UFC 161: Evans vs. Henderson - The Cut List

Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

A few fighters will need a win to stay in the UFC on Saturday night in Winnipeg. Who are they?

The general consensus is that UFC 161 is an extremely weak card, and that's hard to argue with. There are exactly five fighters listed in the UFC official rankings that are on the card, and neither of the participants in the ladies fight have even fought in the organization yet. 10 of the 22 fighters on UFC 161 picked up a W last time out, 9 of them lost, and 3 of them went to a No Contest. Three fighters are on multi-fight losing streaks, and they're all confined to Facebook. But there really aren't a lot of fighters in danger of getting cut overall, which is a bit surprising.

But let's get on with it. I will start off with a special case that falls outside the bounds of how I normally do this.

Special Case

Roy Nelson - This is the last fight of Roy's contract, win or lose. So he doesn't really fall into any of these categories, since a guy with an expired contract can't really be cut. If he beats Miocic, he'll be in a position to command more money. If he loses, they could either sign him for less or let him test the open market if that's an option (there are conflicting reports about whether he is a free agent, the UFC holds a matching cluase, or he just can't go anywhere else at all for a while). Either way, that's why he got special billing outside of the usual boundaries of this post.

Likely to be cut with a loss

Mitch Clarke - He's 0-2 in the UFC and hasn't competed in almost a year. He'll get one last shot against Maguire, but it's very likely that Clarke will be headed back to the regionals after the fight if he drops a third bout in a row.

John Maguire - Like Clarke, he's lost two in a row. But he has the benefit of two UFC wins before that, a a somewhat unique persona, and there's also the fact that he's dropping to lightweight now. Nonetheless, his last two fights have been nothing special and a loss in a new division would likely mean the end of his run.

Dustin Pague - While his fights are generally entertaining, he's 1-3 in the UFC and his only win came over now-released Jared Papazian. He did take the Stone fight on very short notice and again took a third fight in less than two months when he lost to Camus, but stepping up on short notice only goes so far. If he drops to 1-4 with three losses in a row, they'll have no choice but to release him.

Possibly cut with a loss

Jake Shields - Shields is coming off a middleweight win over Ed Herman that was flipped to a No Contest when Shields tested positive for...something. He hasn't looked very impressive in the UFC thus far, going just 2-2 (1 NC). There's nothing wrong with losing to Georges St. Pierre or Jake Ellenberger, and the loss of his father/manager took a big toll on him. But he makes a lot of money (last reported salary was way back at UFC 121 - 75k/75k) and the positive test did him no favors. A Woodley victory might just lead the UFC to cut their losses when it comes to the ex Strikeforce champ.

Edwin Figueroa - He's 2-2 in the UFC but one win came over Jason Reinhardt, and the other came when Alex Caceres kicked him in the balls so hard that Herb Dean took two points from him. And he still only won a split. He got knocked out by Francisco Rivera in his last fight and two losses in a row might mean the door.

Likely safe regardless of the outcome

Dan Henderson and Rashad Evans - I just wanted to write "Duh." but that's not really that funny anyway. Hendo and Rashad and both top 10 LHW's and have been champions in the past. If Rashad loses he could drop to middleweight, but that's about the only drastic change I see as a result of this fight's outcome.

Stipe Miocic - The UFC is hurting for heavyweight prospects and he could definitely be one. They were in a tough spot because they tried to give him a winnable fight (against Soa Palelei), but card circumstances have him now facing the much more formidable Nelson. He did get knocked out in his last fight, but a loss to Nelson (even by KO) isn't going to lead to his release. He'll get his chance to be built back up. Plus, he had three straight UFC wins before getting finished by Stefan Struve anyway.

Igor Pokrajac and Ryan Jimmo - Pokrajac did technically lose his last bout, but Joey Beltran's positive test flipped it to a NC. He's 4-4 (1 NC) in the UFC and he'll get another shot if he loses. Jimmo was previously known as the world's most boring fighter, but his seven-second KO of Anthony Perosh opened some eyes. And even though he lost to James Te Huna the last time out, the head kick he wrecked him with early would have put almost anyone else out. It pains me to say this, but he'll be around for a little while longer even if Pokrajac can beat him.

Alexis Davis and Rosi Sexton - The two ladies are competing in the UFC for the first time, and their division is still thin. A loss isn't going to lead to a release for either of them.

Pat Barry and Shawn Jordan - Heavyweight's thin as well, and both of these guys are action fighters. Barry is 5-5 in the UFC and a loss would drop him to 2-4 in his last 6, but he's only gone to a decision once and he's immensely popular. Jordan's 2-1 in the UFC so far, but his win over Mike Russow in his last bout will give him a free pass if he gets knocked out by Barry here.

Tyron Woodley - Woodley is coming off his huge UFC debut where he floored Jay Hieron. A loss to Shields will hurt his standing, but it won't affect his employment status.

Sam Stout - Stout has been with the company for seven years and is 8-7 over 15 bouts. He has also won six performance bonuses. He's been alternating wins and losses lately, but his last fight was a (close) win over Caros Fodor. He still doesn't make a gigantic amount (26k/26k) and is usually an action fighter, so there's almost no way he gets dumped with a loss to Krause.

James Krause - He's a late replacement (two weeks notice) that has fought everywhere, including stints in the WEC and Bellator. Even with a loss he'll be given another chance.

Sean Pierson and Kenny Robertson - Pierson is one of the oldest welterweights on the roster at 37, but has won two fights in a row and is 3-2 overall in the big show. He has been dealing with concussion issues of late and a loss might have him re-evaluating his career options, but the UFC isn't going to make that decision for him. As for Robertson, he's 1-1 in this stint with the UFC (1-2 overall), but is coming off a cool sub-of-the-night win over Brock Jardine. He's likely safe even if he drops the bout.

Roland Delorme - He did get KO'd by Francisco Rivera in his last bout, but it was flipped to a NC (so many NC's). He had won two straight before that, and finished both fights. He has a future in the UFC beyond this bout.

Yves Jabouin - While he did lose his last bout, he had won three straight at bantamweight before that and the loss was to Brad Pickett. The UFC likes to keep a stock of Canadian fighters around for these kinds of cards, and Jabouin fits the bill for now even if he ends up with two losses in a row on his record.

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