USA TODAY: MMAjunkie.com's fights to watch at UFC 158


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dan-miller-12.jpgIn addition to the other fights we covered in today’s USA TODAY UFC 158 pullout section, several matchups are flying under the radar. Here are the favorites of the MMAjunkie.com staffers:

Steven Marrocco (@MMAjunkieSteven), staff reporter
Fight: Chris Camozzi vs. Nick Ring
How to watch: Pay-per-view main card (10 p.m. ET)
The skinny: Camozzi (18-5 MMA, 5-2 UFC) and Ring (13-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC), two veterans from The Ultimate Fighter reality series, are always close to the middleweight division’s top 15, so the winner should take a big step forward. Camozzi’s striking can make him a wild card, but he seems to be fighting smarter lately (and three consecutive UFC wins are nothing to sneeze at). He needs to fight tall against Ring, whose grappling might be superior. Both, however, like a good scrap. Fans haven’t seen the best of Ring yet, and Camozzi might bring that out.

Matt Erickson (@MMAjunkieMatt), assistant editor
Fight: Antonio Carvalho vs. Darren Elkins
How to watch: FX-televised prelims (8 p.m. ET)
The skinny: Elkins (15-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) is in elite company at featherweight with four consecutive UFC wins. Apart from champion Jose Aldo, that puts him up there with only Ricardo Lamas and Cub Swanson for the division’s longest active streak. The knock on the former Indiana state high school wrestling champion is that, while a 4-0 record since his drop down from lightweight is impressive, the unanimous decisions aren’t setting the world on fire. But if Elkins can manage any kind of stoppage against Carvalho (15-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC), who looks for his third consecutive win, his name certainly will be elevated and he can expect a top-10 opponent next.

Ben Fowlkes (@BenFowlkesMMA), columnist
Fight: Jordan Mein vs. Dan Miller
How to watch: FX-televised prelims (8 p.m. ET)
The skinny: UFC President Dana White had one word to describe the fighters imported from the now-defunct Strikeforce organization: hungry. The way Mein (26-8 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has fought in his last few outings, it’s more like he’s downright starving. He’ll get his first test in the UFC against veteran submission expert Miller (14-6 MMA, 6-5 UFC), who’s 1-0 in the UFC since dropping from middleweight to welterweight. Can Mein’s appetite for success overpower his octagon jitters in his long-awaited UFC debut?

John Morgan (@MMAjunkieJohn), lead staff reporter
Fight: Daron Cruickshank vs. John Makdessi
How to watch: FX-televised prelims (8 p.m. ET)
The skinny: When TUF 15 cast member Cruickshank (12-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC) and Canadian slugger Makdessi (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) meet in the octagon, it’s hard to imagine a result anything short of pure fireworks. Both lightweights boast extensive training backgrounds in traditional striking arts, and each has scored a recent highlight-reel knockout. Both 27, Cruickshank and Makdessi look to prove they are genuine contenders in the UFC’s incredibly deep 155-pound division. “The Detroit Superstar” and “The Bull” seem certain to please.

Dann Stupp (@MMAjunkieDann), editor-in-chief
Fight: George Roop vs. Reuben Duran
How to watch: Facebook-streamed prelims (6:35 p.m. ET)
The skinny: Whether he’s on the winning or losing end, Roop (12-9-1 MMA, 2-5 UFC) has a flair for the dramatic. Although his two UFC stints have seen mixed results, he has knocked out opponents with head kicks and body punches while putting on entertaining fights in several divisions. But against well-rounded Duran (8-4-1 MMA, 1-2 UFC), Roop makes a big cut down to 135 pounds. Roop, who at 6-1 towers over 5-6 Duran, said it had been his easiest weight cut yet. That height and reach advantage could be a major factor in this potential loser-leaves- town bout.

For more on UFC 158, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

(Pictured: Dan Miller)

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