The UFC returns for the second straight Saturday as they wrap up the 17th season of The Ultimate Fighter live from Las Vegas. Urijah Faber and Scott Jorgensen will meet in a bantamweight bout in the night’s main event and Uriah Hall and Kelvin Gastelum will battle to determine who is this season’s “The Ultimate Fighter”.
There is a lot riding on the line on this event for the fighters who came from TUF 17. Aside from the finalists Hall and Gastelum, they will all be fighting for a spot on the UFC roster as the losers will likely not be brought back unless they’re in an exciting fight. We will not be getting into all of them, but besides them, here is a look at four other fighters who are in desparate need of a win on Saturday night. Here is The Cut List- The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale edition.
Cole Miller (18-7, 7-5 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Bart Palaszewski
Why he’s on the list: Miller has been around the UFC for a long time being a former castmember of “The Ultimate Fighter”, competing on a stacked season five edition. He will be stepping foot inside the octagon for the 13th time since debuting in 2007 but he is doing so in a must-win situation. Miller has strugged in finding consistency inside the UFC as he has never won more than two fights in a row (though he has put together back-to-back wins three times during his UFC stint), with losses stopping his momentum. He had gone 7-3 as a lightweight, but with that being such a crowded division, he made the move down to 145 pounds to try and make a run at a championship. That has yet to breed success as he has gone 0-2 as a featherweight, losing to Steven Siler and Nam Phan. Having gone just 1-3 over his last four fights, another loss could signal the end of his current UFC career.
Chances of being cut with loss: 75%. Miller has a tough opponent in Palaszewski, a fighter who brings a fight every time out. Palaszewski is tough to finish as he has been finished just four times in 52 fights. Miller has a very good submission game but he tends to fade late in fights. He needs to win this one quickly and impressively or he could be in for another tough decision.
Bart Palaszewski (36-16, 1-2 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Cole Miller
Why he’s on the list: Palaszewski exploded into the UFC with an impressive debut at UFC 137 in October 2011, scoring a knockout win over Tyson Griffin in the first round and scoring “Knockout Of The Night” honors. It was also a sort of crowning acheivement for Palaszewski, who in his 50th professional fight finally got the chance to fight in the biggest MMA promotion in the world. Since that big win, though, Palaszewski has dropped two straight decisions to Hatsu Hioki, and most recently to Diego Nunes in October in a fight that took home “Fight Of The Night” honors. Palaszewski has now dropped three of his last four fights and finds himself fighting for his roster spot on Saturday night.
Chances of being cut with loss: 80%. His odds of being cut with a loss are slightly higher than his opponent, Miller’s, but they both are in a must-win situation. Palaszewski is a tough fighter with a style that could cause a lot of trouble for Miller. Palaszewski is a slight favorite in this fight and he should look to control the fight on the feet and on the mat in order to take home the win.
Daniel Pineda (17-9, 2-2 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Justin Lawrence
Why he’s on the list: Pineda stormed into the UFC in 2012, fighting four times over the course of the first seven months of the year. He started off with two consecutive first-round submission victories over Pat Schilling and Mackens Semerzier that extended his overall win streak to seven straight. He has not had the same success since then as he dropped his last two fights of 2012, a decision loss to Mike Brown at UFC 146 in May and a knockout loss to Antonio Carvalho at UFC 149 in July. After fighting six times over the course of a year, Pineda has taken the last eight-plus months off to recharge himself and make a run at returning to the win column. Pineda has scored all 17 of his wins by knockout or submission and he will be looking to add to that impressive mark on Saturday night.
Chances of being cut with loss: 90%. Pineda is always a fighter they can count on stepping in on short notice to take fights as three of his four fights last year came on short notice. He has lost two straight though, and a third loss in a row would put him in dangerous territory in an expanding featherweight division. Pineda and Lawrence are at even odds coming into the fight, and Pineda has more experience, which could help him end his skid and keep him employed with the UFC.
Maximo Blanco (8-4-1 1 NC, 0-1 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Sam Sicilia
Why he’s on the list: Blanco was one of the top fighters in the world competing in Japan having won the Lightweight King of Pancrase Championship and putting together a six-fight win streak. He signed with Zuffa on the heels of that streak and went to the Strikeforce promotion, where he was expected to be a contender for their lightweight championship. Those hopes were derailed by Pat Healy in September 2011, which prompted Blanco to make the move down to 145 pounds and over to the UFC. Blanco took on an inexperienced but promising fighter in Marcus Brimage at UFC 145 in April 2012, but it was another blemish on Blanco’s record as Brimage took home the split decision. Nearly a year later, Blanco makes his return to action in a must-win situation on Saturday.
Chances of being cut with loss: 100%. Blanco was highly touted coming over from Japan but he could end up as another in a long line of failures of fighters coming from Japan to the US. He is a solid favorite over Sicilia by the oddsmakers, but Blanco was a favorite in his prior two fights, and he lost both of those. A loss would keep him winless under the Zuffa banner, and with a strong featherweight division building up, there may not be a spot for someone on a three-fight losing streak.
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