Nine fighters are making their UFC debuts at the promotion’s Fight Night event in Macau this weekend (that’s nearly half the card) and six have pro records of five or fewer bouts. So, much like this weekend’s Tulsa card, it’s hard to find very many fighters who are “Likely Cut.” However, some records are so slight that even one loss in the UFC may be too much…
Likely Cut With a Loss
Zhuikui Yao (1-1-0) – I know the UFC has been increasingly hesitant to cut guys, and I know that they’re looking to make inroads into the Chinese market, but I can’t imagine that they would keep a fighter with a losing record that’s only three-fights long. Yao would need to look pretty phenomenal in a losing effort to avoid being sent out for more experience.
Possibly Cut With a Loss
Elizabeth Phillips (4-2, 0-1 UFC) – Women’s bantamweight is filling out nicely, so the UFC may not be quite as eager to hold on to an 0-2 fighter as they might’ve been a year ago.
Roland Delorme (9-3-1NC, 3-2-1NC UFC) – He’s lost two in a row and, if it weren’t for a no-contest, Delorme would be 1-3 in his last four. I think Delorme makes for pretty good viewing, and he comes cheap, but I don’t know that the UFC would want to hold on to a 30-year-old bantamweight with three straight losses.
Ning Guangyou (3-2-1) – Ning is in much the same boat as his opponent Yao, but his lengthier record may make it easier to keep him on the roster.
Danny Mitchell (14-5-1, 0-1 UFC), Wang Sai (6-5-1, 0-1 UFC) – Wang Sai is coming off a loss in the TUF: China finals in which he didn’t make much of an impression; nationality aside, that’s often a sink-or-swim situation in the UFC. As for Mitchell, it’s hard to know what place he could have in the division if he loses to someone as low in the rankings as the TUF runner-up.
Likely Safe Regardless of Outcome
Milana Dudieva (10-3-0), Colby Covington (5-0-0), Yuta Sasaki (17-1-2), Shinsho Anzai (8-1-0), Alberto Mina (10-0-0), Jianping Yang (6-3-1), Brendan O’Reilly (5-0) – As usual, I’ve included here the debuting fighters, with the exceptions of the aforementioned Yao and Ning.
Royston Wee (3-0, 1-0 UFC), Anying Wang (2-0, 1-0 UFC) – Slight as they are, each of their records are bolstered by a UFC win. That they’re undefeated (which, oddly, is not something that everyone with three or fewer fights on this card can claim) probably helps a bit, too.
Zhang Lipeng (7-7-1, 1-0 UFC) – However underwhelming it might’ve been, Zhang’s upset victory over Sai in the TUF: China finals earned him some breathing room.
Tyron Woodley (13-3, 3-2 UFC), Dong Hyun Kim (19-2-1, 10-2-1NC UFC), Cung Le (9-2, 2-1 UFC), Michael Bisping (24-6, 14-6 UFC) – The headliners are all safe, for a variety of reasons. Still, the pending results of Bisping vs. Le have serious implications for two fighters getting up their in age and ring time. Bisping has been at the edge of contendership for the greater part of his UFC career without ever quite being able to make a truly emphatic case for a title challenge. A loss to the 42-year-old Le, however, would really shove him down to the edge of the divisional rankings, and a 1-3 run since 2013 would have many wondering about how much longer the 35-year-old Bisping is for this sport. As for Le, Hollywood has always been a tempting alternative to fighting, and a loss this weekend may only strengthen its pull.
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