Welcome, friends, to the reanimated Cut List, brought to you with the full approval and hearty encouragement of Tim Burke (citation needed).
I've always enjoyed this feature -- knowing whose places are secure and whose backs are against the wall lends these fights a certain narrative quality that, in a time of hefty UFC programming, is necessary as a means of making fighters distinct. It's a pleasure to get to write it. So, without further ado...
Likely Cut With a Loss
Kenny Robertson (13-3-0, 2-3 UFC) and Chris Camozzi (19-7-0, 6-4 UFC) - For Robertson, losing 66% of your fights simply isn't a good look, even if the losses are nonconsecutive. As for Camozzi, a loss this Saturday would make it three in a row, which pretty clearly puts his job in jeopardy. Yet, each has their saving grace, as well. For Robertson, it's that he's a finisher, with both of his UFC wins coming by first-round submission. As for Camozzi, besides having a relatively fan-friendly style, there's the fact that he was surprisingly cut from the UFC after a loss to Kyle Noke -- a lone promotional defeat that was preceded by two straight wins. It's conceivable that his hasty release then might earn him a bit of sympathy now. Ultimately, though, both of them find themselves tipped into this section for the same reason: they lack distinct regional or international appeal. As the UFC expands into overseas markets, they'll want to make room for fighters that draw for those audiences and, in this respect, neither Robertson nor Camozzi quite rate.
Luke Zachrich (13-3-0, 0-1 UFC) - A former TUF 7 contender who took the long way back to the UFC, Zachrich is in much the same boat as Robertson and Camozzi. That he took his first UFC fight on short notice might buy him some credit, but I don't think it'd be enough to outweigh a loss to someone with so slight a record as Vasconcelos's.
Possibly Cut With a Loss
Guilherme Vasconcelos (3-1-0, 0-0 UFC) - Former TUF contestants don't quite get the latitude that they used to, and a loss here might have the UFC urging Vasconcelos to get some seasoning on the regionals before returning. If he comports himself well, though, I can see them keeping him around for a future international show.
Marcus Brimage (6-2-0, 3-1 UFC) - A TUF 14 veteran, Brimage has managed to find decent success in the UFC despite little professional experience, culminating in a victory over the highly-touted Jim Hettes. Defeat this Saturday, though, would make it two losing efforts, and nothing more, for the last two years. He may be left to regain his footing in the regionals.
Bruno Santos (13-1-0, 0-1 UFC) - For the same reason that his opponent Camozzi is "Likely Cut," Santos is only "Possibly Cut." Two losses in a row are never good, but the UFC might want to keep around fighters to fill out Brazilian cards. It doesn't hurt that he came in undefeated with some legit wins -- Giva Santana and Daniel Acacio -- on his record.
Uriah Hall (8-4-0, 1-2 UFC) - Normally, someone with Hall's performance history would be at the tail end of this list. And if he gets either blown out of the water or out-hustled (again), he probably is out. However, a lot of the issue with Hall has been about killer instinct rather than skill, and I think it's possible that an aggressive performance, even if it ultimately ends in defeat, would show the UFC that he's turned a corner, earning him another go in the Octagon.
Stefan Struve (25-6-0, 9-4 UFC) - A heavyweight action fighter with a good promotional record would normally never find himself in this category. However, concerns over Struve's health should give some pause. If he gets knocked out badly, Dana and Co. might not be comfortable letting him fight any longer.
Likely Save Regardless of Outcome
Kevin Casey (8-3-0, 0-1 UFC), Bubba Bush (8-2-0, 0-0 UFC), Rob Font (10-1-0, 0-0 UFC), Russel Doane (13-3-0, 1-0 UFC) - Making their promotional debuts, returning after a successful regional campaign, or starting out a winning UFC career means these guys are good for at least one more fight.
Ildemar Alcantara (20-6-0, 3-1 UFC) - Decent record overall and, in a slight upset, he won his last fight. Probably safe.
George Roop (15-10-1, 5-6 UFC) - Roop's had a funny career. There are times that it feels like he's being fed to the wolves, but he has a knack for seizing the moment, too. Thus his solid upset wins over Jung, Grispi, and Bowles, all of which came by pretty sweet KOs. Anyway, if he was going to be cut, it seems like the two losses in a row to Hioki and Swanson would've been the time.
Urijah Faber (30-7-0, 6-3 UFC), Alex Caceres (10-5-0, 5-3-1NC UFC) - Faber's more or less an institution and his place is secure. As for Caceres, no harm in losing to the likes of Faber following four wins in a row. The only problem for "Bruce Leeroy" is if he blows the drug test a second time. In terms of pure results, though, both are solid.
Matt Mitrione (7-3-0) - Mitrione cuts a rare figure, being a fighter of the modern MMA era who has conducted his entire professional career in the UFC. The raw numbers aren't bad, though he hasn't won two consecutive fights in three years. His fights rarely go the distance, though, and heavyweight is thin, so I think he's safe.
Chris Weidman (11-0-0, 7-0 UFC), Lyoto Machida (21-4-0, 13-4 UFC), Ronda Rousey (9-0-0, 3-0 UFC), Alexis Davis (16-5-0, 3-0 UFC) - Champions and contenders are, as usual, likely safe. It's worth noting though that, for Machida, a loss here would make it three out of five that he's faltered in title fights. Anything short of a highly competitive performance will drastically change the complexion of Machida's career moving forward.