UFC 153 Fight Card: Jon Fitch and 8 Fighters Who Desperately Need a Win
No one can really afford to lose during a UFC fight card.
From the prelim fighters getting their first shot in the promotion to the main carders struggling to stay relevant, everyone has something on the line when they step into the Octagon.
But this Saturday, nine men in particular have a lot more to lose than everyone else.
Some of them will fall out of a title hunt. Others could lose their jobs. Several can propel themselves into title contention, and one of those men is facing the hardest test of his career.
So, who has the most to lose in Rio de Janeiro this weekend?
Here's a look at the fighters who must win at all costs during UFC 153—and what happens if they fail.
No. 9: Phil Davis
Remember when MMA fans looked at Phil Davis as one of the only light heavyweights who could challenge Jon Jones?
Well those days are long gone.
All it took was a one-sided beat-down at the hands of Rashad Evans, and we didn't see much in his disappointing "no contest" against Wagner Prado.
What was supposed to be a build-up fight for "Mr. Wonderful" has suddenly turned into a must-win situation. Even the sports books don't have him as such a huge favorite anymore.
If Phil Davis loses, he'll never be mentioned in the same breath as Jones again.
No. 8: Luiz Cane
Luiz Cane is 1-3 in his last four fights, and has likely stayed on just to provide the UFC with another Brazilian face for this upcoming card.
His last loss was a heartbreaker for his hometown crowd too, as he seemed to just wilt away against undefeated Bulgarian slugger Stanislav Nedkov.
If he loses to the once-released Chris Camozzi, it could look even worse to his countrymen.
When the last person you've defeated in almost three years is Eliot Marshall, you'd better start winning in a hurry.
No. 7: Fabio Maldonado
Practically no one expects Fabio Maldonado to defeat Glover Teixeira this weekend.
One doesn't have to look very far into his UFC history to see that the Team Nogueria member is essentially being offered up as a sacrificial lamb, most likely with the hopes of giving Teixeira his second highlight reel clip.
His two-fighting losing streak aside, poor Maldonado is essentially fighting for his job against an opponent who's expected to blow him out of the water.
No. 6: Rick Story
After losing to both Charlie Brenneman and Martin Kampmann, Rick Story is clinging to the title picture by the edge of his fingertips.
Two years can make all the difference in the world amongst UFC welterweights, as "The Horror" has gone from a 6-0 winning streak to a pedestrian 1-2 in his last three fights.
At the very least, Story still has some heat from being the only man to defeat title contender Johny Hendricks.
Although a loss against former middleweight Demian Maia won't spell the end of his UFC career, it'll firmly take Story out of the mix.
No. 5: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira has never lost back-to-back fights in his entire MMA career.
Against all odds—age, injuries and years of hard training—it seems that "Big Nog" always has something extra up his sleeve whenever his back is against the wall. Against Dave Herman, he'll need some of that "old man strength" once again.
At a glance, Herman is horrible style match-up for the PRIDE legend, but both men are roughly the same height with the exact same reach. It's a winnable fight, as long as Nogueira can keep up with his younger, faster opponent.
To this date, the heavier Nogueira brother has never lost to anyone but champions. But if Big Nog loses to Dave Herman, it'll be another sour note for his career; especially after the debilitating broken arm he suffered against a half-concious Frank Mir.
No. 4: Dave Herman
Could Dave Herman be fighting for his job this Saturday?
Maybe, but most likely not.
It just so happens that "Pee-Wee" is lucky enough to be competing in the UFC's most talent-starved division, and even a three-fight losing steak probably won't be enough to cut him from the roster.
Then again, that dreaded phone call from UFC matchmaker Joe Silva is never that far away when you lose three fights in a row. Isn't it better to save yourself the worry?
There's no shame in losing to an all-time legend like Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira—but if Herman ever wants to start climbing to a title shot, he can't lose here.
No. 3: Jon Fitch
It must be maddening to be Jon Fitch.
After five wins and two years trimming down the list of contenders to Georges St. Pierre's title belt, he's now riding a 1-1-1 record in his last three fights—coming off a lopsided loss to previously unheralded Johny Hendricks. All that work, just to be set back so far.
But Fitch can get right back on track if he beats Erick Silva, one of the welterweight division's brightest stars in years.
Silva hasn't legitimately lost a fight since 2006, and the young gun is looking at title contention if he beats Fitch.
Even with all the setbacks since his draw with B.J. Penn, Fitch can start his climb again if he wins here—but if he loses, he falls right back down to the bottom of the mountain and might never come back.
No. 2: Erick Silva
How far will the Erick Silva hype train run?
We'll find out when the young Brazilian faces Jon Fitch—his toughest test in 18 fights.
Even with a temporary setback in a controversial "DQ" loss against Carlo Prater, many MMA fans and pundits still credit Silva as a future title contender.
But losing to Fitch will undo all of that.
It's honestly surprising that the UFC would risk pitting Silva against such a dangerous wrestling ace, but that's the nature of the welterweight division. In 2012, there are no easy fights.
Silva can be a champion within one or two years.
All it's going to take is beating a man who's made his name by derailing elite talent.
No. 1: Anderson Silva
Greatest mixed martial artist alive.
Most dominant UFC champion ever.
Longest winning streak in UFC history.
All those accolades can go away if Anderson Silva loses to Stephan Bonnar.
In one of the most unlikely main events in the modern MMA era, the world's top pound-for-pound fighter is bulking up to fight a middling light heavyweight that's never been knocked out and never been submitted. Bonnar's a historical underdog, but he's not an easy win.
Anderson Silva needs this victory at UFC 153 more than anyone else. It's arguable that "The Spider" needs this win more than any UFC fighter has ever needed a win before.
Silva's not expected to break a sweat against Bonnar.
But if he loses, no one will know what to expect of him anymore.