UFC on Fuel 6: Thiago Silva and 10 Fighters Who Are in Desperate Need of a Win
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When Zuffa makes their way into Macau for Saturday's UFC on Fuel event, it will be the first time that the Octagon has been set up in China. Although it is a night of UFC firsts, for some fighters, it could represent their final appearance in the organization.
One name who comes to mind is Blackzilian member Thiago Silva, who will step into the Octagon for the10th time in his five-year tenure. After a falsified urine test morphed a UFC 125 victory into a no contest, Silva's record is winless since 2009 and has only seen his hand raised once in his past five appearances.
Silva is hardly the only member of the UFC roster who cannot afford to come up short once again. In the ultra-competitive landscape of modern MMA, even big-named fighters are coming up short more frequently than you'd expect.
Here is a look at 10 UFC fighters who are in desperate need of a win.
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Thiago Silva was once considered to be a hot commodity in the UFC's ever-growing light heavyweight division. At the end of 2008, he had accumulated a professional record of 13-0 with four wins coming in the UFC, all by way of stoppage.
Running into the buzzsaw that is Lyoto Machida, Silva saw his undefeated streak fall to the wayside at UFC 94, but he rebounded with a stellar knockout of Keith Jardine at UFC 102.
Today, Silva stands winless in his past three, having lost decisions to Rashad Evans and Alexander Gustafsson, as well as the aforementioned No Contest against Brandon Vera.
On Saturday, Silva fights for his job against undefeated slugger Stanislav Nedkov on the main card. If unsuccessful against the powerful Bulgarian, it's easy to suggest that Silva's time in the UFC has officially run out.
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No offense to Jason Reinhardt, but his 20-3 record is the most padded thing this side of a seventh grader's bra.
Why waste my time talking about a professional fighter who gave his own mother crabs? Because that is the only fighter who Tiequan Zhang has been able to defeat since his final fight in the WEC.
Zhang displayed an inept ground game at UFC 136 that was downright shameful for a fighter who has 12 submission victories to his credit. Unless he is fortunate enough to snatch up a signature guillotine choke, "The Mongolian Wolf" is left howling at the moon.
1-3 in his most recent fights, it is likely that Zhang has kept his position on the roster in hopes of putting a hometown star on the UFC's inaugural trip to China. If he loses to promotional newcomer Jon Tuck, don't expect Joe Silva to cry wolf anytime soon.
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By the time that Shane Carwin steps into the cage to fight Ultimate Fighter coach Roy Nelson in December, it will have been 32 months since his last victory. Between the losses to Brock Lesnar and Junior dos Santos, "The Engineer" has been plagued with injuries that required surgery to get him back to speed.
It's not that Carwin is unlikely to defeat Roy Nelson. In fact, I think that he has an excellent chance of knocking out the iron-chinned warrior. However, this is a fight that Shane cannot afford to lose.
At the age of 37 (38 in January), a loss to Nelson would be the third straight for a man who hopes to one day become a champion. Father Time is the biggest enemy of Carwin's aspirations, but with only a few years left on his clock, it's doubtful that he can reverse the negative momentum associated with a trio of losses.
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At the start of 2012, Frankie Edgar did not have a single unavenged loss on his professional record. If he is unsuccessful in his next bout, he will have three.
There is no question that Edgar has what it takes to compete with any man in his weight class(es). Victories over BJ Penn, Sean Sherk and Gray Maynard have established that fact. What kind of questions will be asked about the former champion if he comes up short once again?
While losing to the likes of Benson Henderson and Jose Aldo are hardly failures worthy of mockery and disdain, the legacy of "The Answer" will have a hard time bouncing back from a trilogy of championship failures.
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Remember the days when KID Yamamoto was one of the most feared names in mixed martial arts? If you've only been watching since 2008, you probably don't.
Once holding a record of 17-1 (1), with the loss coming by way of TKO due to a cut, Yamamoto was expected to be the dream fight for longtime WEC champion Urijah Faber.
Tbe Beast from the East meets the Best from the West.
Unfortunately, prior to his signing by the UFC, Yamamoto was derailed by Joe Warren and Masanori Kanehara and dropped from his perception as being an elite fighter.
Since joining the UFC, KID has been treated to an unfortunate diet of grapplers and has been unsuccessful in each of his three fights with the organization.
If Yamamoto doesn't win his next fight, not only does he lose his job, but he also loses any chance of saving his legacy.
