On Saturday, the UFC returns to Fox for its sixth event on the network. UFC on Fox 6, being held at Chicago’s famed United Center, represents the promotion’s quickest turnaround between events on Fox to date, with the previous show on the network having taken place just under two months ago. The UFC also seems to have stuck with its demonstrably successful scheduling by featuring both a title fight and one of MMA’s true celebrities, in addition to booking two other excellent main-card bouts for the show.

The UFC’s last show on Fox finally got the ratings the promotion and its network partner were hoping for, largely on the back of the tremendous lightweight title fight between Benson Henderson and Nate Diaz. The event also featured the return of B.J. Penn, one of the sport’s legendary figures, which almost certainly helped the numbers.

To help maintain or even improve those numbers, the UFC has structured its sixth offering on Fox in a similar fashion. The night’s main event is a flyweight title fight between champion Demetrious Johnson and challenger John Dodson. The card also features the return of one of the sport’s most recognizable personalities, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, in a fight against dangerous light heavyweight contender Glover Teixeira. A potentially explosive lightweight contest between Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis is also on tap for Saturday, as well as a likely featherweight title eliminator between Erik Koch and Ricardo Lamas.

This exciting main card airs on Fox on Saturday, Jan. 26, beginning at 8 p.m. ET with the preliminary card split between FX (5 p.m. ET) and Facebook (4:30 p.m. ET). The MMA Corner’s Sal DeRose, Riley Kontek and Eric Reinert break down the entire card in this edition of the Round Table.

FW: Erik Koch (13-1) vs. Ricardo Lamas (12-2)

DeRose: I’m not a huge fan of this possibly being a No. 1 contender’s bout, because either way Jose Aldo would decimate these guys.

Lamas (top) (James Law/Heavy MMA)

But for this fight, Ricardo Lamas gets the edge on the ground and will be able to bring down Erik Koch and grind him out for three rounds. Koch has good striking and Lamas has good power, but I don’t see either fighter really utilizing the striking game. Instead, both will have more of a tendency to rely on the clinch, defend takedowns and, when the fight hits the ground, get the sweeps and utilize top control.

I’m riding very high on Lamas in this fight. Anybody who can submit Cub Swanson the way he did, and dominate somebody like Hatsu Hioki, should be held as a good talent.

Koch hasn’t fought since Sept. 2011. On top of that, he has only fought one guy of real note—Chad Mendes—and he lost that fight. I see a repeat of that fight happening here, with Lamas grinding out a decision win and possibly earning a shot to face a scary Aldo—or a tough Frankie Edgar.

Kontek: I have to disagree with Sal’s dislike of this bout being a No. 1 contender’s fight. I have really liked what I have seen from Lamas since his drop to 145.

Koch is a great fighter, but I don’t think it’s his time. He is a gifted striker with good takedown defense, from what I have seen. However, he hasn’t taken on many wrestlers as good as Lamas in the UFC, so this may be a challenge.

Lamas has proven to be well-rounded and big at featherweight. He will mix up shots on the feet with well-timed takedowns in this fight, which will frustrate Koch. Koch has a decent submission game, but Lamas should be able to negate that with his smothering top position.

Koch (Scott Peterson/MMA Weekly)

In the end, Lamas will earn a clear-cut decision. Whether he gets a title shot from this win or not, he will be very close to challenging in the future. There are many fights for him to take in the meantime, should he not get Aldo immediately.

Reinert: Odd that both Riley and Sal have Lamas as the heavy favorite for this fight when Koch currently ranks ahead of him in The MMA Corner’s featherweight standings. That said, I can’t say I disagree with their assessment.

Despite the fact that Koch was slated for a featherweight title fight with Aldo, Lamas has, in the last year-plus, emerged as a dangerous commodity at 145. His most recent victory, a decision over the highly-regarded Hioki, put him in the position to fight another top contender, and I see Lamas continuing his current winning streak.

Ring rust will be the obvious negative for Koch, who is returning to the Octagon for the first time in nearly 16 months. Lamas is clearly an easier test for Koch than would be, say, a fight with Aldo or Edgar, but he still has his work cut out for him. He had previously proven to be a dangerous fighter, and he’ll likely get a chance to prove that once again (he’s only 24), but Saturday night will belong to Lamas.

LW: Donald Cerrone (19-4) vs. Anthony Pettis (15-2)

Kontek: This fight between Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis may not be the main event, but it is definitely the fight that many will be tuning in to watch. These WEC veterans are among the top lightweights in the UFC, as well as the most exciting.

