Every Saturday for the month of June will feature a UFC event, starting with tonight’s Fight Night card on Fox Sports 1 in New Orleans. The main event sees Dan Henderson battle Tim Boetsch in a middleweight bout, with Henderson aiming for just his 2nd win in his last 6. But if he doesn’t get the win, will that be the last we see of Hendo inside the Octagon? It’s time to examine his fate and everyone else’s in this week’s edition of The Cut List.
Likely cut with a loss
Jose Quinonez (3-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC), Leonardo Morales (4-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC), Quinonez and Morales, both out of TUF Latin America (but curiously fight on this card and not on the Mexico one next week), are fighting each other in a painfully obvious “loser gets cut”. Morales badly missed weight so he’s a definite goner with a loss.
Jake Collier (8-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC). Collier was winning his debut fight vs. Vitor Miranda before getting KO’d with a head kick. It’s a rough way to lose your debut but them’s the breaks.
Justin Edwards (8-4 MMA, 2-4 UFC). Pretty self explanatory. He’s on a two-fight losing streak and a loss to Joe Proctor would drop him to 1-4 in his last 5. That won’t cut the mustard but it will get him cut.
Anthony Birchak (11-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC). Birchak’s UFC debut lasted all of 64 seconds and he was swiftly submitted by Ian Entwistle. I know that bantamweight isn’t a division that is stuffed to the gills with depth, but recent roster cuts suggest that an 0-2 start generally doubles as an end to the journey. He fights Joe Soto on the main card.
Possibly cut with a loss
Dan Henderson (30-13 MMA, 7-7 UFC). Technically speaking, this isn’t really a “cut” but more a case where if he loses by knockout again or just looks downright abysmal, he could get the Chuck Liddell treatment and more or less be coerced into retirement. He still has three fights (including this one) on his deal and he plans to finish out the contract, so if he wins then you can virtually guarantee he’ll fulfill what he set out to do, but if not? They won’t cut him so he can go willingly be a ratings draw in Bellator, but a “forced” retirement may be in store.
Alex Caceres (10-7, 1 NC MMA; 5-5, 1 NC UFC). As exciting and unpredictably as “Bruce Leeroy” tends to be, he’s also maddeningly inconsistent and also has a failed drug test (for marijuana) on his record. Caceres has dropped his last two, including a shock decision loss to Masenori Kanehara. Opening up the main card against Francisco Rivera, Caceres’ future in the UFC may be in the balance if he loses a 3rd straight.
Francisco Rivera (10-4, 1 NC MMA; 3-3, 1 NC UFC). Harsh as it may be, Rivera is on a two-fight losing streak because of the controversial end to the Urijah Faber fight. Keeping in mind that he’s failed a drug test and has a mediocre UFC record, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he still gets cut with a 3rd straight loss.
Brian Ebersole (51-16-1, 1 NC MMA; 5-2 UFC). Ebersole’s 5-2 record comes with the note that his decision wins over John Howard and Claude Patrick are … contestable, to say the least. He’s not really fun to watch and at 34 with little name value established in the UFC, it’s very possible that his Octagon days are numbered with a loss to Omari Akhmedov.
Likely safe regardless of outcome
Ben Rothwell (34-9 MMA, 4-3 UFC), Matt Mitrione (9-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC), Dustin Poirier (17-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC), Yancy Medeiros (11-2, 1 NC MMA; 2-2, 1 NC UFC), Thiago Tavares (19-5-1 MMA, 9-5-1 UFC). Believe it or not, only 5 main card fighters are coming off of wins. Rothwell is ranked in the top 10 while Mitrione has won 3 in a row so they’re staying put. Poirier is a fan favorite and it would take a catastrophic collapse to get him cut any time soon. Medeiros messed up badly by missing weight but I don’t think he’ll be cut based off of this, especially on the heels of a two-fight winning streak. Lastly, Tavares has won two straight and is also a virtual lock to stay beyond Saturday night.
Tim Boetsch (18-8 MMA, 9-7 UFC), Joe Soto (15-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC), Brian Ortega (8-0, 1 NC MMA; 0-0, 1 NC UFC). Boetsch earned FOTN honors in his loss to Thales Leites and has held steady as a top 15 middleweight for awhile. I’d imagine he’s a safe. The UFC would be insane if they release Soto when he stepped up at the last minute to fight a title fight vs. Dillashaw. Ortega technically did win his debut over Mike de la Torre, but he failed his drug test and the result was flipped to a no contest. Regardless, he’s still a good prospect who shouldn’t be dropped with a loss to Tavares.
Shawn Jordan (17-6 MMA, 5-3 UFC), Derrick Lewis (12-3, 1 NC MMA; 3-1 UFC), Omari Akhmedov (14-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC), Ricardo Abreu (5-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), Chris Wade (9-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC), Christos Giagos (11-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC). Six preliminary card fighters coming off wins. Jordan is on a two-fight winning streak, and his opponent Lewis is a violent finisher off to a good start after 4 fights. Abreu is undefeated so his status is self-explanatory. Akhmedov should be safe considering his 2-1 start and the UFC historically not cutting fighters who don’t go on losing skids. Wade hasn’t lost in the UFC and while Giagos did drop his debut to Gilbert Burns, he bounced back with a nifty submission win in his next fight.
Joe Proctor (10-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC). Lastly, the only preliminary card fighter I back to be safe regardless of tonight’s outcome is the TUF 15 alum Joe Proctor. His last fight ended in a submission defeat to Yancy Medeiros, thwarting his attempt at 3 straight victories. Proctor hasn’t been terribly active in the UFC but he’s a good mid-tier, gatekeeper type of lightweight who will stick around past his bout with Justin Edwards, which he is favored to win.
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