The UFC runs their second pay-per-view event in the month of August as the month comes to an end, and it will feature a huge title fight. Benson Henderson defends the UFC Lightweight Championship against rival Anthony Pettis in a rematch of their WEC Lightweight Championship bout. Pettis defeated Henderson for the WEC title, and he will be looking to repeat that feat and take home coveted UFC gold. Plus, Josh Barnett makes his long-awaited return to the Octagon to fight Frank Mir in a bout that has no lack of trash talk.
The UFC 164 fight card features a lot of interesting match-ups, and the main card on pay-per-view is a solid fight card for fans to enjoy. The undercard is filled with guys looking to mark their territory in their respective divisions. There are also a handful of fighters jockeying for position on the UFC roster as several fighters look to avoid a potential career-changing loss. We highlight five guys who will step foot inside the Octagon on Saturday night in much need of a win as we bring you The Cut List for UFC 164: Henderson vs. Pettis 2.
Brandon Vera (12-6 1 NC, 8-6 1 NC UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Ben Rothwell
Why he’s on the list: Vera has been around the UFC for a long time, and he once famously stated his intentions of becoming both the UFC Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight Champion. He started off his career with eight straight wins, including going 4-0 in his first four UFC fights, capped off with a win over former champion Frank Mir in 2006. He was in line for his first title shot before a contract dispute kept him out of action for 11 months. When Vera came back, there wasn’t a title shot waiting, and it hasn’t been the same since then as Vera has won just four of his past eleven fights, and actually found himself cut from the UFC after a January 2011 loss to Thiago Silva. However, Silva failed a drug test following that fight, and his win was overturned to a no contest, and through that loophole Vera returned to the UFC. He had a win over Eliot Marshall in his return bout, and that was followed with a fight against Mauricio Rua in August 2012. Vera lost that fight, but many consider it the best performance of his career, and UFC President Dana White said Vera wouldn’t be cut after that fight despite the loss. Vera now returns after a year off due to injuries, and he makes the move back up to the heavyweight division against Ben Rothwell at UFC 164.
Chances of being cut with loss: 85%. Another loss would keep Vera with just one win in four years and would more than likely signal the end of his UFC career. Vera was once a real talent, but inconsistency and injuries have derailed the 35-year-old’s career. I would put his percentage of being cut at 100-percent if not for the fight with Rua. It may have gotten Vera more than one more chance. However, his odds are significant of being cut, and he will give up size to Rothwell, so he desperately needs to get his hand raised on Saturday night.
Ben Rothwell (32-9, 2-3 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Brandon Vera
Why he’s on the list: Rothwell is a veteran of 41 fights and will be stepping inside the Octagon for the sixth time, but it could potentially be the last time as he finds himself in a must-win situation when he takes on Brandon Vera at UFC 164. Rothwell has just two wins over his five UFC bouts, but he has rotated losses-and-wins during his five-fight stint, and history would indicate Rothwell is due for a win against Vera as he is coming into this fight off of a second-round submission loss to Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC On FX 7 in January. Rothwell has gotten himself into better shape for his last two fights, and he seems to be a changed fighter, but some outside distractions hindered his performance against Gonzaga. Hopefully he has kept any distractions to a minimum as he looks for his first win since an April 2012 knockout win over Brendan Schaub. An interesting note with Rothwell is he is one of two fighters (the other being Frank Mir) who were approved for TRT use for this event.
Chances of being cut with loss: 95%. I’m almost fairly certain Rothwell would be cut following a loss to Vera. Normally I would try to avoid putting guys facing each other on the cut list, but this just shows how important a win is for both Rothwell and Vera. Rothwell is an expensive fighter, and a guy with a 2-4 record would normally not justify the contract size that Rothwell has. Rothwell needs to get back into the win column, and he has a solid chance against a fighter who has had just as many UFC disappointments as he has.