Cerrone (R) (James Law/Heavy MMA)

Both men are strikers by trade, but don’t let that fool you. Pettis and Cerrone are very well-rounded, and train with camps (Roufusport and Jackson’s MMA, respectively) that allow them to get some of the best, most diverse training partners in the world.

Cerrone has looked amazing in his stint with the UFC, only falling to Nate Diaz so far. He has usually been the better striker in his fights (again, excluding the Diaz affair), which has set up his underrated submission game. He has a great deal of experience in the sport, which could be a great advantage in this fight.

Pettis is a great fighter in his own right, but I think he is a tad overrated due to the “Showtime Kick.” Sure, he beat Benson Henderson, but he has holes that can be exposed. His counter-wrestling has improved, but it could still be something that Cerrone exploits in this fight.

Their striking is close, but I think Cerrone holds the edge. He isn’t as flashy as Pettis, but he is technical and fights long with his arms and legs. If this fight stays standing, it will be interesting and both men will get their shots in.

In the end, I think Cerrone moves one step closer to a title shot. It is going to be an incredibly close and competitive fight, but Cerrone is the better fighter at the end of the day. This fight could be a “Fight of the Night” contender, and when it’s all said and done, Cerrone will win a decision.

Reinert: Riley hits it right on the nose by assessing Cerrone/Pettis as a “Fight of the Night” candidate. Since 2010, the two explosive lightweights have gone a combined 14-3 and have ten post-fight bonus awards between them. Both fighters find themselves in the midst of two-fight winning streaks and are looking to once again establish themselves as contenders to Benson Henderson’s 155-pound title.

Cerrone has become known for his exciting striking exchanges since debuting in the UFC in Feb. 2011, earning two “Knockout of the Night” awards in the process. Ironically, though, those fights are the only two Cerrone has won by KO or TKO. On the other hand, “The Cowboy” does own 13 victories by submission, so he is clearly comfortable in all phases of MMA.

Across the cage is Pettis, a man who, as Riley points out, really became famous after his fight with Henderson at the WEC’s final event. Even without the “Showtime Kick,” however, the Roufusport product has proven to be a well-rounded MMA fighter, securing victories over Jeremy Stephens and Joe Lauzon since coming to the UFC. His only loss was to Clay Guida, who employed a takedown-heavy offense to stifle any potential progress from Pettis.

Pettis (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

This fight is an extremely tough one to predict, as both fighters have shown themselves to be forces to be reckoned with at 155. That said, I’m going to take Cerrone based on his more extensive UFC experience. Furthermore, since both fighters are tremendous strikers, I’m going to go with the guy who is better on the ground, and that’s probably Cerrone.

DeRose: Words cannot express how much I absolutely love this fight and how badly I’ve been wanting it to come together.

This is a clear-cut striking match-up where both guys will go to town utilizing all the skills at their disposal. If the fight does hit the ground, Cerrone has a better top game, and Pettis is more comfortable off of his back and has one of the most dangerous guards in the lightweight division.

Cerrone will definitely be aware of that, and he may decide to go with his reckless side and take Pettis down. If he does, he will most likely try to spend most of the time in side control, away from most possible submissions Pettis can throw.

These two will stand and strike, there is no doubt in my mind about that. So, to pick a winner here, I’ll pick the better striker of the two, which is Pettis. Pettis has better knockout power and his fluidity in his kicks, coupled together with his creative striking prowess, gives him a hard-fought and bloody decision victory.

LHW: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (32-10) vs. Glover Teixeira (19-2)

Reinert: In the night’s co-main event, MMA legend Quinton “Rampage” Jackson enters the cage for what could be the final time to face dangerous contender Glover Teixeira. A win over Jackson would put Teixeira in decent position for a possible title shot with UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, whereas a loss by Teixeira would provide at least some vindication for “Rampage,” who has recently looked like a shell of his former self.

Teixeira (R) (James Law/Heavy MMA)

Jackson is one of the most well-known fighters in MMA history. His run in Pride Fighting Championships during the last decade made him famous, but he reached a new plateau when he defeated Chuck Liddell for the UFC light heavyweight belt in 2007. He defended his belt against Dan Henderson before losing it to Forrest Griffin in a controversial decision. Since that time, Jackson has rattled off a few signature wins against Wanderlei Silva and Lyoto Machida, but currently finds himself in the midst of a two-fight losing streak (which, to be fair, includes a title fight loss to Jones).

