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UFC Fight Night 68 'Prelims' undercard preview and predictions, Pt. 1

More fights are coming to Fight Pass and FOX Sports 1 this weekend (Sat., June 6, 2015) when UFC Fight Night 68: “Henderson vs. Boetsch” kicks off from Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.'s Patrick Stumberg kicks off the UFC Fight Night 68 "Prelims" party with the first installment of a two-part under card preview series.

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Dan Henderson is 44 years old, pissed and has something to prove.

With only one win in his last six fights and his once-impregnable chin cracked, the former dual Pride FC champion is out to show he's still go what it takes to hang in the stacked Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight division. Awaiting his challenge this Saturday night (June 6, 2015) is Tim Boetsch in the main event of UFC Fight Night 68, which will emanate from Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.

N'awlins will also play host  to a Heavyweight slugfest between Ben Rothwell and Matt Mitrione, both of whom are riding multi-fight knockout streaks, and a fun 155-pound clash between former Featherweight contender Dustin Poirier and rising prospect Yancy Medeiros.

As is customary for "Fight Night" events, the FOX Sports 1-televised main card will feature a total of six fights, with another half-dozen gracing the "Prelims" undercard on Fight Pass and FOX Sports 1.

Here's the first batch of breakdowns:

155 lbs.: Joe Proctor vs. Justin Edwards

After an unsuccessful run on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 15, Joe Proctor (10-3) opened his UFC career with three wins in his first four bouts. He suffered a setback in his most recent effort, eating a nasty spinning back kick before tapping to a Yancy Medeiros guillotine in Dec. 2014.

Six of his wins have come by stoppage, including four in the first round.

Justin Edwards (8-4) -- who competed on TUF 13 as a replacement for Keon Caldwell -- split his first four bouts in UFC before having the misfortune of facing Brandon Thatch in the latter’s debut. Following this loss, he dropped to Lightweight, where he lost a spirited decision to Ramsey Nijem in Jan. 2014.

This will be his first fight since, thanks to a hand injury that scrapped a UFC 177 bout against the aforementioned Medeiros.

These two have been wallowing in mediocrity so long their boots are too waterlogged to walk. Neither of them have beaten anyone of note, Justin Salas and Josh Neer being their respective best wins in the Octagon. To be perfectly honest, I’m having trouble mustering up the interest to make a legitimate analysis.

Eh, I’ll go with Proctor.

Edwards just doesn’t seem to have the wrestling necessary to impose his submission game. Neither one’s a factor on the feet, so I’ll just go with the guy who isn’t coming off a 17-month layoff.

Predition: Proctor via unanimous decision

185 lbs.: Ricardo Abreu vs. Jake Collier

As Team Wanderlei Silva's first Middleweight pick on TUF, Ricardo Abreu (5-0) defeated Guilherme "Bomba" in the quarterfinals before losing a split decision to Marcio "Lyoto" his next time out. Despite the loss, "Demente" debuted in UFC against Wagner Silva Gomes, dropping and submitting "Wagnao" for his fifth career stoppage.

The bout, which ended 66 seconds into the second round, was the longest of his career.

Everything seemed to be going perfectly for Jake Collier (8-2) early in his Octagon debut, easily out-grappling kickboxing specialist Vitor Miranda in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Unfortunately, he let his guard down late in the first round and ate a brutal head kick, ending his night just one second short of the bell.

He replaces the injured Daniel Sarafian on one month’s notice.

This is just a bad match up for Collier. Abreu is, on paper, the superior grappler by a fair margin, having taken silver in his division at the 2010 Mundials. On the feet, "Demente" is crude but powerful, leaving Collier with few options. He’s not a clean enough striker to pick Abreu apart and not a good enough wrestler to just overpower him.

Abreu does seem to have fallen in love with his striking, however, which is a legitimate liability. Still, I expect him to either wise up and pursue the takedown or wobble Collier with punches. From there, it’s academic; the question is whether he goes for the submission or uncorks his nasty ground-and-pound.

Prediction: Abreu via first-round technical knockout

135 lbs.: Jose Quinonez vs. Leonardo Morales

A knockout of Bentley Syler and a decision over teammate Marco Beltran sent Jose Quinonez (3-2) to UFC 180, the unofficial TUF: "Latin America" Finale. Once there, "El Teco" lost a decision to Alejandro Perez in a bout that saw him blatantly headbutt his opponent for no clear reason.

He will give up three inches of height to the 5’11" Leonardo Morales (4-1).

Argentina’s "Chimmy" became the sole member of TUF: "Latin America" to reach UFC 180, defeating Masio Fullen and Gabriel Benitez in the Featherweight tournament. Despite a strong third round, he nonetheless came up short against Mexico’s Yair Rodriguez.

This will be his Bantamweight debut.

Though the details of TUF: "Latin America" are fuzzy at this point, I distinctly remember naming Morales as one to watch. He’s younger than I am, tall for the division and has a very solid kicking attack. So long as he can stay off of his back, he should be able to pick his opponent apart from the outside.

That’s a strong "if," considering "Chimmy’s" difficulties with Rodriguez’s takedowns and "El Teco’s" own successful grappling against Perez, but I expect the drop to 135 pounds to work in Morales’ favor. Morales controls the fight from range before landing something nasty in the second.

Prediction: Morales via second-round technical knockout

Three more underwear matches to preview and predict tomorrow, including a clash of Lightweight prospects and a fun bout between Heavyweight finishers.

Same time tomorrow, Maniacs. will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 68 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 1 "Prelims" bouts at 8 p.m. ET, before moving on to the main card, which is slated to start at 10 p.m. ET.

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