The final Saturday in April greets us with yet another UFC event, and after three free events this month, it is time for the big event of the month on pay-per-view with UFC 159 headlined by the much anticipated UFC Light Heavyweight Championship fight as Jon Jones defends against Chael Sonnen. The event eminates from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, which is the location that Jones won the championship from Mauricio Rua a little over two years ago.
This is a fairly stacked card with five solid fights on the pay-per-view portion of the card. Michael Bisping, Alan Belcher, Roy Nelson, Phil Davis and Jim Miller are some of the featured fighters on the main card, and they will be with the UFC for years to come. There are some fighters on the undercard who do not have the status of those fighters, and they will be in much need of a win on Saturday as they fight to keep their position on the UFC roster. Here is a look at five fighters in particular who need a win. Here is The Cut List- UFC 159 edition.
Yancy Medeiros (9-0, 0-0 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Rustam Khabilov
Why he’s on the list: Medeiros is undefeated and making his UFC debut, which may make his placement on this list somewhat confusing. He is a transfer from the Strikeforce promotion but he has not fought since a June 2010 knockout win over Gareth Joseph. Being out of action for nearly three years and being immediately put into a tough fight against Khabilov, who looked super impressive in his UFC debut winning against Vinc Pichel. Medeiros has scored seven of his nine wins by submission or knockout, and nine wins in nine fights is very impressive. His inactivity places him on the list, and it could be a rough night for him on Saturday against Khabilov.
Chances of being cut with loss: 40%. They aren’t a whole lot of fighters lining up to fight Khabilov so Medeiros should be commended for doing so after nearly three years off. That inactivity may help him keep his roster spot should he lose as it will be just his first career loss if that happens. There have been a few fighters lately cut after just one fight inside the Octagon, so Medeiros needs an impressive showing win or lose.
Leonard Garcia (15-10-1, 2-6 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Cody McKenzie
Why he’s on the list: Garcia keeps avoiding being cut from the UFC roster despite four straight losses and losses in five of his last six fights, but he finds himself in a must-win situation yet again it seems. He concievably could have suffered six or even nine straight losses in his career as his last two wins were close fights, yet he continues to deliver inside the Octagon as he routinely has one of the best, if not the best, fights on whichever card he appears on. Garcia has been on the chopping block for quite a while, but his quality fights always leave UFC President Dana White with a lasting impression, and he always seems to stick around to fight another day. His last fight at UFC 155 in December was a close split decision loss to Max Holloway, a fight that he could have won, but with it being his fourth loss in a row, it makes his fight against McKenzie on Saturday an even bigger fight.
Chances of being cut with loss: 100%. Garcia has to win on Saturday night to keep his job. For that matter, so does his opponent, McKenzie (see below). No one has ever stuck around the UFC with five straight losses, and despite the quality of Garcia’s fights, an exception likely will not be made for him. Garcia needs a win, and he knows it, so he will likely pull out all the stops in an effort to take home a win.
Cody McKenzie (13-3, 2-3 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Leonard Garcia
Why he’s on the list: McKenzie was a popular castmember of season 12 of “The Ultimate Fighter” and became known for his ability to finish his fights with a guillotine choke. He won the first 12 fights of his career with ten of those wins coming by a guillotine choke, which has been dubbed “The McKenzitine” whenever he finishes a fight with it. He also has scored an additional win in the UFC over Marcus LeVesseur with the guillotine choke. He has not had much in the way of recent success as he has lost three of his last four fights, and he has been finished in all three of those losses. He was last seen inside the Octagon in July when he was finished by Chad Mendes in just 31 seconds at UFC 148. McKenzie is looking to avoid dropping to 1-4 over his last five fights, a record that would almost assuredly lead to a release from the UFC roster.
Chances of being cut with loss: 100%. He finds himself in a must-win situation against Garcia, who also is in a must-win situation. Both men will be looking to put on a quality fight and win with a quality performance. McKenzie has the ability to finish with a submission while Garcia can finish the fight with his hands. With both needing that win in the most desparate of ways, it could make for one hell of a fight.
Nick Catone (9-4, 3-4 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: James Head
Why he’s on the list: Catone makes his eighth appearance in the UFC on Saturday night as part of the prelims on Facebook, and he looks to avoid adding to his current two-fight losing skid as he makes his second appearance as a welterweight. Catone is coming off consecutive loss to Chris Camozzi, who defeated him by technical knockout in June, and T.J. Waldburger, who defeated him by technical submission in December. Those two losses followed two decision wins over Jesse Forbes and Costa Philippou, the only UFC loss for the middleweight contender. Injuries have limited Catone to just four fights since an August 2009 loss to Mark Munoz, and he is just 2-4 over his last six fights after starting his career with seven straight wins.
Chances of being cut with loss: 90%. Three straight losses usually signal the end for a fighter in the UFC, though obvious exceptions have been made (see Leonard Garcia above). Being finished in a third straight loss would not help matters as well, so Catone needs to get a win to stay in the crowded UFC welterweight division. He is a slight underdog against James Head, and he will need to score what may be a mild upset if he wants to stick around in the UFC.
Kurt Holobaugh (9-1, 0-0 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Steven Siler
Why he’s on the list: Holobaugh makes his UFC debut in the night’s opening contest against Siler. Holobaugh moves over from the Strikeforce promotion, where he fought just once, a decision loss to Pat Healy at Strikeforce’s final event in January. Holobaugh took that fight on short notice, which gave him the chance to be moved over to the UFC, where he decided to make the drop to a tough featherweight division. He is also taking this fight on short notice as an injury replacement for Jimy Hettes. Holobaugh won the first nine fights of his career, and he is looking to get back into that win column against Siler, who is also coming into this fight off of a loss. Holobaugh has finished his opponents in eight of his nine wins with six submission wins and two knockout wins.
Chances of being cut with loss: 50%. Two straight losses under the Zuffa banner is not an ideal situation, especially when competing in a stacked featherweight division. However, Holobaugh has taken both of his Zuffa fights on short notice, so he has been doing the promotion a favor. If he can avoid a stoppage loss, he will likely get another fight in the UFC, which would be a must-win situation. Holobaugh would love to score a win, though, and he is just a very slight underdog in the fight.