The first of four big pay-per-view events for the final months of 2013 takes place on Saturday night with two title fights. UFC 165 is headlined by pound-for-pound king and UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones defending the title against top contender Alexander Gustafsson. Plus, the Interim UFC Bantamweight Championship could be seen for the last time when Renan Barao defends it against Eddie Wineland.
The UFC returns to Toronto for this event, and they bring another finely put together card on Saturday night. A lot of fighters will be looking to break into the title shot hunt with a win, but there are some fighters seeking a much-needed win on Saturday night, especially when you look at the preliminary card. We will highlight five such fighters looking for victory on Saturday night as we bring you The Cut List for UFC 165: Jones vs. Gustafsson.
Ivan Menjivar (25-10, 4-3 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Wilson Reis
Why he’s on the list: Menjivar has been around the sport of MMA for a long time as he will be fighting for the 36th time in his career on Saturday night, and he is just 31-years-old. He is currently ranked at number-ten in the UFC’s official rankings for the bantamweight division despite going just 1-2 over his last three fights, which makes him a candidate for the cut list on a card where there are not a lot of candidates. He had one UFC fight early in his career, which was a decision loss to Matt Serra at UFC 48 in June 2004. He originally retired in 2006 with a 20-7 record, but came out of retirement in 2010 and quickly signed with Zuffa. He lost to Brad Pickett in his lone WEC fight, but moved over to the UFC following the merger with the WEC. Menjivar won his first three UFC fights since returning to quickly move him up the rankings, but the win streak was ended at UFC 148 when he lost to Mike Easton. He got back into the win column with a submission win over Azamat Gashimov. However, in his next fight, his highest-profile bout to date, he was submitted by Urijah Faber at UFC 157 in February. He returns on Saturday night to welcome veteran Wilson Reis to the UFC as Reis replaces Menjivar’s original opponent, Norifumi ‘Kid’ Yamamoto, who pulled out due to injury.
Chances of being cut with loss: 40%. A loss would drop Menjivar to just a 1-3 mark over his last four fights, but, despite that, I think he would stick around for at least one more fight. Menjivar has fought tough opponents, and Reis is another one as he finally makes his UFC debut with a 16-4 record and time spent fighting in the Bellator promotion. Reis is a tough opponent, but he is taking this fight on short notice, which gives Menjivar a slight advantage. This has the makings of a fun fight as well.
Renee Forte (8-2, 1-1 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: John Makdessi
Why he’s on the list: Forte fights for the third time inside the Octagon as he travels to North America for the first time in his fighting career. Forte was a castmember of season one of “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil”, but was eliminated early by eventual finalist Daniel Sarafian. Forte was scheduled to debut at UFC 147 in June 2012, but an injury kept him from debuting at that event. Instead, he debuted at UFC 153 in October 2012, and was submitted in the second round by Sergio Moraes. Forte found himself in a must-win situation in his second UFC bout, and he responded with a win as he took home a unanimous decision win over Terry Etim at UFC On FUEL TV 7 in February. Forte is a member of Team Nogueira out of Brazil, and after winning in his first fight outside of Brazil when he defeated Etim, he fights in Canada for the first time, but gets a tough match-up when he takes on Canada native John Makdessi in a fight airing on Facebook.
Chances of being cut with loss: 75%. A loss would drop Forte to 1-2 in the UFC, and fighters are typically cut with two losses in three fights. His win over Etim was a solid win, but albeit an unexciting fight. Makdessi tends to have exciting fights, and an exciting fight in loss would likely keep Forte on the roster, and he has some value of being a Brazilian fighter with the UFC running several fight cards in Brazil. A win guarantees him remaining on the roster, and a loss puts him in the danger zone.
