poirier to do the same, as he earns himself a title shot with a thrilling victory over Jung.

Top Photo: Dustin Poirier (top) rains punches (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

About The Author

Paige Berger

Relatively new to the sport of MMA, Paige is a life long athlete. She attended the National Sports Academy in Lake Placid, N.Y., where she was a pioneer member of the women's ice hockey program. She also excelled in softball and soccer before deciding to focus on hockey. Born and raised in New York, she is an avid Yankees fan. Currently residing in Las Vegas, a move she made after falling in love with MMA while training at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif., she is currently studying public relations and advertising at UNLV.