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UFC Fight Night 60 'Prelims' preview and predictions for Broomfield, Pt. 2

More fights are coming to Fight Pass online digital network and FOX Sports 1 this weekend (Sat., Feb. 14, 2015) when UFC Fight Night 60: “Henderson vs. Thatch” kicks off from 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colorado. MMAmania.com's Patrick Stumberg returns after self-imposed hiatus to continue the UFC Fight Night 60 "Prelims" party with the second (and final) installment of a two-part under card preview series.

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Old(ish)-school vs. new school.

In an impressive display of chutzpah, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight champion, Benson Henderson, will take on one of the Welterweight division's most devastating prospects, Brandon Thatch, on his home turf -- and on short notice -- this Saturday (Feb. 14, 2015) in the main event of UFC Fight Night 60.

1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colo., will also play host to another Veteran vs. Prospect clash in the co-main event as Cole Miller looks to slow the rise of striking specialist Max Holloway.

We looked at the first three of five scheduled "Prelims" under card matches yesterday evening right here. Check out the remaining balance, all of which will air on FOX Sports 1 before the main card begins, below:

145 lbs.: Nik Lentz vs. Levan Makashvili

The unbeaten Featherweight run of Nik Lentz (25-6-2) came to a halt at the hands of Chad Mendes in Dec. 2013 as the Minnesotan struggled with his foe’s excellent wrestling prowess. He managed to rebound with a win over Manny Gamburyan in May 2014 and was set to rematch old foe Charles Oliveira four months later before "do Bronx" was pulled on the day of the fight because of illness.

"The Carny" has finished sixteen opponents, 10 by submission.

Georgia’s (the country) Levan Makashvili (6-1) suffered the first defeat of his young career in Aug. 2014 when he dropped a decision to former Bellator standout Alexandre "Popo" Bezerra. The two met once again in Dec. 2014, with Makashvili claiming revenge via unanimous decision.

He takes this bout on two weeks’ notice, replacing injured Brazilian Thiago Tavares.

Makashvili has all the makings of a quality prospect, packing solid wrestling, good striking and an impressive resume despite his inexperience. "Popo" is no joke and anyone who can defeat him with less than 10 fights is worth keeping an eye on.

That said, Lentz is not a good man to fight in your Octagon debut, especially not on two weeks notice. He’s got attrition wrestling down to an art and I have a hard time envisioning Makashvili putting him on his back.

This shouldn’t be a blowout and there’s every chance the outcome would be different two years down the line. As is, expect Lentz to find increasing success as he gradually wears Makashvili down against the cage, grinding his way to a decision win.

Prediction: Lentz via unanimous decision

155 lbs.: Efrain Escudero vs. Rodrigo Goiana de Lima

The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 8 winner, Efrain Escudero (22-9), had his first UFC run come to an end after missing weight in a loss to the aforementioned Oliveira. His return the following year resulted in a winless (0-2) run before his second release. After a handful of fights on the regional circuit, he rejoined UFC in Sept. 2014 as a late-notice replacement against Leonardo Santos, losing a unanimous decision to the TUF: "Brazil 2" winner.

He has submitted 12 opponents in his professional career.

Rodrigo Goiana de Lima (8-2-1) entered UFC as the Jungle Fight Welterweight champion, taking on Neil Magny on short notice in New Zealand. Despite a strong opening round that saw him dominate the favored Magny on the mat, "Monstro" could not repeat that success in the second round, succumbing to strikes halfway through the round.

de Lima, who has submitted six opponents, will be joining brother Michel Prazeres in the UFC lightweight division for the first time.

As of this writing, Escudero is the slight favorite and I’m not entirely certain why. He’s 2-6 in UFC and practically all his losses are to powerful top-control specialists. "Monstro" may be young, rough and making the cut to 155 pounds for the first time, but he fits the mold of Escudero’s previous conquerors with his massive strength and dangerous work from top position.

Lima is a physical powerhouse who should be able to throw Escudero around and score significant offense once there. Barring late-fight cardio failure from the cut, I expect the Brazilian to put Escudero on the chopping block for the third time with a one-sided grappling clinic.

Prediction: Lima via unanimous decision

UFC Fight Night 60's main- and co-main events both figure to be entertaining throwdowns. And hey, it's free.

Here's hoping for a bloody Valentine, Maniacs.

Remember, too, MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 60 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 1-televised prelims and main card, slated to begin at 8 and 10 p.m. ET, respectively.

Current UFC "Prelims" Prediction Record 2015: 4-2

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