Michel Prazeres (16-1, 0-1 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Jesse Ronson
Why he’s on the list: Prazeres will be fighting in the UFC for the second time, and unlike his UFC debut, he will have the benefit on completing a full training camp for his second appearance in the Octagon. Prazeres won the first 16 fights of his career, with nine wins by knockout or submission, which led to him getting on the radar of the UFC matchmakers. When a spot came open due to an injury to Lance Benoist, Prazeres jumped on the chance to sign with the UFC and make his debut. Despite taking a fight on less than one month’s notice, and moving up a weight class as well, Prazeres put forth a solid effort despite suffering the first loss of his career as he was defeated by Paulo Thiago in May. Prazeres made a nice comeback in the third round but it was too little, too late as Thiago won on the scorecards. Prazeres will move back down to the lightweight division for his second UFC bout, and he takes on the debuting Jesse Ronson, who is an injury replacement for Mark Bocek.
Chances of being cut with loss: 95%. I highly suspect that Prazeres will be cut with a loss in this bout. Injury replacements who lose will always get a second fight if they do the UFC a favor, but if your second fight also ends in a loss, you’re on the chopping block. Prazeres has the chance to show his true abilities at a better weight class for him, but if he loses to someone who is also debuting on short notice, it may be two-and-done for Prazeres. He needs a win.
Alex Caceres (8-5 1 NC, 3-3 1 NC UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Roland Delorme
Why he’s on the list: Caceres is a fighter with a lot of charisma, and while many UFC fans may not remember much of season 12 of “The Ultimate Fighter”, he is one of four fighters left from that season on the UFC roster. He has fought seven times in the UFC, and he has had mixed results in those seven bouts. Caceres dropped his first two UFC bouts when he was submitted by Mackens Semerzier and Jimy Hettes, and while it was two stoppage losses, he was given a third fight. Caceres moved down to 135 pounds and won a decision over Cole Escovedo to score his first UFC win, but dropped back to the loss column when he lost a decision to Edwin Figueroa. That wasn’t without controversy, though, as Caceres was deducted two points which led to the loss. Despite being just 1-3 in the UFC, Caceres remained on the roster, and he has bounced back with three straight wins. However, he last win was nullified as his decision win over Kyung Ho Kang was overturned to a no contest after Caceres failed a drug test for marijuana. After serving a suspension, Caceres returns to the UFC and fights Canadian Roland Delorme on foreign territory as he looks to stay on the UFC roster.
Chances of being cut with loss: 50%. It’s a toss-up whether Caceres will be cut with a loss. There is a decent chance he could as it would drop his record under .500, and it would be a loss coming off a drug suspension. Caceres has put on some solid performances, and he has shown a lot of maturity in his last several bouts. If it weren’t for the controversial nature of his loss to Figueroa and the last win being overturned, he would be on a five-fight win streak. Win or lose, he should get another UFC fight, but he has a tough fight against Delorme.
Nandor Guelmino (11-4-1, 0-0 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Daniel Omielanczuk
Why he’s on the list: Guelmino is surprisingly getting a shot in the UFC as he makes his UFC debut in the opening bout of UFC 165. He was originally scheduled to debut last month at UFC Fight Night 27, but his opponent, Derrick Lewis, was injured and he was moved to meet the debuting Daniel Omielanczuk in this bout. After starting his career with just four wins in his first eight fights, Guelmino went on a seven-fight win streak in which he scored five wins by stoppage. That was enough to get him noticed for a fight on the final Strikeforce event against Josh Barnett. It was Guelmino’s debut in the United States, and it was a tough night for him as he was submitted by Barnett in the opening round. Despite not looking all that competitive against Barnett, Guelmino is moving over to the UFC for another fight, and he looks to show that it was just a tough match-up for him against Barnett.
Chances of being cut with loss: 100%. Guelmino didn’t show that he was ready for the tough competition that the UFC has to offer when he took on Barnett, and by taking a fight no one else would, it looks like the UFC owed him a favor, and that is why he’s getting a UFC fight. Omielanczuk has won eleven straight fights, and he has a lot of potential, and he should be getting the win in this bout. That will signal the end of the road for Guelmino.