Teixeira, despite being nearly the same age as Jackson, is seeing his career blossom before his eyes. Undefeated in his last 17 fights, Teixeira made quick work of Kyle Kingsbury in his UFC debut in May before brutalizing Fabio Maldonado in his most recent fight. Teixeira looks as good standing as he does on the mat and probably has given Jones pause as he analyzes future challengers.

The Rampage/Teixeira fight serves dual purposes. First, Jackson’s presence on the card will almost certainly lead to higher ratings for UFC on Fox 6, due to the fame he has achieved both in and out of the Octagon. Like B.J. Penn on UFC on Fox 5, Rampage is being featured more prominently because of his name as opposed to his recent performances in the cage. Which brings us to the fight’s secondary purpose: to showcase Teixeira as the next serious contender to the light heavyweight belt.

After Teixeira dispatches Jackson, and he will, he will likely be under serious consideration for a title shot. After all, Jones is currently between title fights with guys who have fought outside of his division as a consequence of having basically cleaned out all the legitimate 205-pound contenders. And even if Teixeira isn’t given an immediate title shot after defeating Rampage, he will look impressive enough on Saturday night to at least get people talking.

DeRose: This is a tough fight for me to pick because it involves two guys who are going to stand and trade and take every shot and still press forward.

Rampage was last knocked out by Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in 2005, and Teixeira was last knocked out in his first fight way back in 2002.

"Rampage" (Heavy MMA)

This fight is a coin flip for me. One guy is getting knocked out here, it’s just a matter of whose chin breaks down first. I think with Teixeira’s ground game mixed in, he’ll certainly be able to wear out Rampage on his way to a knockout in the late second or early third round.

Kontek: If this fight were contested between a prime Rampage Jackson and Glover Teixeira, I would likely have a different view on it. However, the combination of age and disinterest that Jackson has displayed recently makes me think in a different manner.

Jackson has moved away from what made him successful in Pride, which was big slam takedowns, methodical ground-and-pound and an overall interest in being a professional fighter. What I have seen in his recent fights has been him over-relying on his boxing and leaving his great wrestling on the backburner.

Teixeira, meanwhile, has quickly grown the reputation of a killer. He may not have fought a top-10 fighter in the UFC yet, but the potential for greatness is there. His boxing has looked menacing, as has his ground game. The BJJ black belt is no picnic on the ground, but many have yet to see it because he has been showing off his hands.

Jackson does have a great chin and takedown defense, so I don’t think Teixeira will finish him. However, I do think the Brazilian will hand him a loss on his way out of the UFC, which may add some bitterness to the disgruntled UFC employee.

FlyW Championship: Demetrious Johnson (16-2-1) vs. John Dodson (14-5)

Kontek: The flyweight title is on the line, and the two quickest men in the UFC are going to square off for it. This is a match-up of lightning quick vs. lightning quick. When looking at Demetrious Johnson vs. John Dodson, I think of an old western movie, in the sense that it’s going to be like a quick-draw duel.

Dodson (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Johnson is going to come in the better wrestler. Wrestling is his bread and butter, and he has used it successfully at both bantamweight and flyweight. However, Dodson has great takedown defense and is hard to keep on his back.

Striking is going to be interesting. Johnson is highly underrated as a striker, but he is taking on a flashy, technical striker in Dodson. One has to believe Dodson will hold the striking advantage, but don’t sleep on Johnson. Those who have in the past have lived to eat their words.

The pace in this fight is going to really test both men’s stamina. If they come into the fight in fantastic shape, this fight could be a five-round barnburner. Just watching both men fight could exhaust the audience.

The way I see this going down is Johnson using his wrestling to initiate the clinch. Dodson will shake free in the first couple attempts, but eventually will wear down a bit. Once that happens, Johnson will have an easier time dragging Dodson to the mat. From there, he will deal with Dodson’s tricky guard and grind out a workmanlike decision.

DeRose: Honestly, no one is going to be able to watch this fight. These two guys are extremely quick and watching this fight, viewers are going to think they’re hyped on Mountain Dew or that they accidently hit fast forward on their remote control and somehow it’s fast forwarding a live event.

Dodson certainly has the advantage in striking. He is very technical, great at picking his shots and, for a flyweight, he lands some heavy shots.

Johnson is going to try to take this fight to the ground and utilize his wrestling to break Dodson and wear him down. But Dodson has extremely good takedown defense and will most likely be able to fend off Johnson’s shots.

Johnson (L) (Heavy MMA)

Dodson has the speed, creativity and striking to take a very hard-fought, pinpoint decision against Johnson.

