October is here and there are three UFC events this month. The first one takes place in Brazil on Wednesday afternoon, and UFC Fight Night 29 isn’t a particularly good card in terms of talent. While the headliner features a ranked welterweight and one that is just off the list, the only other intriguing fight in terms of rankings is the main card opener at bantamweight. 10 of the 12 main card fighters did win their last bout, but the undercard features four fighters making their UFC debut, three fighters coming off a loss, and just one that’s 2-0 in the UFC.
With that out of the way, let’s get down to the details.
Likely to be cut with a loss
Joey Beltran – We all know he brings a ton of heart into the cage and usually has entertaining fights. But the man needs wins. He was released by the UFC after losing four of five as a heavyweight and was brought back quickly when he decided to drop to 205 pounds. But a loss to James Te Huna and a win overturned by a positive test for nandrolone means that he has his back against the wall yet again. Unless the bout is an absolute barnburner (which is possible), I think he might be on the outside looking in once again if he loses to Maldonado.
David Mitchell – He’s 1-3 in the UFC and was finished in his last outing. Losing to a TUF Brazil fighter making his UFC debut will almost definitely have Mitchell looking for work outside of the UFC.
Iliarde Santos – I forgot him originally, Zane reminded me in the comments. Two straight losses, a third means the door.
Possibly cut with a loss
Jake Shields – I know how weird it is to think that a main event fighter could get cut, but Jake is in a similar position to the two most high-profile cuts of the last year, Jon Fitch and Yushin Okami. He’s had a title shot and lost. His style is not exciting. He doesn’t have a huge fanbase. And he’s reportedly pricey (though his salary hasn’t been reported in over two years, he made 75k to show at UFC 129). Combined with an AC suspension for a banned substance after UFC 150, and you have the makings of another big release with a loss. Especially since that would drop him to 3-3 in the promotion.
Fabio Maldonado – The only two reasons he’s not in the same spot as Beltran as my eyes are the lack of a suspension and him stepping up at UFC 153 to fight Glover Teixeira. He won his last bout but lost three straight before that. A loss here would drop him to 2-4 in the UFC. The promotion could be done with him with a bad performance, but I think he’d get one more shot as long as the fight’s decent.
Igor Araujo – Normally I wouldn’t guys making their UFC debuts into this category, but Araujo was a TUF 16 contestant. That was one of the worst seasons ever, and frankly I’m surprised the UFC brought him back. He could definitely get bounced after one fight if he doesn’t deliver.
Yan Cabral – Take everything about Araujo, but change TUF 16 to TUF Brazil 2. Same boat.
Chris Cariaso – He’s faced some tough competition at flyweight thus far, but a loss here against a fighter not regarded as highly as Moraga or Formiga would be very damaging for his career. Three losses in a row, even in a shallow division, is not a position you ever want to be in. He is 4-3 in the UFC overall though, so his earlier work at bantamweight might be enough to hold onto him for one more chance.
Likely safe regardless of the outcome
Demian Maia – He’s on fire at 170 pounds and brings something unique to the cage. A loss is going to hurt his chances at a title shot, but it won’t hurt his position within the company.
Erick Silva and Dong Hyun Kim – Silva is still viewed as an exciting prospect and Kim is firmly entrenched in the upper-middle class of WW with an 8-2 (1 NC) record in the UFC. A loss would drop Silva to just 3-3 in the UFC, but one was a DQ and one was to Jon Fitch. Not enough to see him in trouble.
Thiago Silva and Matt Hamill – If they were going to cut Silva, they would have done it a a while ago. He’s still popular and finally won a bout that wasn’t overturned when he KO’d Rafael Cavalcante in June. Hamill came out of retirement and the UFC welcomed him back with open arms, so I think he’d have to lose a few in a row to get bounced.
Rousimar Palhares and Mike Pierce – Palhares has lost two in a row, but he still has a following and dropping to 170 gives him a new lease on life to a degree. Pierce is a grinder, but with a 9-3 record in the UFC and finishes in two of his last three fights, I think they’d give him a pass if he got beat by Toquinho.
Raphael Assuncao and T.J. Dillashaw – They’re both top-10 bantamweights on four-fight winning streaks in the UFC, the longest of anyone not named Barao. They’re good to go.
Ildemar Alcantara – He’s 2-0 in the UFC, with one win coming two weight classes above his natural weight. A loss would be a setback, but he’s in no danger of release.
Allan Patrick and Garett Whiteley – They’re both good prospects with undefeated records and were signed on their own, not though the TUF system. The loser will get another chance.
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