After two weeks off following a busy April, the UFC returns this weekend for their first of four events over the next five weeks. Kicking things off will be UFC On FX: Belfort vs. Rockhold taking place on Saturday from Jaragua do Sul, Brazil. It will also be the last main card aired on FX as UFC programming makes the transition to FOX Sports 1 in the summer.
Vitor Belfort and Luke Rockhold headline in a five-round middleweight bout while Ronaldo Souza makes his UFC debut against Chris Camozzi in the night’s co-main event. There are several undercard fighters coming off losses in their previous fights, and there will be a lot of battling to maintain spots on the UFC roster. There are a lot of fighters on the card who could make this list, but we will highlight five individuals who are in much need of a win as we present The Cut List- UFC On FX 8 edition.
John Cholish (8-2, 1-1 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Gleison Tibau
Why he’s on the list: Cholish will be stepping into the Octagon for the third time to take on the veteran Tibau, who will be fighting for the 19th time in the UFC. Tibau has struggled a little lately, having lost two of his last three fights, and he could have found himself on this very list, but Cholish finds himself in a tough fight as Tibau is one of the toughest lightweights the UFC currently has on its’ roster. Cholish has been out of action for just over a year due to injuries and is coming off a decision loss to Danny Castillo at UFC On FOX 3 in May 2012. Cholish had won eight straight fights prior to the loss to Castillo, which was capped by a TKO victory over Mitch Clarke at UFC 140 in December 2011 in Cholish’s UFC debut. Cholish has scored seven of his eight wins by knockout or submission. Finishing Tibau will be tough though as Tibau has only been finished three times in 35 career fights, and not since July 2008.
Chances of being cut with loss: 80%. Cholish is a solid lightweight but injuries have kept him from making his move up the lightweight roster. That lightweight roster is very crowded right now, and losses in two of his three UFC fights could send Cholish on his way out of the UFC. Tibau is a tough opponent for Cholish to be taking on in his third UFC fight, and a loss would almost make a cut from the roster likely.
Paulo Thiago (14-5, 4-5 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Michel Prazeres
Why he’s on the list: Thiago exploded onto the UFC scene in a big way when he scored a knockout win over Josh Koscheck at UFC 95 in February 2009, a win that temporarily moved Koscheck out of the title picture. Thiago was about to break into the title picture himself with wins in two of his next three fights, but since then he has gone 1-4 over his past five fights to find himself on the brink of being released from the UFC roster. His last two fights could not have gone worse for Thiago either as he was knocked out cold by Siyar Bahadurzada at UFC On FUEL TV 2 in April 2012, and he was thoroughly dominated by Dong Hyun Kim at UFC On FUEL TV 6 in November. Thiago has lost to some of the toughest the UFC has had to offer as his others losses came to Jon Fitch, Diego Sanchez and Martin Kampmann, but with just one win in the last three years, Thiago is in desperate need of a win.
Chances of being cut with loss: 100%. Without a doubt, a loss will likely signal the end of Thiago in the UFC for the time being. His opponent, Michel Prazeres, is making his UFC debut as a short-notice injury replacement, so Thiago will be a big favorite in the fight. A loss to a fighter making a debut on short notice would not help Thiago’s standing within the UFC’s welterweight roster, so he needs a win. A loss is the end of the road for him.
Roger Hollett (13-4, 0-1 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Fabio Maldonado
Why he’s on the list: Hollett is making just his second appearance in the UFC but is in search of his first UFC win after coming up short in his debut. He had a tough debut opponent in Matt Hamill, and Hamill took home the win over Hollett at UFC 152 in September. Making the loss even tougher was the fact that the fight was rather uneventful and received a lot of boos from the crowd in Toronto, so a loss in a boring fight does not give Hollett much in terms of leeway as he heads into his second bout with the promotion. Hollett was slated to return to action in January at UFC On FX 7 but a torn bicep took him off the card, where he was scheduled to take on Wagner Prado. Hollett now gets a tough matchup against Maldonado, who has shown major toughness in the UFC during his four fights. Maldonado could have found himself on this cut list as well as he is in the middle of a three-fight losing streak.
Chances of being cut with loss: 75%. Hollett battled contract issues with Bellator just to make his UFC debut, which may have factored into his performance against Hamill. He makes this list over Maldonado for the pure fact that Maldonado is the slight favorite in the fight, but the loser of their fight is most likely to be cut. Hollett needs to put on a better performance than the flat performance he gave against Hamill and score a win if he is going to keep his spot on the roster.
Jussier Formiga (14-2, 0-1 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Chris Cariaso
Why he’s on the list: Formiga, better known to fans as Jussier da Silva, is one of the top flyweights in the world, which makes his inclusion on this list rather surprising. He only has two career losses- to Ian McCall and to John Dodson, a win that catapulted Dodson into a title fight against Demetrious Johnson in January. Formiga may have gotten that title fight had he defeated Dodson, but now he finds himself looking to avoid his first-ever two-fight losing streak on Saturday when he takes on Cariaso during the Facebook portion of the preliminary card. Formiga won his first nine fights before his first loss to McCall, and followed that with five straight victories before the setback against Dodson. Formiga’s last four wins all came by submission, and he will need to shake off the Octagon jitters that seemed to plague him in his fight against Dodson.
Chances of being cut with loss: 50%. The flyweight division is very thin right now, and Formiga is one of the best at 125 pounds in the world. You would think an 0-2 record in a division with less than 15 fighters would still give you another fight, but Ulysses Gomez was released with an 0-2 record at 125 pounds. Formiga needs a win and Cariaso is a very tough fighter to defeat. A win saves Formiga and could put Cariaso close to being cut, but a loss would not help Formiga at all. He needs a win.
Jeremy Larsen (8-3 1 NC, 0-1 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Lucas Martins
Why he’s on the list: Larsen competed on season 15 of “The Ultimate Fighter” as a member of Team Cruz. He was eliminated from competition early on in the tournament by eventual winner Michael Chiesa. Larsen still was able to make his UFC debut at The Ultimate Fighter 15 Finale in June 2012. Larsen suffered a first-round knockout to Joe Proctor, being finished in just under two minutes. Larsen has been out of action since that fight, and will be returning with an 11-month plus layoff. Larsen is just 2-2 over his last four fights, and in his 12-fight career, he has never won more than three fights in a row. Larsen needs to get back on the winning track against Martins, who gets a full training camp after making his UFC debut on short notice against an always-tough Edson Barboza. Larsen has not finished an opponent in over three years heading into the fight on Saturday.
Chances of being cut with loss: 95%. He is likely done with the UFC for the time being should he lose to Martins in the opening bout on Saturday. The same could be said for Martins, but Martins is the favorite heading into the fight with just one loss in his career. Martins is a talented prospect for the UFC while Larsen will probably always be in the lowest tier of the lightweight roster. He needs a win to remain with the UFC.
Tags: Jeremy Larsen, John Cholish, Jussier Formiga, Mixed Martial Arts, Paulo Thiago, UFC, UFC On FX 8