Our second UFC event of the week takes place in Brazil, and features a card that's a bit better than UFC Fight for the Troops 3. At least the top of the card is. Four fighters are making their UFC debut at this event, and 11 of the remaining 18 won their last bout. There are only two fighters on multi-fight losing streaks, and one of them is in the main event. But, as usual with these Fight Night cards, there's not a lot of divisional relevance outside of the headliner. And no one's really sure what the hell is going to happen in the aftermath of that either.
Anyway, let's get on with it. I'm writing this on a bus, so I'm sticking with the same format as the one earlier this week - I'm just going to talk about the fighters that could possibly be on their way out and leave out the safe ones out to save some time. I'll get back to full ones for UFC 167.
Likely to be cut with a loss
Sam Sicilia - He's 1-2 in the UFC thus far and has lost two straight. The TUF 15 fighter has fun fights, but he needs to win them. A third straight loss will undoubtedly mean he's on his way out.
Possibly cut with a loss
Dan Henderson - Hold on scooter, don't flip out that Hendo's on this list. There's a big asterisk beside his name, and it's his contract. He has also lost two in a row and he's 43. They were split decisions and in no way do they mean he's falling off or anything. But a loss to Belfort, especially a bad one, will make him somewhat expendable. He makes big money and the UFC has let him walk before. Would they do it again? I doubt it, but I doubted it last time too. It's at least conceivable that this could be Hendo's last trip to the octagon.
Igor Pokrajac - Can a No Contest save someone besides Brandon Vera? Pokrajac has lost three bouts in a row, but got a reprieve when Joey Beltran popped and he got the NC. That was sandwiched between losses to Vinny Magalhaes and Ryan Jimmo. He did have three straight wins before that and generally has exciting bouts, but four wins in 11 UFC fights isn't good enough. LHW is shallow so it might not matter, but Pokrajac could definitely be fighting for his job.
Rafael Cavalcante - Yes, he's a former Strikeforce champ and was ranked in the top 20 for a long time. But a steroid suspension and a KO at the hands of Thiago Silva when he returned have Feijao on the skids. He wasn't making a crazy amount of money in SF (33k/33k) so that's probably not much of a concern. And I can definitely see them giving him a third shot if he loses here. But I could see them shipping him out too, especially if he gets KO'd again.
Paulo Thiago - His win against Michel Prazeres saved his hide last time out, but it was a tough fight. A loss to the prospect here would drop Thiago to 2-5 in his last 7. He's had a ridiculously tough schedule though, and he seems to be universally liked. If he loses, can they continue to give him fights against sub-par competition just to keep him around? Would he even want to do that?
Godofredo Pepey - He did make the finals of TUF Brazil 1 and has some solid skills, but a loss here would drop him to 1-3 and it'd be his second straight defeat. Of everyone so far on the "maybe" list, I feel he's the most likely to go if he can't bring it home Saturday bight.
Santiago Ponzinibbio - He was a TUF Brazil 2 finalist who got injured after defeating eventual winner Leo Santos. They don't seem to have much patience with guys from this show, so a bad fight could be the only UFC fight he gets.