UFC Fight Night 42 predictions, preview and analysis

Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Spor

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to FOX Sports 1 tomorrow night (Sat., June 7, 2014) with UFC Fight Night 42: "Henderson vs. Khabilov" from Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque, New Mexico. But before the cage door closes in "The Land of Enchantment," we've got your full main card preview and predictions below.

"Ditat Deus" is the state motto of Arizona, which translates from Latin to "Enough Already."

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back on FOX Sports 1 -- again -- with a locked and loaded mixed martial arts (MMA) fight card that may carry title implications (depending on the winners) and if nothing else, should give us a solid scrap or two.

Barring food poisoning, of course.

In the UFC Fight Night 42 headliner, Ben Henderson will try to stay alive in the 155-pound title hunt against the venerable but unproven Rustam Khabilov, who all things considered, is still ranked behind the zombified Gray Maynard in the (cough) "official" rankings.

Not that any 155-pound title shots are being handed out anytime soon.

In the co-main event, Diego Sanchez will continue his quest for adult diapers by getting into a face-smashing contest against British banger Ross Pearson. Both lightweights carry a TUF crown into battle, but not much else, considering neither are ranked in the top 15.

One person who does command a high and mighty spot in the division top 10 is flyweight "Magician" John Dodson. Unlike his TUF brethren in the co-headliner, he could find himself back in title contention by turning away his opponent, gritty 125-pound "Chicano" John Moraga.

Who gets the dubya and who just bleeds? Let's find out...

155 lbs.: Ben "Smooth" Henderson (20-3) vs. Rustam "The Tiger" Khabilov (17-1)

Nostradumbass predicts: I know a lot of folks are sick of seeing Ben Henderson at the top of the 155-pound mountain, especially when "Smooth" keeps winning so many close decisions against fan favorites. Unfortunately, Henderson is at the top for a reason -- much like Georges St. Pierre was at welterweight -- and that's because he's a powerful wrestler with great cardio.

What can Rustam Khabilov throw at him that he hasn't already seen?

It's difficult to build a credible case for the Dagestani because 15 wins on the International scene doesn't mean a whole lot. No disrespect intended toward the illustrious Gleb Morozov, who's been lighting up the M-1 circuit with a 3-7 record, but life begins in UFC.

And there isn't much to go on.

Khabilov has performed well in the handful of fights he's had inside the Octagon, but his biggest win to date is a unanimous decision victory over Jorge Masvidal, who is by no means a tomato can, but is notoriously hot-and-cold and still ranked outside the top 10.

Henderson, meanwhile, has faced four former world champions across three different promotions. In addition, he's 18-2 since 2007 with those two losses coming against Anthony Pettis, who apparently has "Bendo's" number when it comes to cage fighting.

Khabilov is no "Showtime."

He's also not Gilbert Melendez or Josh Thomson. He is, however, a talented prospect with a penchant for suplexes, but he needs a bit more seasoning before we throw him on the fire. Henderson trumps him in experience, quality of opposition, and ways to win.

Final prediction: Henderson def. Khabilov via unanimous decision

155 lbs.: Diego "Nightmare" Sanchez (24-7) vs. Ross "Real Deal" Pearson (15-6)

Nostradumbass predicts: Diego Sanchez claims he stunk up the joint last March in Dallas because he was stricken down by a piece of rotten meat. While nobody likes to hear excuses after a loss, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, because the last time he played the sick card was in his three-round pantomime opposite Josh Koscheck.

A fight he also took while ill.

If he comes back as "The Nightmare" -- as promised -- then Ross Pearson is in all kinds of trouble. Not because Sanchez is a particularly effective striker, but rather because "Real Deal" goes from eager to meager in a fight that doesn't allow him to control the tempo.

He waxed Ryan Couture not long after George Sotiropoulos got his Aussie kicked, two contests that afforded the well-rounded Brit a chance to dictate the pace. But against an aggressive striker like Cub Swanson, he was pummeled without prejudice.

Heck, even Cole Miller popped him and dropped him before locking up the choke.

There is no magic formula for beating Sanchez, who has now dropped three of his last five. But opponents need to be overly mobile and calm under pressure.

Pearson is neither.

His boxing may be technically superior to Diego's fistic smashery, but Sanchez -- who will go full psycho as the hometown crowd roars in approval -- is going to walk through any and all offense and turn "Real Deal" into cornmeal.

Expect violence.

Final prediction: Sanchez def. Pearson via technical knockout

125 lbs.: John "Magician" Dodson (15-6) vs. "Chicano" John Moraga (14-2)

Nostradumbass predicts: So apparently someone over at Bleacher Report did a preview for this match up and predicted Moraga was going to get creamed. After reading said preview, "Chicano" John lost his mind on Twitter and buried the MMA media.

He was also grumpy about not being in the new UFC video game but hey, neither is the bantamweight champion of the world.

My point is, there's a reason everyone is picking him to lose against Dodson. You can make the argument "The Magician" was winning his title fight against Demetrious Johnson at UFC on FOX 6 before his gas tank betrayed him in the final two rounds, whereas Moraga was never really in it before getting subbed by "Mighty Mouse" last July.