Reinert: The flyweight division might be the most exciting in MMA, just because of all the unknowns. In just about every other weight class, there are one or two fighters at the top and then a seemingly wide gap between them and the rest of the division. The flyweight division is so new that there haven’t been enough fights to establish a dominant champion. In Saturday’s main event, Johnson will attempt to extend his title reign in an effort to become that man among the 125ers.

Dodson has fought more fights at flyweight and looked very impressive at 135 pounds during his run on The Ultimate Fighter, which he won. He’ll face similar competition in Johnson, who had a bantamweight title shot against Dominick Cruz before dropping to 125 pounds. Both Riley and Sal correctly point to “The Magician” as the superior striker, and Dodson could find a home for his dynamic limbs early in the fight to put an end to Johnson.

The longer the fight goes, though, the more it shifts to Johnson’s favor. “Mighty Mouse” has already had two UFC championship fights, both of which went the full 25 minutes. While, as my fellow writers indicate, stamina should not be a factor in this fight, Johnson’s more extensive UFC experience could be the difference-maker, especially as the fight gets into the later rounds.

Dodson is certainly a talented fighter, but I see Johnson successfully avoiding his powerful strikes and implementing his own stick-and-move game plan that should win him a decision.

Preliminary Card
MW: Rafael Natal (14-4-1) vs. Sean Spencer (9-1)

DeRose: Rafael Natal is coming off a knockout loss in his last fight and overall is 2-2-1 in the UFC. Sean Spencer is making his UFC debut, and that to me is always a red flag when deciding a fight. Spencer doesn’t have the easiest of entry fights, and I’ll take Natal by decision due to Spencer’s Octagon jitters.

Reinert: This one seems pretty easy to call. Natal is a five-fight UFC veteran with a win (outside the promotion) over former UFC middleweight title contender Travis Lutter. Spencer is making his UFC debut on short notice and is fighting outside of his usual welterweight division. This fight will almost certainly go to the ground, where Natal will cinch up a submission.

Kontek: Spencer has impressed me outside of the UFC so far in his career, but Eric is correct in asserting that this is a short-notice fight where he is stepping up a weight class. Natal is a solid middleweight with good grappling chops and improving striking. Expect the UFC veteran to snag a late submission or a clear-cut decision, which will send Spencer back to welterweight.

WW: David Mitchell (11-2) vs. Simeon Thoresen (17-3-1)

Reinert: One of UFC on Fox 6’s opening bouts features welterweights David Mitchell and Simeon Thoresen. Both fighters are submission specialists coming off losses and are naturally looking to improve their position in the division with a win Saturday. I’m giving the advantage to Mitchell here due to his comparatively more challenging opposition and the fact that both UFC losses have come via decision, whereas Thoresen suffered a knockout against Seth Baczynski in his most recent contest.

Kontek: Mitchell is a very overlooked fighter for a guy with as impressive of a record as his. Sure, he is yet to win in the UFC, but the caliber of submission victories he has pulled off before entering the company is intriguing enough to get behind. Thoresen is a good grappler himself, but Mitchell is probably the better submission technician. Either way, Mitchell should do enough for a decision.

DeRose: Well, let’s make it three to pick Mitchell. I’m on the same boat with Eric’s thinking, on top of the fact that Mitchell is a better grappler and the fact that both of his losses are decisions. So it helps me sleep at night knowing he hasn’t been finished and most likely won’t be here. Mitchell by decision.

WW: Pascal Krauss (10-1) vs. Mike Stumpf (11-3)

DeRose: Mike Stumpf was fed T.J. Waldburger as his debut fight and gets another tough fight in his sophomore outing. Pascal Krauss will make this fight hit the ground, where he will try to submit Stumpf. I think his seven submission victories turns into eight here. Krauss by submission in the second.

Kontek: It’s easy to look bad against Waldburger in a ground battle, especially when the fight was on extremely short notice. However, Stumpf looked more lost than the usual Waldburger opponent before he got tapped out. Krauss is actually a very tough fighter who gets a lack of fanfare. Expect the German to tap Stumpf out of the UFC.

Reinert: As much as I’d love to go against the grain here, there’s nothing about the match-up that makes me think it’ll go any different than my two counterparts suggested. Krauss’ only professional loss was to John Hathaway, who has looked like an absolute destroyer at times. Following his loss to Waldburger, I expect Stumpf has been working on his ground game with his Team Curran stablemates, but I nevertheless expect Krauss to take the decision victory.

