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UFC 184 'Prelims' preview and predictions, Pt. 1

More fights are coming to Fight Pass online digital network and FOX Sports 1 this weekend (Sat., Feb. 28, 2015) when UFC 184: “Rousey vs. Zingano” kicks off from Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. MMAmania.com's Patrick Stumberg kicks off the UFC 184 "Prelims" party with part one of a two-part under card preview series.

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Shhh ... a moment of silence for what could have been.

At one point, a Middleweight title fight (Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort) and a match that would have probably determined the next 185-pound contender contender (Jacare Souza vs. Yoel Romero) were both originally on this card. Alas, the injury bug's cruel jaws ripped them away from us.

That's not to say we haven't got some good stuff in store, though, because UFC 184, which takes place inside Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif., this Saturday night (Feb. 28, 2015) still has plenty to offer.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Women's Bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey, will finally face Cat Zingano in the main event, while all-time female boxing great Holly Holm will make her long-awaited Octagon debut opposite Raquel Pennington.

In addition to the five-fight main card matches on pay-per-view (PPV), we've also got a half-dozen "Prelims" under card bouts in store, this first two of which will stream online via "Fight Pass" and the remainder on FOX Sports 1.

Before we begin, however, I'd like to hold myself accountable for going winless (0-5) on my "Prelims" predictions last week for UFC Fight Night 61. As such, I will once again award myself:

Tomas Rios Award

Now that that's over with, let's get on with previewing and predicting UFC 184's "Prelims.

265 lbs.: Derrick Lewis vs. Ruan Potts

Derrick Lewis (11-3) tore through his first two opponents inside the Octagon, dispatching both Jack May and "Guto Inocente" with first round ground-and-pound. However, over-eagerness cost "The Black Beast" against Matt Mitrione, who ran Lewis into a counter uppercut that ended his night inside of one minute.

All 11 of his victories are by finish ... 10 via form of knockout.

South Africa’s Ruan Potts (8-3) threatened with an early submission, but couldn’t withstand the ground assault of Soa Palelei, suffering a knockout loss midway through the first round at UFC Fight Night 40 back in May 2014. Then three months later against Anthony Hamilton at UFC 177, he allowed the American to pound away unanswered at his body, resulting in a technical knockout loss.

Potts' wins are split evenly between knockouts and submissions.

Somebody in the UFC brass really, really doesn’t like Potts. That’s the only explanation I can think of for why this match was made.

"Hey, this guy got pounded out twice by physical ground-and-pound specialists. Let’s have him fight a third one, just to see what happens."

Crude as he is, Lewis is still extremely good at what he does, which is wrangling opponents to the mat and raining down hellfire until the doctors need a spatula to remove what’s left of them from the Octagon. Potts has shown nothing to suggest he can stay on his feet against Lewis and very bad things are in the future for those who find themselves underneath "The Black Beast."

Prediction: Lewis via first-round knockout

155 lbs.: James Krause vs. Valmir Lazaro

After his submission of Sam Stout, the UFC career of James Krause (21-6) took a turn for the bizarre, as he was controversially defeated by Bobby Green in Nov. 2013 before defeating Jamie Varner six months later thanks to the latter’s broken ankle. His fight with Jorge Masvidal at UFC 178 in Sept. 2014 was more straightforward, a decision loss to the surging American Top Team (ATT)-trained product.

He stands two inches taller than Valmir Lazaro (12-3).

Following a 1-2 start to his pro career, "Bidu" embarked on a rampage, winning 11 straight and scoring eight stoppages along the way. In his first UFC appearance, he struggled with the length of 6’3" James Vick en route to his first defeat in four years.

Overall, he has knocked out nine professional opponents.

I am honestly not sure what to make of Lazaro. He has real power in his hands and is a decent counter-puncher, but his performance against Vick was flat-out bizarre. He seemed perpetually off-balance and he didn’t look to be putting anything behind his punches. Further, he seemed to have issues with Vick’s range.

Not a good sign against the 6’2" Krause.

If Lazaro has his head on straight, he has the concussive punching and brutal leg kicks to batter Krause into submission. Based on his performance in his last fight, though, I can’t place that kind of confidence in him. Krause chips away at distance, avoiding Lazaro’s power counters en route to a decision win.

Prediction: Krause via unanimous decision

145 lbs.: Masio Fullen vs. Alexander Torres

This bout was originally set for UFC 180 and I had already written up the preview before learning that it wasn’t happening. Because I am a lazy prick, I thought I’d just re-use it.

Masio Fullen (9-4) represented Team Mexico against Nicaragua’s Leonardo Morales in the opening round of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Latin America," bringing with him three times the professional fight experience. Despite this, he was unable to overcome his foe’s kicking prowess, falling to a head kick in the second round.

He owns eight professional finishes, including a knockout of finalist Alejandro Perez.

Alexander Torres (2-1), a product of Colombia, took on grappling specialist Rodolfo Rubio in the quarterfinals of TUF: "Latin America," looking to build on the momentum earned by teammate Marlon Vera’s amazing up-kick knockout. Though he managed to impose his wrestling on "Fito," he got careless in the second round, giving up an armbar for the submission loss.

He is the shorter man by approximately one inch.

Experience favors one fighter, style the other. Torres, despite his loss to Rubio, seems like a very solid wrestler, a skill set sorely lacking among many of his castmates. Though he has six times the number of professional fights, I expect Fullen to have all kinds of issues with him.

Of course, Torres did get finished on the mat by a very poor positional grappler in Rubio, making the possibility of a Fullen submission off his back possible. Still, I always try to lean toward the one more likely to score top position than bank on him getting caught once there.

Torres grinds his way to a win.

Prediction: Torres via unanimous decision

Three more UFC 184 "Prelims" fights to preview and predict tomorrow, including the returns of a Japanese legend and "The Filipino Wrecking Machine."

See you then, Maniacs!

Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 184 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, and then the remaining under card balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET before the PPV start time at 10 p.m. ET.

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