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UFC on FOX 15 'Prelims' preview and predictions, Pt 1

More fights are coming to Fight Pass and FOX this weekend (Sat., April 18, 2015) when UFC on FOX 15: “Machida vs. Rockhold” kicks off from Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.'s Patrick Stumberg kicks off the UFC on FOX 15 "Prelims" party with the first installment of a two-part under card preview series.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Strikeforce vs. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Part ... Too Many To Count?

Two elite 185-pound standouts, both coming off of impressive finishes, will make their claims for a crack at the title as former UFC Light Heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida, takes on former Strikeforce Middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold, in the main event of UFC on FOX 15, which will go down this weekend (Sat., April 18, 2015) inside the venerable Prudential Center stomping grounds in Newark, New Jersey.

Also at 185 pounds, the man whom Rockhold defeated to earn the belt, "Jacare" Ronaldo Souza, will take on late replacement (and former victim) Chris Camozzi in the co-main event, while Featherweight striking machines Cub Swanson and Max Holloway lock horns at Featherweight.

We've got seven "Prelims" slated for afternoon action as well, three on Fight Pass and the rest on FOX. The former batch can be found just below:

170 lbs.: George Sullivan vs. Tim Means

George Sullivan (16-3) opened his UFC career with an upset, defeating hyped Roufusport-trained product Mike Rhodes five trips to FOX ago. He followed that victory with a brutal stoppage of Igor Araujo, extending his win streak to eight.

He will give up two inches of height to Tim Means (23-6-1).

"Dirty Bird’s" initial return to UFC did not go quite as planned, resulting in an upset loss to Neil Magny in May 2014. He’s since rebounded with a trio of wins, most recently knocking out Dhiego Lima at UFC 184.

He replaces Kenny Robertson on less than one month’s notice.

If all goes as expected, we’ll have ourselves a mighty entertaining slugfest. Both of these men are skilled, powerful strikers with histories of putting people abruptly to sleep. It will be Sullivan’s heavy hands against Means' Muay Thai onslaught.

I’m leaning toward the latter.

When Means has a height advantage, as he does here, he can build up brutal momentum quickly. In a fight like this, where his opponent won’t be prioritizing the takedown, he’s even deeper in his wheelhouse.

Means takes an entertaining decision with effective range striking.

Prediction: Means via unanimous decision

145 lbs.: Diego Brandao vs. Jimy Hettes

Diego Brandao's (18-10) violent run through The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 14 and come-from-behind submission of Dennis Bermudez at the Finale seemed to foretell great things for "Ceara," only for his cardio to fail him in his subsequent fight with Darren Elkins. He managed to put together three straight after that, but has been knocked out in consecutive fights by Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor.

Fourteen of his wins are by stoppage, including 11 in the first round.

Jimy Hettes (11-2) opened his UFC career with a pair of quality performances, submitting Alex Caceres in a fun scrap before absolutely pummeling Nam Phan over the course of three painful rounds. The young judoka is just 1-2 since, a win over Robert Whiteford sandwiched between losses to Marcus Brimage and Dennis Bermudez.

This will be his first fight in more than one year for "The Kid," having pulled out of a UFC 183 bout with Brandao because of illness.

I picked "Ceara" to take this one the first time it was booked and my opinion hasn’t changed. For all of his weaknesses, he has the wrestling to force Hettes to trade with him, an area where the latter has seemed terribly uncomfortable. Despite his 5’9" frame, he was consistently battered by the 5’4" Brimage and the 5’6" Bermudez.

If he lets Brandao hit him the same way, it will be a very short night.

IF the fight gets out of the first round, Brandao’s chances drop like John Lineker’s shorts when he gets on the scale. Luckily for him, it won’t last that long -- the Brazilian blows Hettes out in the opening five.

Prediction: Brandao via first round technical knockout

185 lbs.: Eddie Gordon vs. Chris Dempsey

Eddie Gordon (7-2) put a violent stamp on his run through TUF 19's house, dispatching Dhiego Lima in just 71 seconds. He was well on his way to a second-straight UFC victory when he wound up on the wrong end of one of 2014’s best knockouts, courtesy of Josh Samman’s left leg.

The "Truck" owns four wins by stoppage, three by knockout.

Chris Dempsey (10-2) made his first UFC appearance at 205 pounds, replacing Tom Lawlor against Swedish powerhouse Ilir Latifi. Fighting in hostile territory, Dempsey saw his eight-fight win streak come to an end at Latifi’s heavy hands in little more than two minutes.

Half of his wins, including his last four, have come inside the distance.

It’s hard to get a bead on Dempsey, considering that his debut was so brief and above his normal weight class. On paper, though, he doesn’t figure to have terribly much success here, either. Gordon is significantly more proven against quality competition and fights out of a much better camp in Team Serra-Longo.

He won’t make it look as easy as Latifi did, but expect "Truck" to win comfortably, using his superior wrestling and heavy hands to put away Dempsey late in the first round.

Prediction: Gordon via first-round technical knockout

Four more "Prelims" fights to preview and predict tomorrow, including a bevy of rising prospects in competitive match ups.

Stop by then, Maniacs, if you'd be so kind.

Remember, too, that will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on FOX 15 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX under- and main-cards, which will begin at 6 p.m. ET.

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