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The Cut List: UFC Fight Night - Mendes vs. Lamas

Mookie Alexander looks at who is potentially on the chopping block on this weekend's UFC Fight Night in Fairfax, Virginia.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday is a special UFC Fight Night in that this entire US-based show takes place during daylight hours. There are plenty of compelling fights on the card with multiple former title challengers competing throughout the night. As always though, fighters are at risk of losing their spot in the promotion with one loss too many, and we're going to examine who's assuredly safe and who is decidedly not on another edition of The Cut List.

Note: You may notice that I'm writing this up instead of Rainer Lee, who has done both this series along with the always fascinating Beyond the Octagon. Unfortunately, Rainer no longer has the time to do any other writing aside from BtO, so in his place for The Cut List is yours truly. I'll try to keep the format as similar as possible but obviously with my own thoughts and opinions.

Likely cut with a loss

Alexander Yakovlev (21-6-1, 0-2 UFC). Yakovlev hasn't been fun to watch in either of his UFC bouts and he will quite possibly go down as the only fighter in UFC history to ever be knocked down by Demian Maia. Even with his last-ditch effort to move down a weight class, he's surely headed elsewhere with a defeat to Gray Maynard.

Gray Maynard (11-4-1, 1 NC MMA; 9-4-1, 1 NC UFC). With just one win in his last five fights, it's looking pretty bleak for the former title challenger. He's been totally out of sorts since his two wars with Frankie Edgar in 2011 and his chin seems to have turned to dust. While he did sign a new 8 fight deal after the loss to Ross Pearson, the UFC wasted no time cutting Paulo Thiago just one fight into his own contract extension, so if Maynard looks downright terrible against Yakovlev you'll probably see him gone after 4 straight losses.

Ron Stallings (12-7-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC), Justin Jones (3-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC). Both of these men were brought in on extremely short notice and predictably lost. Stallings fought Uriah Hall even though he lost his previous bout on the regional scene, while Justin Jones competed at 205 lbs against Beastin' 25/8 Corey Anderson. Neither man impressed in their debuts and matchmaking like this suggests that the loser is getting his pink slip. Considering Jones' inexperience he might get a call back up if needed even if he goes 0-2, but Stallings is in his 30s and has shown nothing in his overall MMA career to indicate he's a real commodity at 185.

Possibly cut with a loss

Liz Carmouche (9-5 MMA, 1-3 UFC), Lauren Murphy (8-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC). If Carmouche loses to Lauren Murphy she'll have managed 3 straight defeats and a 1-4 UFC record, which is hard to overlook even acknowledging one of those losses was to Rousey. Murphy, the former Invicta FC 135 lbs champion, gave Sara McMann a good fight but lost a close decision last August, but a potential 0-2 start to her UFC career puts her in a tough spot, even in a division as depth-deprived as women's 135. I don't expect the loser to be cut, but it's definitely something that may be considered.

Likely safe regardless of outcome

Robbie Peralta (18-5, 1 NC MMA; 4-2, 1 NC UFC) Clay Guida (31-15 MMA, 11-9 UFC). I must admit I am not sure of myself in thinking that they're both safe even with a loss. However, even with both men coming off submission defeats, they were still put on the main card of this show. Guida's "brand" certainly took a hit after the dreadful Maynard loss and the Hatsu Hioki fight, but he's valuable enough to other promotions that I think it would only take a serious losing streak for Guida to find himself out of the UFC. As for Peralta, he's not been a consistent performer even in his wins, but he's probably not in any danger unless he hits 3 straight defeats. His high KO/TKO percentage is a big help if he can just be a fan-favorite at featherweight.

Shamil Abdurahimov (15-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC), Timothy Johnson (8-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC). These are the only two UFC newcomers on Saturday's show, and newcomers typically get at least 2 fights unless you pull a Pedro Nobre.

Dustin Poirier (16-4 MMA, 8-3 UFC), Carlos Diego Ferreira (11-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC). Poirier is one of the most exciting and active fighters on the UFC roster and Ferreira has been impressive in his two wins, so neither one should be troubled if they drop a 2nd straight fight.

Milana Dudieva (11-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC), Julianna Pena (5-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC), Michael Chiesa (11-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC), Mitch Clarke (11-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC), Jorge Masvidal (28-8 MMA, 5-1 UFC), Al Iaquinta (11-3-1, 6-2 UFC). All six of these main card fighters are coming off of wins and aside from Clarke (who has won 2 in a row after an 0-2 start), they're all above .500 inside the Octagon.

Chad Mendes (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC), Ricardo Lamas (15-3 MMA, 6-1 UFC). These are the main event fighters and their combined UFC record is 13-3, they're fine.

Biggest "Cut Watch" fight of the week: Maynard vs. Yakovlev

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