The UFC will be returning to network television on Saturday night for their next big event on FOX as UFC On FOX: Johnson vs. Moraga takes place from the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington. Injuries have ravaged the card in recent weeks, but the main event stays in tact as Demetrious Johnson defends the UFC Flyweight Championship against John Moraga. Also, Rory MacDonald and Jake Ellenberger meet in the night’s co-main event in a fight that will go a long way in determining the next potential title challenger in the welterweight division.
As was noted, injuries have impacted several fights on the card, though there are several fights that have the potential to be exciting, and replacements always bring a fight as they seem to have something to prove. There are fighters on the card who could find themselves fighting for their spots on the UFC roster. We will be highlighting five fighters who find themselves in much need of a win as we bring you The Cut List for UFC On FOX 8.
Melvin Guillard (30-12-2 1 NC, 11-8 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Mac Danzig
Why he’s on the list: Melvin Guillard has been around the UFC for a long time as Saturday night will mark his 20th appearance inside the Octagon. He has had many ups-and-downs, but his recent struggles have seen the worst stretch of his career, and he will be needing to shake off those struggles if he wants to maintain a spot on the UFC roster. Guillard found himself in title contention once before when he scored seven wins in a stretch of eight fights, including a five-fight win streak. He made some changes in camps at the end of that win streak, and he has never seemed to recover as he has gone just 1-4 over his last five fights. Granted, those losses have come to Joe Lauzon, Jim Miller, Donald Cerrone and Jamie Varner, all of whom are fighting very well recently, but a fifth loss over a span of six fights would be a terrible stretch for any fighter, and most would be released. Guillard is still quite popular, and he generally has fun fights, so he may get another chance even in a loss. He is hopeful the move to training in Colorado will pay off when he faces Mac Danzig.
Chances of being cut with loss: 80%. Guillard would be in a terrible stretch with another loss, but there have been fighters who get another shot even with three straight losses. Guillard fits the mold of that, but he really needs a win if he’s going to ever start getting back into the title hunt. His opponent, Danzig, is also in need of a win as he is just 3-6 over his last nine fights. It is a must-win situation for both, and both will come out swinging in hopes of an impressive win to get them back on track.
Ed Herman (20-9 1 NC, 7-5 1 NC UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Trevor Smith
Why he’s on the list: Ed Herman has been around the UFC for a while as he was a finalist on season three of “The Ultimate Fighter” all the way back in 2006. Herman lost in the finals to Kendall Grove, but due to the exciting fight they had, Herman was invited back for another UFC fight. He went just 4-4 over his next eight fights culminating with a loss to Aaron Simpson in a fight that saw Herman sustain a serious knee injury. Herman would be out of action for nearly two years, and while he had just a 4-5 record in the UFC up to that point, he would get to see more action inside the Octagon, and he returned from the knee injuries to put together an impressive three-fight win streak. Stoppage wins over Tim Credeur, Kyle Noke and Clifford Starks led Herman to a big fight against Jake Shields. Unfortunately, Herman lost the fight to Shields (though it was overturned to a no contest when Shields failed the post-fight drug test), and then suffered another loss when he went to Strikeforce to fight Ronaldo Souza, who submitted him. Herman now finds himself with his back against the wall once again as he could find himself fighting to maintain his UFC roster position when he faces Trevor Smith on Saturday.
Chances of being cut with loss: 60%. He is favored over Smith in this bout, and every time Herman has had his back against the wall he has responded in a big way. Plus, he did the UFC a favor by going to Strikeforce and fighting Ronaldo Souza on short notice when there was likely no one else who was willing to do that. They seem to like Herman and he has had some bad luck, and win-or-lose, we will likely see him again in the UFC.
Aaron Riley (30-13-1, 3-5 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Justin Salas
Why he’s on the list: Despite being just 32-years-old, Riley has been around the sport since 1997, and fought in the UFC as far back as 2002 when he took on a young Robbie Lawler, who is also competing on the UFC On FOX 8 card. This is his third stint with the UFC, and he has gone 3-3 in his six fights during this stint (though the first loss in this run, to Shane Nelson, was very controversial). The worst part of this stint is all three of his losses have come by TKO, and he has struggled when faced with a growing competition level. His last two losses have come to winners of “The Ultimate Fighter”, Ross Pearson and Tony Ferguson. Riley has been out of action since his loss to Ferguson, which came at UFC 135 all the way back in September 2011. A broken jaw ended that fight, and while he was scheduled to return in May 2012, another injury forced him out, and he has been out of action and not scheduled for a fight since then. It will have been 22 months since his last fight when he steps into the Octagon on Saturday, and he will be needing to prove that there is a lot left in his gas tank when it comes to his fighting career.
Chances of being cut with loss: 90%. It almost feels that it is a certainty that Riley will be cut from the UFC if he loses against Justin Salas on Saturday. Salas himself is looking to avoid back-to-back losses and the chance of being cut with a loss, so it will be two fighters fighting in a must-win situation during the Facebook preliminary card. Riley would fall to 3-6 in the UFC with a loss, and he likely would be gone as the UFC looks to trim the roster.
John Albert (7-4, 1-3 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Yaotzin Meza
Why he’s on the list: John Albert will be fighting for the fifth time in the UFC, and perhaps surprisingly, he gets that opportunity despite three straight losses, all of which have come by submission. Albert was a castmember of season 14 of “The Ultimate Fighter”, and while he was eliminated by eventual winner John Dodson, Albert still got a shot in the UFC. He scored a TKO win over Dustin Pague in his UFC debut in December 2011, which marks the only win he has gotten inside the Octagon. The string of three straight submission losses started with a loss by rear-naked choke to Ivan Menjivar at UFC On FUEL TV 1 in February 2012. It was followed with a technical submission loss to Erik Perez in June 2012, which was controversial in that Albert did not tap out or verbally submit, though it was stopped by referee Kim Winslow. Albert’s last loss came to Scott Jorgensen in the “Fight Of The Night” at the UFC’s last stop in Seattle at UFC On FOX 5 in December. Albert is a local fighter who has had some close losses in his last two bouts, but he finds himself in a must-win situation as he takes on Yaotzin Meza in the opening bout on the card.
Chances of being cut with loss: 100%. Four losses in a row would signal the end of Albert’s time in the UFC. It takes special fighters with a name to survive the four straight loss axe from the UFC, and Albert does not fit into that category. Albert needs a win against Meza, and Meza finds himself in that same position. Albert was disappointed in losing before his home crowd in his last bout, and a reverse in fortune will keep him around for at least one more fight.
Yaotzin Meza (19-8, 0-1 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: John Albert
Why he’s on the list: Yaotzin Meza will be fighting for the second time in the UFC, and unlike his debut, he will be getting a full training camp in preparation for his opening bout against John Albert. Meza made his UFC debut on about as short of a notice as you can get when he took on top featherweight contender Chad Mendes in December. Meza took the fight on less than one week’s notice after Mendes’ original opponent was forced out, and there are not many fighters will to step in and fight a top guy like Mendes on short notice. Meza did, but he only lasted 1:55 in their fight as Mendes finished him with punches. Meza will now fight at his more natural weight class of 135 pounds, and with all the training he gets alongside UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson, he should come in fully prepared for his second trip inside the Octagon.
Chances of being cut with loss: 70%. He did the UFC a huge favor when taking the fight against Mendes on very short notice, so it earned him a second fight in the UFC. Could it earn him a third fight even with a loss? That will be a tough decision, but a win for sure would secure Meza a third fight in the UFC.