For the North American viewer, this Saturday's UFC Fight Night card in Poland isn't really a compelling show. Gabriel Gonzaga, Jimi Manuwa, and Joanne Calderwood are literally the only ranked fighters competing in Krakow, and Gonzaga is hanging onto his top 15 (and possibly UFC job) by a thread.
It's time once again to see who is and isn't at risk of getting that dreaded UFC pink slip with defeat tomorrow night. I assess every fighter based on their win/loss record, performance inside the cage, longevity, and occasionally whether or not they agree that a hot dog is a sandwich.
Most likely cut with a loss
Anthony Hamilton (13-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC). He's been stopped in the 1st round in his two losses and his only UFC win is against Ruan Potts, and that basically speaks for itself. Dropping to 1-3 would probably be grounds for canning him, especially since he's hardly a prospect in the division.
Seth Baczynski (19-12 MMA, 5-5 UFC), Leon Edwards (8-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC). Hard to believe that Baczynski once had a 4 fight winning streak in the UFC, but now he's 1-4 in his last 5 and just got brutally KO'd by Alan Jouban in August. It's hard to see him surviving another loss. Edwards was unlucky to lose a split decision to Claudio Silva in Brazil, but getting this type of match-up almost gives away that it's "loser goes home".
Possibly cut with a loss
Gabriel Gonzaga (16-9 MMA, 11-8 UFC). Should "Napao" falter in his rematch to Cro Cop he'd be on a 3 fight losing skid and 2-4 overall in his last 6. He's still enough of a name in the division that he could still hang around with another setback, but don't be surprised if he's axed.
Pawel Pawlak (10-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC), Sheldon Westcott (8-2-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC). Both men are coming off uninspiring losses yet are on the main card, likely due to Westcott being part of TUF Nations. It's not got the same "loser gets cut" feeling as Baczynski/Edwards but it's definitely not too far behind.
Yaotzin Meza (20-9, 1 NC MMA; 1-2, 1 NC UFC). Under normal circumstances, his fight with Damian Stasiak would probably put him nearer the "most likely cut" line, but this bout was added on short notice so he may get a reprieve with another defeat. As it stands, Meza has won just 1 of his 4 UFC fights (against the retired John Albert) and hasn't shown much inside the cage to suggest he's going to be sticking around much longer.
Likely safe regardless of outcome
Maryna Moroz (5-0), Bartosz Fabinski (11-2) Gareth McLellan (12-2), Mickael Lebout (13-3-1, 1 NC), Izabela Badurek (5-2), Aleksandra Albu (1-0), Steven Ray (16-5), Taylor Lapilus (8-1), Rocky Lee (3-0), Damian Stasiak (8-2). Yes, roughly 40% of this entire card (10/24) is comprised of Octagon newcomers. Consider them all assured a 2nd fight unless they go all Gilbert Yvel on a referee or something.
Jan Blachowicz (18-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC), Joanne Calderwood (9-0, 1-0 UFC), Sergio Moraes (8-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC). These are the only 3 fighters whose last fight was a win in the UFC, and Calderwood in particular has a chance to be the next title challenger at women's 115 lbs. They're all virtual locks to stay.
Jimi Manuwa (14-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC), Daniel Omielanzcuk (16-4-1, 1 NC MMA; 1-1 UFC). Light heavyweight is a really bad division, and Manuwa is one of the few fresh faces in the top 15. A potential 2nd straight defeat really doesn't affect him, especially when you consider his first loss was to Alexander Gustafsson. For Omielanzcuk, he came into the UFC on an 11 fight winning streak, then won his debut over the mighty Nandor Guelmino before he was smothered by Jared Rosholt. I like his chances of staying on board even if Anthony Hamilton pulls off the upset, if not for how the UFC values him on the European circuit.
Mirko Cro Cop (30-11-2, 1 NC MMA; 4-6 UFC). I don't think the UFC would bring Cro Cop back just to be a one-off headliner and then cut him again. They'll milk whatever name value is left out of him until he either retires (again) or is so shot that they have to pull the plug.
Biggest "Cut Watch" fight of the week: Seth Baczynski vs. Leon Edwards