HW: Shawn Jordan (13-4) vs. Mike Russow (15-2)

Kontek: Shawn Jordan is coming off a boring, frustrating loss to Cheick Kongo in his last outing, a fight that was a big step up in competition for him. Mike Russow is fighting in front of a home crowd and is coming off a tough loss to Fabricio Werdum. A combination of experience, hometown advantage and overall grappling superiority will carry Russow to a decision victory.

Reinert: I have to agree with Riley on this one. Russow looked pretty impressive in his first four UFC bouts, winning two by stoppage and two by decision, before losing to Werdum, a dangerous heavyweight contender, in his last bout. Jordan’s last bout against Kongo did not inspire a lot of confidence, and Russow will likely use him as a stepping stone on Saturday night.

DeRose: Let’s make it three votes towards Russow. He has looked very impressive, including in fighting in front of his home crowd last time against Jon Olav Einemo. I’ll take the home-crowd advantage and pick Russow by decision.

LHW: Ryan Bader (14-3) vs. Vladimir Matyushenko (26-6)

Reinert: There are a few preliminary card fights that could easily have been on the main card of a different event, and this is one of them. Such is the jam-packed nature of UFC on Fox 6. Both fighters are coming off of losses to title contenders (Ryan Bader to Lyoto Machida and Vladimir Matyushenko to Alexander Gustafsson) after a pair of wins, and each is looking to re-establish himself as the title threats some thought they were a few years ago. I’m giving the edge to Bader strictly based on age. He’s 29 to Matyushenko’s 42 and definitely has several competitive years ahead of him. This could be the fight that ends “The Janitor’s” UFC career.

DeRose: I think Bader is the better fighter here and has a ton of potential that he hasn’t quite realized yet. I think Bader scores the takedowns and grinds out Matyushenko to get a decision nod.

Kontek: Both Bader and Matyushenko are great wrestlers and legit mixed martial artists. The difference is going to be in the power that Bader has in his hands. Despite the fact that Bader leaves his chin up sometimes, I think he will get to Matyushenko’s chin first, effectively earning a mid-round knockout victory.

FW: Clay Guida (29-13) vs. Hatsu Hioki (26-5-2)

DeRose: Clay Guida’s debut fight at featherweight makes this a tricky pick. How he will respond to the weight change is anybody’s guess, and Hatsu Hioki might try to exploit that as best as possible. Hioki will surely get beat on the feet by Guida, and I think he will have a very tough time trying to get the takedown as well. Guida by decision.

Reinert: Anyone else think it’s pretty crazy that Guida went from headlining an event in his last fight to being relegated to the preliminary card for his next one? Anyway, “The Carpenter” debuts at featherweight against one of the best 145-pounders in the sport, and he’ll likely stick to his typical hyper-kinetic offense against Hioki. Expect a lot of takedowns and ground-and-pound from Guida en route to a decision.

Kontek: Hioki is a wizard on the ground, but judging by his performance against Ricardo Lamas, this fight is a great match-up for Guida. The Illinois native will use his frantic brawling style on the feet to score points and mix in some takedowns. It should be a pretty easy decision to score for Guida.

LW: T.J. Grant (19-5) vs. Matt Wiman (15-6)

Reinert: In yet another fight that could easily be on the main card of some other event, lightweight standouts T.J. Grant and Matt Wiman square off in an effort to advance their position in a very crowded and very talented 155-pound division. Like many other fights on this card, this one is extremely difficult to predict, with both combatants riding multi-fight winning streaks over challenging opponents. Wiman has really impressed lately, most recently handing submission specialist Paul Sass his first career loss (and submitting him in the process). I see a similar result on Saturday, though I think Wiman will end up taking an exciting decision.

Kontek: Wiman is the most underrated lightweight in the UFC, but he gets a great fight here against Grant. Grant is very difficult to deal with on the ground, but Wiman is better. Wiman is also the better striker, so expect him to mix takedowns together with power shots to nab a decision.

DeRose: I totally agree with Riley about Wiman. He is definitely one of the most underrated lightweights, and his mixture of wrestling and striking give him an edge here. He should be able to mix it together to convince the judges that he is the clear winner. Wiman by decision.

Top Photo: John Dodson (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting

About The Author

Eric Reinert
Staff Writer

Eric Reinert has been writing about mixed martial arts since 2010. Outside the world of caged combat, Eric has spent time as a news reporter, speechwriter, campaign strategist, tech support manager, landscaper and janitor. He lives in Madison, Wis.