UFC 152: Who Is on the Hot Seat?
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The "hot seat" is a term commonly used in other sports to describe a person's place on the team. For a starting player they could be in danger of losing their starting gig or a head coach may be close to getting fired.
Most of these situations are the result of years of frustration from fans. In the case of fighters in the UFC, the hot seat can heat up after just one fight. It's a predicament that many of the competitors on Saturday night's show may find themselves in if they don't have a good showing.
In the UFC you must provide production or you can quickly find yourself either on the prelims or even out of the company all together. Although some of these guys aren't likely to fall that hard if they lose, it is a real possibility for others.
Everyone from the main-event fighters to the preliminary competitors needs to bring it or they will start to feel the sweat from sitting in the hot seat.
Vinny Magalhaes is a name that's familiar with many MMA fans, but his name may also be familiar to casual "UFC-only" fans. Magalhaes was the finalist on The Ultimate Fighter 8 against Ryan Bader and was handed his walking papers after dropping a fight to Elliot Marshall.
That was all the way back in 2009, and since then Magalhaes has resurrected his career after joining M-1 Global. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu star managed to capture the M-1 Light Heavyweight title and defend it once before deciding to leave the promotion.
Magalhaes must have a strong showing against Igor Pokrajac at UFC 152 in order to assert himself in the upper tier of 205-pounders. It's not a "do or die" situation for Magalhaes as he will likely get another shot in the UFC even with a loss, but it may be put up or shut up time for the Brazilian.
Everyone knows how talented of a fighter Magalhaes is; now it's time to realize his potential and take that next step.
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UFC 152 has been completely overshadowed by the Jon Jones saga, but Michael Bisping has done his part to separate himself from the rest of the fighters. Bisping has been on a roll lately insulting everyone from Chris Weidman and Alan Belcher to his opponent Brian Stann.
Even the flyweights and Team Alpha Male haven't escaped "The Count's" view.
With such an intense array of verbal barrages, Bisping must walk the walk at UFC 152. He's basically talked Stann down to where anything less than a complete destruction of Stann could be viewed as a letdown.
It's great that Bisping has done his part to promote the initially weak UFC 152 lineup, but he will have been setting himself up for a huge fall if Stann finds his hand raised at the end of their contest.
The Flyweight Division
As if fighting for a world title wasn't enough pressure, Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson will carry the weight of an entire division Saturday night.
The flyweight division is still relatively new in the UFC and hasn't received the greatest exposure prior to UFC 152. While the featherweights and bantamweights were established weight classes thanks in part to the WEC, the 125-pound division is an unknown at this point.
You could honestly say that most people forgot there's even another title fight besides Jon Jones and Vitor Belfort.
It will be up to Benavidez and Johnson to remind people of how exciting the weight class can be. A good show will undoubtedly give the weight class the boost it needs to become a staple on UFC pay-per-views, and hopefully it would create another exciting division that would entice fighters to gravitate to the UFC.
A poor showing may prolong the slow crawl of the flyweights to relevancy.
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If you're a Jon Jones fan, then you may be among the minority on Saturday night for UFC 152. The UFC Light Heavyweight champion has become an outcast in the MMA community as a result of the UFC 151 cancellation.
Jones has attempted to clear his name in the weeks since, but it seems to be of no avail as fans have jumped on the anti-Jones bandwagon almost as fast as they punched their tickets on the hype train for Jones. The champion wasn't a likable figure to many MMA fans to begin with and will now certainly hear the boo birds when he walks to the Octagon.
Jones is on the hot seat because although he refused to fight Chael Sonnen, he agreed to fight Vitor Belfort—a move that left many MMA analysts scratching their heads in confusion. A strong showing by Jones is likely to help heal the hurt caused by UFC 151 to some degree, and the PPV buys will also help mend his relationship with Dana White.
A loss to Belfort however would be a huge set back at this point for Jones. He's handled every opponent with ease and is the heavy favourite to do just that against Belfort. Anything less will only add fuel to the fire for all of the Jones haters in the building and online.