Chico Camus (12-4, 1-1 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Kyung Ho Kang
Why he’s on the list: Camus will be gracing the Octagon for the third time since signing with the UFC over a year ago, and he looks to start a new win streak after seeing his streak of four straight wins ended in his last bout. Camus debuted in the UFC with a unanimous decision victory over Dustin Pague at UFC 150 last August. It was nearly six months before Camus was seen again, but he returned to welcome newcomer Dustin Kimura to the UFC at UFC 156 in February. Kimura missed weight for that fight, and it was costly to Camus as Camus was outworked by the bigger fighter. Kimura won that bout with a submission in the second-round, and now Camus looks to avoid his second straight loss and the prospect of falling to 1-2 in the UFC. Camus gets the advantage of fighting in his hometown of Milwaukee as he fights Japanese bantamweight Kyung Ho Kang.
Chances of being cut with loss: 65%. Camus may get another shot with a loss in this one as his prior loss came to a guy who missed weight. That isn’t always a guarantee, though, and he should do everything he can to defeat Kang. Kang is a tough fighter who is looking to erase the sting of a close fight. Kang may have been in a no contest in his last bout, but that was due to his opponent failing a drug test, but he had a strong chance of winning that bout. Both bantamweights could really use a win on Saturday night.
Ryan Couture (6-2, 0-1 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Al Iaquinta
Why he’s on the list: Couture is a big name in the sport of mixed martial arts, but UFC Hall Of Famer Randy’s son. Ryan, finds himself in need of a win when he steps inside the Octagon for the second time on Saturday night. Ryan’s first fight in the UFC was kind of high-profile as he debuted in a co-main event bout against Ross Pearson at UFC On FUEL TV 9 in April from Sweden. Couture likely took the first round in that fight, but it didn’t last much longer as Pearson came back in the second round to score a TKO victory. It was the second loss of Couture’s career and the first time he has been stopped. More importantly, it ended Couture’s four-fight win streak and found him relegated to the Facebook portion of the UFC 164 fight card. It is a weird position for someone with the last name of Couture to be in, but flying under the radar is maybe what Ryan needs to advance his career and his hopes of remaining in the UFC. Originally scheduled to fight Quinn Mulhern, Couture now fights Al Iaquinta, who will be coming in fighting for the first time in over 14 months.
Chances of being cut with loss: 80%. Couture is a name and, despite all the behind the scenes issues UFC President Dana White may have with his father, Randy, it is a good thing that Ryan is in the UFC, and fighting UFC competition is the best thing if Ryan wants to advance his career. He has a fight that he has a very good shot of winning against Iaquinta, and he should look to take advantage of the fact he’s fought three times since Iaquinta last fought. It’s a winnable fight for Couture, but a loss could send him out of the UFC and to Bellator alongside his father.
Jared Hamman (13-5, 2-4 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Magnus Cedenblad
Why he’s on the list: Despite just two wins in six UFC bouts, Hamman remains on the UFC roster likely due to his nature of having exciting fights, and whether he wins or loses, if a fight he’s in is finished, it’s in an exciting fashion as well. Hamman has lost two straight fights, and he enters the UFC 164 event in a must-win situation. He isn’t as highly featured as normal as he finds himself in the night’s opening bout against Magnus Cedenblad, who will be looking to get back into the win column as he fights for the first time since a loss in his UFC debut in April 2012. Hamman’s losses both came by knockout to Costa Philippou and Michael Kuiper, and in fact, three of his four UFC losses have been by knockout. He has been involved in two “Fight Of The Nights”, and his last win was a strong knockout of C.B. Dollaway. However, that was two years ago, though Hamman returns to Milwaukee for this bout, the site of his last win.
Chances of being cut with loss: 100%. He was in a must-win situation last time he stepped foot inside the Octagon in Milwaukee, and he delivered. He must do the same this time if he wishes to retain his spot on the UFC roster. Exciting or not, it is very hard for a fighter to keep UFC employment with a 2-5 record, and Hamman would be no exception. He is a slight favorite over Cedenblad as both look to get back to winning form.