Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE
A few fighters will need a win to stay in the UFC on Saturday night. Who are they?
Most of us know by now that the UFC is in the midst of a big fighter purge. Dana White has stated that the organization will need to cut up to 100 fighters in the next few months, which makes every fight that much more important for the contestants. With that in mind, similar to UFC 157, I'm going to go through the list of fighters scheduled for the card and assess whether they should fear for their jobs with a loss on Saturday night in Montreal.
Before that though, here's a quick review of how UFC 157 fighters have fared thus far. The only confirmed cut was Anton Kuivanen, who tweeted about it yesterday. Lavar Johnson was someone I had on the block, but he was given a reprieve due to his style and the lack of heavyweights. And that's it as far as official news.
Anyway, onto the current card. Honestly, I don't see a lot of danger here for most guys.
Likely to be cut with a loss
Bobby Voelker - He has won three in a row (two over Roger Bowling), but he's a 33-year-old welterweight who hasn't competed in almost two years. He wasn't making a lot of money in SF (5.5k/5.5k), so that probably wouldn't be a factor. It will probably come down to how well he fights against Cote.
Rick Story - After consecutive wins over Johny Hendricks and Thiago Alves, Story has hit some hard times. He enters the bout having lost three of his last four and was completely embarrassed by Demian Maia last time out. His last reported pay was at UFC 139, where he made 19k/19k. Not a huge amount, but more than a lot of guys get. A loss to Mulhern would probably send him to the minors.
Issei Tamura - He was finished by Raphael Assuncao in his last bout and while he does have the knockout of Tiequan Zhang on his record, it probably wouldn't be enough to keep his job if Dillishaw beats him.
Reuben Duran - He's super tough, but he was dropped a gaggle of times by Hugo Viana in his last bout before finally being blasted into the fourth row. His win over Francisco Rivera was very nice, but losing to Roop means a 1-3 record in the UFC and a probable pink slip.
George Roop - Roop has fought high-level competition throughout his featherweight career, but it's pretty obvious that he dropped to bantamweight because he's lost two in a row and needs a win to stay in the organization. If he doesn't get it, he'll probably be shown the door.
Possibly cut with a loss
Nate Marquardt - I know, it's not very likely considering he's a late replacement in a top-tier fight. But he has had highly publicized problems with the UFC before which led to his initial cut (TRT, which he says he's off of now). And he made 40k to show in his loss to Tarec Saffiedine at the final Strikeforce event in January. That's in the same range as what opponent Jake Ellenberger makes to show (42k/42k for him). If Nate gets completely clobbered, I could definitely see him as World Series of Fighting's next signing.
Mike Ricci and Colin Fletcher - Both lost their respective TUF Finales. Ricci was fighting at welterweight though, and he's Canadian. Of the two, Fletcher is the more likely cut. But of everyone on this particular list, I'd say these two are the most likely to stay regardless of what happens in the Bell Centre.
Patrick Cote - Cote's always in a weird spot. He's incredibly popular in Montreal, and even after his release the first time he still worked with the UFC on French-language broadcasts. He got his hand raised in his last bout, but it was via DQ and his iron chin wasn't as strong as usual (yes, the final shots were to the back of the head, but he got dropped by legit shots first). He made 21k to show at UFC 148, his last reported official pay, which is probably worth it on a Montreal card. The drop to welterweight might earn him another fight as well, but you never know. A win by the the relatively-unknown Voelker might spell doom for Cote. I doubt it, but it might.
Antonio Carvalho - Another Canadian who is is pretty unlikely to get cut if he loses, unless it's a quick finish or something. A loss would drop him to 2-2 in the organization, so it's possible.
Dan Miller - Miller has been though some incredibly tough times outside the cage, and I really hope that the UFC wouldn't consider a cut if he loses to Mein. He is 1-0 at welterweight so far, but a loss would have him sitting at 3-6 in his last nine UFC fights. That's not good.
Jordan Mein - He's only 23 and went 2-1 in Strikeforce. He fights cheap and can be very exciting at times. I think it would be ridiculous to cut him, but he might be one of those guys that the UFC sets adrift and brings back as a late replacement after a couple of wins on the regionals.
John Makdessi - He looked very good against Sam Stout in his last fight. But a loss would drop him to 3-3 in the organization, and he's missed weight once. I wouldn't count on it, but a pink slip is a possibility.
Quinn Mulhern - Mulhern's in the same spot as Mein, albeit a little older (28). He has the advantage of coming in a as a late replacement though, which the UFC loves. He only made 6k/6k in Strikeforce as well, which isn't a big deal. Nonetheless, a Story finish might lead to him having to get a couple of wins outside the organization before he's invited back.
Likely safe regardless of the outcome
Chris Camozzi - Three wins in a row will probably keep him safe from the axe unless he's finishing really quickly or something.
Nick Ring - He's 3-1 in the UFC, on a TUF contract, and has some level of marketability in Canada. I highly doubt he's going anywhere no matter what happens against Camozzi.
Darren Elkins - I guess it's remotely possible that he gets cut if he loses to Carvalho considering his style isn't the most exciting in the world, but four straight wins at featherweight means a lot in a semi-weak division.
Daron Cruickshank - A TUF contract and exciting style will probably have Cruickshank sticking around until he at least loses a couple in a row.
T.J. Dillashaw - He's on a two-fight win streak, he's a member of Team Alpha Male, and is on a TUF contract after being a finalist. I'd be very surprised if he went anywhere, even with a loss.