UFC 185 out of Dallas, Texas makes for some exceptional MMA viewing this Saturday with a pair of title fights and a high-level welterweight bout at the top of the card, as well as action from prospects Henry Cejudo, Elias Theodorou, and Joseph Duffy scattered throughout the evening. Only two of the night's competitors--one a UFC novice and the other a fixture of the lightweight division--seem to be on uncertain ground.
Likely Cut With a Loss
Jake Lindsey (9-2, 0-2 UFC) - he's the only one on the card with such an extensively winless UFC record, making him, unfortunately, the odd man out this Saturday.
Possibly Cut With a Loss
Sam Stout (20-10-1, 9-9 UFC) - he's 2-2 in the last two years, which is more or less in keeping with his UFC career, but the more qualitative elements of Stout's fights ought to raise some flags. While he's only been knocked out once in his entire career (his last out against K.J. Noons) he's seemed surprisingly outgunned in a few instances prior and, heading into his 32nd MMA contest, I'm not sure how much he has left in the tank. A consecutive knockout loss could have Stout, and others, contemplating his retirement.
Likely Safe Regardless of Outcome
Joseph Duffy (12-1-0) - the night's lone debuting fighter is a nice get for the UFC, having submitted TUF-winner Norman Parke before doing the same to UFC golden boy Conor McGregor (in under a minute, no less). Sergio Pettis may have the big name, but Duffy is the one to watch on the undercard.
Ryan Benoit (7-3, 0-1 UFC), Josh Copeland (9-1, 0-1 UFC) - despite being winless in the Octagon, and despite the fact that the UFC has recently taken to releasing guys with similar promotional records, I think particular circumstances are on Benoit and Copeland's side. Both are part of slim divisions and Benoit, for his part, has a record of finishing power, which is nice at flyweight.
Elias Theodorou (10-0, 2-0 UFC), Henry Cejudo (7-0, 1-0 UFC) - the night's undefeated fighters. I'm surprised that a TUF winner as charismatic as Theodorou isn't getting a push on the main card, but then again, I'm not sure which fight I'd see his replace. Maybe Cejudo's, but being that he's on a short list of possible flyweight contenders, it's probably best to keep him on the PPV.
Larissa Pacheco (10-1, 0-1 UFC) vs. Germaine de Randamie (4-3, 1-1 UFC) - I can't help but feel like the UFC could be promoting women's bantamweight fights more frequently, especially since Rousey is lacking for a recognizable or credible challenger.
Jared Rosholt (11-2, 3-1 UFC), Chris Cariaso (17-6, 7-4 UFC), Ross Pearson (16-8-1NC, 8-5-1NC UFC) - Pearson seems to have undergone a sort of career Renaissance, but I'm not sure it's quite as revolutionary as it seems. His touchstone victories (over George Sotiropoulos, Gray Maynard, and Diego Sanchez, that last one in every way up official) all came against distinctly faded top guys. Still, there's something to be said for winning the fights you're supposed to.
Roger Narvaez (7-1, 1-1 UFC), Sergio Pettis (12-1, 3-1 UFC), Beneil Dariush (9-1, 3-1 UFC), Daron Cruickshank (16-5-1NC, 6-3-1NC UFC) - cheers to Cruickshank, who's making a relatively quick return to competition following what seemed to be a career-threatening eye injury he sustained against K.J. Noons.
Roy Nelson (20-10, 7-6 UFC), Alistair Overeem (38-14-1NC, 3-3 UFC), Matt Brown (19-12, 12-6 UFC), Johny Hendricks (16-3, 11-3 UFC) - hard to imagine that I thought Hendricks was a tune-up fight for a 1-0-0 Amir Sadollah, but that was 2009 for ya. It was all about Kanye West interrupting speeches, Avatar, and the further besmirching of the TUF pedigree.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk (8-0, 2-0 UFC), Carla Esparza (10-2, 1-0 UFC), Rafael Dos Anjos (23-7, 12-5 UFC), Anthony Pettis (18-2, 5-1 UFC) - Dos Anjos--whose overall style and 3-3 start in the UFC didn't seem to portend particularly spectacular things--caps off a series of fighters on the main card who have all undergone some sort of reinvention in the last few years, including Overeem, with his move to heavyweight and its attendant, intimidating kickboxing game, and, of course, Matt Brown and his monstrous three-year winning streak.