In their follow-up fights, Dodson put Darrell Montague to sleep in round one, while Moraga struggled to capture a split-decision win against Dustin Ortiz. Even if you overlook those performances, you still have the fact that Dodson already beat Moraga in 2010, and has now had four solid years under Greg Jackson to get better.

Not to mention the usual talking points about speed and power.

The one thing that weighs in Moraga's favor is the fact that Dodson is coming off knee surgery. That could be a difference maker in a fight that pits a decorated collegiate wrestler against an opponent who's biggest asset is his mobility.

But if that's all we have to cling to in favor of "Chicano John," I don't like his chances

Final prediction: Dodson def. Moraga via unanimous decision

155 lbs.: Rafael dos Anjos (20-7) vs. Jason "Kansas City Bandit" High (18-4)

Nostradumbass predicts: They say you're only as good as your last fight, which would make Rafael dos Anjos a rusty tomato can. Let's face it, he looked amateurish against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC on FOX 11. The good news is, everybody looks like hot garbage against "The Eagle," who is to takedowns what Ronda Rousey is to armbars.

Dos Anjos is an elite lightweight and a much-improved striker since his 2008 debut.

That's bad news for Jason High, who jumps out of the frying pan and into the fire. Welterweight has some pretty tough competitors, no question, but it doesn't get any easier when you start talking about the best guys in the world at 155 pounds, Dos Anjos included.

And we still don't know what kind of fighter we're going to get.

Without a previous contest at lightweight, there is no point of reference for High's weight cut adjustments, rehydration, strength, endurance, etc. He had a couple of nice wins his last time out, but neither came against top-shelf competition.

Bottom line?

I can't pick "The Kansas City Bandit" because his most powerful weapon is his wrestling, which probably isn't the best plan of attack (for anyone not named Nurmagomedov) against a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. Add that to the question marks we have about his drop to 155 and this one is all Dos Anjos.

Final prediction: Dos Anjos def. High via submission

155 lbs.: Yves "Thugjitsu Master" Edwards (42-20-1) vs. Piotr "Pletwal" Hallman (14-2)

Nostradumbass predicts: I guess we should just lay all the cards out on the table and get the numbers out of the way early. Yves Edwards turns 38 years old in September and has competed in 64 professional MMA fights (that we know of).

That's 17 years in the fight game.

This fight will end in one of two ways. Either we'll say something to the effect of, "See, he's still got it!" Or, "OMG somebody get a mop!" I'm leaning toward the former, because his recent track record is not as scary as it looks.

Even though the only thing separating Edwards from three consecutive losses is a Yancy Medeiros drug test.

But two of those defeats -- via scorecards against venerable bangers Daron Cruickshank and Isaac Vallie-Flagg -- were split decision losses, so it's not like he's been getting Liddell'd in every fight. In fact, he's only been stopped once in the past six years and did some recent finishing himself.

Including that near-death experience against Jeremy Stephens.

Even if you believe he's washed up, who the hell has Piotr Hallman beaten? Subbing a Brazilian dinosaur on a "Fight Night" card is not exactly the stuff of legend and he was knocked around by Al Iaquinta in his sophomore effort.

I'm not picking an international prospect with a 1-1 UFC record -- and a resume padded with Polish popsicles -- against a guy who can call himself "Thugjitsu Master" and still be taken seriously.

Back of the line, "Pletwal," whatever the hell that means.

Final prediction: Edwards def. Hallman via technical knockout

135 lbs.: Bryan "Kid Lightning" Caraway (18-6) vs. Erik "El Goyito" Perez (14-5)

Nostradumbass predicts: I know all the cool kids like to pick on Bryan Caraway for umpteen reasons, but here's the reality of the situation: "Kid Lightning" is a UFC fighter and gets to play Tune-In-Tokyo with Miesha Tate. Trust me when I tell you he doesn't give a fuck what all the jokesters think.

But is he any good?

When you strip away the punchlines, you're left with a talented ground fighter who needs work in the stand-up department. That's important to note heading into this fight, because if he wastes too much time on the feet, he's going out.

Not just out, like stupid-out.

Erik Perez is a violent striker who often compromises technique in fits of aggression. While a great number of fighters have a tendency to go fetal in the face of a blitzkrieg, a wrestler's natural instinct is to shoot, so don't be surprised to see Caraway do a couple of stanky legs before grabbing a single.

Then comes the ground work.

Caraway has 16 submission finishes in 18 wins, which is a staggering percentage, and all three of his Octagon victories have come by way of choke. Like "El Goyito," his lone blemish is a split-decision loss to Takeya Mizugaki, and I think he pulls away with this one in the latter half of the fight after Perez empties his tank try to finish.

Final prediction: Caraway def. Perez via submission

That's a wrap.

MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 42 fight card tomorrow night (June 7, 2014), starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 1 under card action at 8 p.m. ET and the FOX Sports 1 main card at 10 p.m. ET.

For previews and predictions on the preliminary card fights click here. To see all the odds and betting lines for UFC Fight Night 42 click here and remember to come check us out after the show for all the latest results, recaps and coverage of "Henderson vs. Khabilov."

What do you think? Now it's your turn ... let us have it in the comments section and share your thoughts and picks for tomorrow night's event.

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