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Japanese star Yoshihiro Akiyama has proven to be one of the biggest duds in UFC history. Despite coming in with huge expectations, the three-time Fight of the Night winner has put together a miserable 1-4 record with the organization, winning only his promotional debut.
While some exciting performances have allowed him a longer shelf life than the average UFC burnout, no one has ever seen their contract survive five consecutive losses inside the Octagon.
Akiyama was scheduled to face Thiago Alves in July, but the fight was called off when both men developed injuries. When he finally makes his return, fans of "Sexyama" should keep their fingers crossed in hopes of ending this skid.
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Coming into season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter with an undefeated record, many felt that submission specialist Cody McKenzie was going to win the whole show. Instead, he was knocked out by Nam Phan in the quarterfinals.
Although he won a bout at the finale after losing bouts to Vagner Rocha and Yves Edwards, it was surprising that the UFC brought back the Master of the McKenzietine for a fourth trip.
Since that time, McKenzie locked in his namesake submission on Marcus LeVesseur and was then finished by a body punch at the hands of Chad Mendes.
For those of you keeping score, McKenzie is a TUF fighter who didn't reach the finals and currently holds a 2-3 record inside the Octagon. To currently be on the roster is a blessing, but you'd better believe that he knows his job is on the line at UFC 155.
That fight is essentially a loser leaves town fight, as opponent Leonard Garcia has lost four of his last five bouts and won only two of his last eight. I didn't give Garcia a slide in this article, but you'd better believe that he belongs here.
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Matthew Riddle is one of few modern era fighters who has spent every fighting minute of his professional career within the warm embrace of a UFC contract.
At the age of 22, Riddle made his UFC debut after turning heads on The Ultimate Fighter. Since competing on the reality program, the Throwdown fighter has gone 6-3 (1) inside the Octagon, although his wins have come mostly against non-notables and promotional newcomers.
In July, Riddle earned the first submission win of his career, which was deemed impressive enough to award Submission of the Night honors. Unfortunately, that win has since been revoked, as Riddle tested positive for marijuana metabolites in his post-fight urinalysis.
Although the youngster went to Twitter to show off his license to use the drug for medical purposes, that doesn't change the fact that marijuana is a banned substance in MMA. If anyone can figure out why, please let me know.
Since the win was stripped from his record, that means "Deep Waters" has only one win in his last four contests and just as many failed drug tests in the same time frame.
With the growing epidemic of drug failures under the Zuffa umbrella, it might be time that the UFC makes an example out of someone to prove that they are taking drug failures seriously. Matt Riddle is about as expendable as they come.
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The UFC can be described as the land where the most dangerous boys play, and the underachievers are quickly weeded out. For any fighter to accumulate seven consecutive wins within the confines of the Octagon is absolutely incredible. For that list to include respected names like Joe Stevenson, Joe Lauzon and Kurt Pellegrino makes it all the more impressive.
In his first seven appearances in the UFC, George Sotiropoulos looked to be untouchable. Five of his victories came by way of stoppage, including a submission of jiu-jitsu ace Joe Lauzon.
Unfortunately, the takedown defense of kickboxer Dennis Siver brought all of that momentum to a screeching halt. Unable to work his German opponent to the ground, G-Sot was forced to play another man's game for the first time since joining the company. It was a game he lost.
After losing to Siver, Sotiropoulos was upset by Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 132. Knockout by a wild, looping hook, it was the first time the Aussie stud was finished.
Currently, George is coaching the U.K. vs Australia season of The Ultimate Fighter opposite Ross Pearson. If the lightweight star comes up short against his opponent, that makes three straight losses and a complete drop out of contendership.
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Before anyone screams "B.J. Penn is a legend," please understand that I acknowledge everything that he has done for this sport. Unfortunately, the dual-division champion has not had much luck in recent years.
In 2009, Penn dominated top contender Diego Sanchez to defend his UFC lightweight championship. The bout was so one-sided that Penn was proclaimed to be unbeatable at lightweight.
Since that time, Penn has won only one of his five bouts. Clearly dejected, Penn referenced retirement after a draw against Jon Fitch and officially hung up his gloves in his post-fight interview at UFC 137.
Spending a year on the sidelines, Penn would reject challenges of fighters who were looking to get him off of the bench. That is, until a challenge came from Tri-Star member Rory MacDonald.
This is a win that Penn needs in a desperate way. If his career ends with only one win in his final six contests, his legacy will be irreparable. Considering that his achievements are bigger than most who will even step foot into a cage, that is a true crime against the sport.
MacDonald is a big favorite in this fight, and rightfully so. However, Penn has been one to defy the odds a time or two.