UFC 164 is kind of an odd card – it’s stuck in the middle of a ridiculously busy period for the UFC, and it doesn’t have a huge star on the show to help the event rise above the others and attract a ton of attention. The lightweight title fight is important and the return of Barnett is big, but this card seems to be flying under the radar nonetheless. And in terms of talent, it’s not exactly stacked.
Only four of the ten main card fighters won their last bout, and there isn’t a single fighter outside of the main event fighters and Mendes that are on a multi-fight winning streak in the UFC. Only one guy on the card is making his UFC debut, but pretty much the entire bottom half of the card has less than three fights in the octagon. Overall, it makes for a weird card in terms of who might be in danger of losing their jobs. But this is my job, so I’ll do my best. Let’s get onto our second Cut List of the week.
Likely to be cut with a loss
Ryan Couture – It’s not about money or even the Strikeforce stigma, this simply comes down to the UFC versus his father. Dana White just won’t want to deal with the headache of keeping a guy that’s 0-2 with a loss here. It’s just a reason for everyone to bring up Randy Couture, and Ryan is 31 anyway. If he was 21 it might be different and the UFC might see some redeeming qualities. But he’s not, so I believe he gets his pink slip with a loss to Iaquinta.
Jared Hamman – By all accounts, Hamman is a really good guy. And he showed a lot of heart trying to fight through a brutal leg injury against Michael Kuiper that ended up putting him on the shelf for a year. But the numbers don’t lie – he’s 2-4 in the UFC (1-2 at 185) and is currently on a two-fight losing streak. He comes to brawl every time, but losing to Cedenblad on the Facebook prelims probably means he’s on his way out.
Magnus Cedenblad – Speaking of the Swede, he’s 0-1 in the organization thus far and didn’t show a lot against Carmont the first time out. He’s also been out even longer than Hamman has. There’s a possibility they keep him around for one more shot on a Swedish card, but I think they probably cut him with a loss here.
Possibly cut with a loss
Ben Rothwell – He’s been pretty inconsistent so far in the UFC, and has “re-invented himself” about three fights in a row now, two of which he lost. His knockout of Brendan Schaub will live in infamy and a lack of heavyweights might make him less than expendable, but dropping to 2-4 in the UFC could be the death knell for his UFC career. Being a TRT guy at 31 doesn’t help his cause either.
Brandon Vera – Vera has been cut before, but got a reprieve when Thiago Silva got busted. He got a win over Eliot Marshall (who almost subbed him), then got beat up by Shogun Rua in a fight where he showed a lot of heart. He’s back at HW now, but The Truth is that he’s 1-3 (1 NC) in his last 5. Moving divisions might be his saving grace if he loses, but I’m not so sure.
Chico Camus – He’s 1-1 in the UFC, and was subbed by an overweight Dustin Kimura last time out. Being a bantamweight might help his case, but very few fighters with two straight losses are safe in the UFC. I think a decision might come down to how exciting he was if he loses.
Al Iaquinta – He’s a semi-late replacement (6 weeks) that lost the TUF 15 final and hasn’t fought since then. TUF Finalists from other shows have got the boot after two losses, and Iaquinta might be the same.
Likely safe regardless of the outcome
Ben Henderson and Anthony Pettis – They’re two of the best the lightweight division has to offer. There’s no chance either gets cut.
Frank Mir and Josh Barnett – Mir has lost two in a row, but they were to top-flight guys and a third loss here would be no different. He’ll likely be in the UFC until he retires. I considered putting Barnett in the maybe category just due to his old feud with Dana White, but I think they’ve risen above that to do business together and they wouldn’t cut him off of one loss.
Chad Mendes and Clay Guida – Mendes is a top-3 guy at his weight, and Guida won his only UFC featherweight fight thus far (barely). White has complained about Guida’s new style, but I can’t see him getting cut if it does indeed continue in this bout.
Erik Koch and Dustin Poirier – Both are young fringe top-10 guys with room to grow and they have exciting styles. They’ll be staying.
Jamie Varner and Gleison Tibau – Varner’s 2-1 since his return and his bout with Lauzon was enough to keep him on the roster for a while. Tibau is the youngest guy ever to get to 20 fights in the UFC and he’s still an upper middle-class lightweight. I don’t see any reason why either would be out of a job with a loss.
Louis Gaudinot and Tim Elliott – Flyweight is super thin (no pun intended) and both are coming off wins in their last bouts. Unless they’re going to immediately bump guys for losing a couple of times to replace them with others, I highly doubt either is on their way out with a loss.
Pascal Krauss and Hyun Gyu Lim – The UFC likes having an international flavor to their roster for their overseas cards, so I can’t see either one of them getting bounced. Krauss is 2-1 in the UFC, while Lim is 1-0 with a finish. If Lim has problems making weight again they could consider it, but he was fine for his last bout and I expect he will be for this one as well.
Kyung Ho Kang – He dropped a split decision to Alex Caceres in his debut, but it got flipped to a No Contest because Bruce Leeroy likes his weed. The fight was close either way, and was fairly exciting. I doubt the UFC would cut a Korean fighter with just one official loss, especially if he shows something in this bout.
Soa Palelei and Nikita Krylov – Heavyweights aren’t exactly a dime a dozen, so they’re both going to get another shot even if they get blown out of the water.
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