The UFC has put together an exceptional card for its second pay-per-view of the month; everyone competing has UFC experience, three have been champions in major MMA organizations, five others have challenged for a title, and all of the main card fighters have a knack for either submitting or knocking out their opponents. With all that in mind, you'll find little in the way of imminent releases at Saturday's show.
Likely Cut With a Loss
Andy Enz (7-2, 0-2 UFC) - he is winless so far in his career as an undercard fighter, and I can't see why the UFC would want to keep him around for a fourth try.
Possibly Cut With a Loss
Thiago Santos (9-3, 1-2 UFC), Richardson Moreira (7-2, 0-1 UFC) - based on style (both are finishers), I think the UFC might stand them another fight beyond this weekend, though flat performances will shine a harsher light on their weak records in the promotion.
Likely Safe Regardless of Outcome
Jimy Hettes (11-2, 3-2 UFC), Diego Brandao (18-10, 4-3 UFC) - I kind of suspect that Brandao, such as he is, could probably lose five in a row before being released.
Tom Watson (17-7, 2-3 UFC), Rafael Natal (18-6-1, 6-4-1 UFC), Tim Boetsch (18-7, 9-6 UFC) - Tim Boetsch should probably rank among the pound-for-pound Top 10 of not taking s*** from nobody. An unprecedented TKO of Brad Tavares staved off a risky losing streak for The Barbarian, and such is the case for all of these guys, each of whom picked up much-needed victories their last times out.
Ildemar Alcantara (20-7, 3-2 UFC), Derek Brunson (12-3, 3-1 UFC), Ed Herman (22-10-1NC, 9-6-1NC UFC), Thales Leites (24-4, 9-3 UFC) - Leites, who seems equally capable of electrifying and sedating audiences, remains undefeated in his second UFC campaign. Alcantara, after fighting at light-heavyweight and welterweight, finally settles at 185 pounds.
Al Iaquinta (10-3-1, 5-2 UFC), Joe Lauzon (24-9, 11-6 UFC), Jordan Mein (29-9, 3-1 UFC), Thiago Alves (20-9, 12-6 UFC) - a cadre of the UFC's reliable action fighters. Lauzon, who's looked rather vulnerable lately, found himself in a few tough spots against TUF winner Michael Chiesa, whom Iaquinta lost to in the show's final. It'll be interesting to see how Lauzon deals with the greatly improved runner-up.
Ian McCall (13-4-1, 2-2-1 UFC), John Lineker (24-7, 5-2 UFC), Miesha Tate (15-5, 2-2 UFC), Sara McMann (8-1, 1-1 UFC) - with victory, either Lineker or McCall make themselves number-one contender. And though neither Tate nor McMann seem like particular threats to Rousey at this point, I think the state of the division and the high-quality of the match-up means that the winner could find themselves only one or two more fights from another title shot.
Kelvin Gastelum (10-0, 5-0 UFC), Tyron Woodley (14-3, 4-2 UFC), Nick Diaz (26-9-1NC, 5-5 UFC), Anderson Silva (33-6, 16-2 UFC) - full disclosure: I'm of the mind that Anderson Silva is real magic and can do pretty much anything provided he's healthy and not goofing around too, too much, and this includes retaking middleweight title. Meanwhile, if he drops this fight to Diaz, I'll essentially lose my damn mind and hole up under my kitchen table waiting for a retirement announcement. Pray for Rainer, guys.
Best Nickname: A two-way tie between "Kong" Watson and Tim "The Barbarian" Boetsch. Andy "Tank Mode" Enz is pretty sweet, too. Meanwhile, Tyron Woodley made a lateral move, at best, by trading in "T-Wood" for "The Chosen One." It could be worse, though.
Most High-Risk Fight: The loser of Santos vs. Enz will find themselves on thin ice, if not sunk entirely. However, the results of Silva vs. Diaz will also tell a lot about the former champions' viability in the UFC. Silva obviously has a great deal to both gain and lose this weekend, and while there'd be no shame in losing to "The Spider," defeat for the mercurial Diaz might send him back into extended hiatus.