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Bonus Watch! Potential UFC on FOX 15 'Machida vs Rockhold' award winners tonight in New Jersey

Eight fighters have their eyes set on an extra payday in Newark. Will it be the young gun Paige VanZant nabbing her second performance bonus, or will top middleweight Luke Rockhold tally his fourth? The possible winners lie within..

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

It has been nine long months since mixed martial arts (MMA) action hit the Garden State and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is rewarding fight fans with a kick-ass UFC on FOX 15 card tonight (April 18, 2015) live from the Prudential Center.

The show's headliner pits two of the best middleweights on the planet right now Lyoto Machida and Luke Rockhold together for what is expected to be a highly-explosive affair. In the co-main event spot, another 185-pound tilt set to produce fireworks hits the Octagon as Ronaldo Souza battles late replacement Chris Camozzi.

Bringing up the rear are two 'Fight of the Night' caliber matchups. Perennial featherweight contenders Max Holloway and Cub Swanson slug it out, while burgeoning women's strawweight fighters Felice Herrig and Paige VanZant kick off the FOX card in a tussle that could produce a new title challenger.

From top to bottom, this free event is lined with entertaining engagements. For my thoughts on tonight's possible winners of that good ol' $50,000 bonus, read on maniacs!

Felice Herrig vs. Paige VanZant

Tale of the tape: 2 T(KO), 3 submission -- total career finishes for both fighters

Two top-15 strawweights look to claw closer towards a shot at the newly-crowned 125-pound champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

Herrig is a striking specialist, but you wouldn't be able to tell that from the numbers. The former kickboxer throws quite a bit of them, but has shown the ability to get flustered on the feet and the ground.

With that being said, it is not like jiu-jitsu is a foreign art to her. In her last outing against Lisa Ellis, she escaped submission attempts and stayed off of her back, before ending the fight with a slick armbar in the second round.

The 30-year-old Herrig will hold a vast advantage in experience over her 21-year-old counterpart VanZant. "12 Gauge" won her UFC debut in a back-and-forth meeting with Kailin Curran.

Though she showed well-round skills in the striking, clinch and ground game departments, VanZant was exposed and taken down at a sound rate. You can't count either one of the two.

It is the toughness of both of these women that leads me to believe that this one will go all three rounds.

Prediction: VanZant via split decision

Cub Swanson vs. Max Holloway

Tale of the tape: 13 T(KO), 8 submission

Buckle up because this one may end fast and violently.

Swanson will be looking to distance himself from a lopsided loss against Frankie Edgar in the closing seconds of their UFC Fight Night 57 main event. The 31-year-old is an accomplished striker and has viciously downed men like Ross Pearson, Charles Oliveira and Dennis Siver.

When he's not at his best, it is because he was matched up with a high-level wrestler (see Edgar loss). He likely won't have to worry about that tonight.

The 23-year-old Holloway throws an elaborate and diverse set of strikes. He put on a truly dazzling display in his last Octagon venture against Cole Miller. Holloway's stand-up game is puzzling to most. I think he makes a statement over Swanson.

Prediction: "Blessed" via first-round KO (Knockout of the Night)

Ronaldo Souza vs. Chris Camozzi

Tale of the tape: 8 T(KO), 22 submission

No one was thrilled when the UFC announced Camozzi would be rematching "Jacare", particularly because of how their last fight ended. As he has done in most of his other fights, the 35-year-old Brazilian took care of business on the ground, securing a first-round arm-triangle victory.

There's not one fighter out there presently who can lay claim that he or she (alright maybe Ronda Rousey) has the best submission game in MMA. That title belongs to Souza.

Souza is also an efficient wrestler; particularly through double-leg takedowns. Once he's on top of you, it is only a matter of time until he finds what limb he wants to wrench or choke he desires to lock up.

The 28-year-old Camozzi returns to the UFC following two first-round stoppages on the independent circuit. Camozzi would prefer to keep the fight standing, where he's proven to be most effective in his career.

Two of his UFC finishes came in the third round, while two of his losses came in the first round. He's not (typically) a fast starter by any means.

Prediction: Souza via first-round submission (Submission of the Night)

Lyoto Machida vs. Luke Rockhold

Tale of the tape: 12 T(KO), 10 submission

Rockhold has his his sights set on taming The Dragon.

The former Strikeforce middleweight champion has been eager to earn a UFC title shot since his Octagon debut in May 2013. With a win over the two-division title challenger Machida, that mission may be complete.

Rockhold is a savvy cage tactician who is adept at hunting down submissions and wearing his opponents down. The American Kickboxing Academy representative can fight anywhere and boasts solid takedown defense.

Now 3-1 in the Octagon, with three-straight finishes, Rockhold aims to turn away Machida. The 36-year-old Karate fighter has forged a career out of the unexpected. Machida's lightening quick striking bursts and odd angles have left many men scratching their heads.

With two T(KO) wins since dropping down to middleweight, where he is 3-1 overall, Machida has shown no signs of slowing down. There is a very good chance that this fight could end earlier than 25 minutes, but I have a hunch it is going the distance.

Prediction: Rockhold via unanimous decision (Fight of the Night)

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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