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The Cut List: The Ultimate Fighter 19 Finale

As many as eight mixed martial artists may be fighting just to hold on to a spot in the UFC, including former champ B.J. Penn. Addle-brained rationale follows...


Well, as far as months to take over The Cut List go, July was maybe a foolhardy choice. Not even a week in and we've already got two UFC events, which isn't even half of all UFC events scheduled for this month. Do all these events mean that fighters will get more leniency after a losing effort? Or does it suggest that the UFC is filling their ranks with hastily acquired and readily released talent? The number of fighters cut loose by month's end should be interesting. Until then...

Likely Cut With a Loss

Dan Spohn (8-3-0), Patrick Walsh (4-1-0) - Former TUF contenders don't usually get the same wiggle room that others do in their UFC debuts. Standard practice seems to be that post-reality show fights are make or break.

Jesse Ronson (13-4-0, 0-2 UFC) - Going winless in three appearances is a clear recipe for disaster, especially in the relatively deep lightweight division. Ronson needs a win here.

Possibly Cut With a Loss

Kevin Lee (7-1-0, 0-1 UFC) - One could argue that Lee should be "Likely Cut," not only because dropping two in a row at lightweight is never good, but because losing that second fight to someone who has been otherwise winless in the UFC really drives you to the bottom of the rankings. But, if they gave his opponent Ronson a third shot, it's not unthinkable that Lee would get the same, provided he turns in a decent performance.

Leandro Issa (11-4-0, 0-1 UFC) - A middle-aged bantamweight who was finished in his debut, I imagine the UFC would likely hand him walking papers if he were again stopped within the distance. An exciting performance combined with possible international appeal, though, could save his spot even in defeat.

Adriano Martins (25-7-0, 1-1 UFC) - He's on the wrong side of thirty, both in years and career bouts, and he's been matched against a debuting fighter. On the other hand, though, he's been involved in some fairly exciting fights. Bit of a toss-up.

Frankie Edgar (16-4-0, 9-4-1 UFC), B.J. Penn (16-9-2, 12-8-2 UFC) - I don't think these guys would be cut, per se, but it's fair to say that, with defeat this weekend, either would have to take a hard look at their careers. For Edgar, a loss to the nigh-retired Penn (whom he was able to out-hustle twice before) would put him at 1-4 since 2012 and raise serious questions about his physical deterioration over the last couple years. Meanwhile, a loss to Edgar would put Penn's mark at a disappointing 1-5-1 in the last four years. On top of that, he absorbed a pretty horrific amount of punishment in his last two outings (against Nick Diaz and Rory MacDonald), and it's hard to imagine who, beyond Edgar, is low enough in the rankings while at the same time a big enough name to make another sensible match-up for the former two-division champ.

Likely Safe Regardless of Outcome

Guto Inocente (6-2-0), Derrick Lewis (10-2-0, 1-0 UFC), Juan Manuel Puig (11-2-0), Alexis Dufresne (5-0-0), Sarah Moras (3-1-0), Robert Drysdale (6-0-0), Keith Berish (5-0-0) - Everyone here is either debuting or at the start of a winning UFC career, so they're probably good for at least one more fight, regardless. The only possible outlier is Moras. As a TUF contestant with a slight record, her spot here is a little more tenuous. But, on the other hand, she's fighting at women's bantamweight, which needs bodies, and she has a win over TUF champ Julianna Pena, which could make for decent promotional material.

Jumabieke Tuerxun (14-1-0, 0-1 UFC) - Normally, an 0-2 promotional record would mark a fighter as "Possibly Cut," but the UFC wants to hold on to anyone who might pull in and around the Chinese market. I think they'll keep Tuerxun around for one more no matter what.

Dustin Ortiz (13-3-0, 2-1 UFC), Justin Scoggins (9-0-0, 2-0 UFC) - Both have more than held their own in the UFC and should be safe.

Corey Anderson, Matt Van Buren (6-2-0), Eddie Gordon (9-2-0), Dhiego Lima (9-1-0) - TUF finalists have never been cut coming away from the finale, no matter how poor the critical reception for that season. All of these guys are guaranteed one more fight, though probably not much more than that.

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