MMA Hot Seat: 11 Fighters on the Hot Seat in the Month of December
One month comes as another one goes! After a newsworthy November, it's time to kick December into high gear.
The month has four UFC events, including the UFC 155 pay-per-view, which will host a heavyweight title bout between champion Junior dos Santos and top challenger Cain Velasquez.
While those men battle for the sport's top prize, there are several other fighters who are competing in hopes of staying on the UFC roster.
Here is a look at 11 fighters who are on the hot seat in the month of December.
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Fighting: Igor Pokrajac at UFC on FX 6
Why: Lost last three UFC bouts
Joey Beltran was once seen as a never-stopping warrior of the UFC heavyweight division. He won the first two fights that Joe Silva set up, but started to falter.
Since that time, "The Mexecutioner" has lost five of his last seven fights, which includes him being released from the UFC earlier this year, before being brought back as a light heavyweight.
This will be the second fight since rejoining the organization, but if he loses, it will be his fourth consecutive loss inside the Octagon.
Any TUF Cast Member
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Why: The show produces too many fighters
With two Ultimate Fighter finales in a 24-hour period, you can see why fans are starting to feel that the reality show has overstayed its welcome. It's truly hard to follow the career of 32 guys across two different versions of the show, and becomes overwhelming to the viewer.
Both TUF 16 and TUF: The Smashes feature talent from stacked divisions (lightweight and welterweight), and neither show has been full of the type of must-sign talent that we saw in seasons 1, 2, 5 and 14. Therefore, any fighter lucky enough to fight at a finale, needs to impress in a major way if they want a contract.
Scott Jorgensen and John Albert
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Fighting: Each other at UFC on FOX
Why: Both coming off of consecutive losses
John Albert might have a little more wiggle room in this situation that Scott Jorgensen. After all, Albert was awarded a win bonus following his most recent loss due to its controversial nature. His loss prior to that came in February against Ivan Mejivar, and was an early contender for fight of the year.
Scott Jorgensen is another exciting fighter to watch, but he has simply been unimpressive as of late. Losing three of his last five, including a recent knockout loss to Eddie Wineland, Jorgensen doesn't seem to be the same caliber of fighter that he was during his WEC stint.
Whoever loses this fight will likely go home with a pink slip, unless they put on an incredible fight.
Chris Leben and Karlos Vemola
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Fighting: Each other at UFC 155
Why: failed drug test and/or recent losses
To say that the career of Chris Leben has been a roller coaster would be extremely cliched, however, it would also be accurate. The man has more swings in momentum that a bi-polar shake weight.
That being said, Leben's most recent setback sees him with TKO losses in two of his last three bouts, as well as a second failed drug test. It's undoubtedly time for "The Crippler" to get his back off of the wall.
Vemola appears to be the fighter who keeps getting chances strictly due to his ability to cut weight. He debuted as a heavyweight, losing to Jon Madsen. Since then, he has gone 1-1 in the light heavyweight division and 1-1 in the middleweight division as well.
If he loses at UFC 155, his UFC record sits at 2-4, and the door will likely hit him on the way out.
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Fighting: Yves Edwards at UFC on FOX
Why: Consecutive losses plus legal troubles
Despite a desire to put on a show, UFC lightweight Jeremy Stephens cannot afford to lose his UFC on Fox fight against Yves Edwards.
The popular striking powerhouse has lost consecutive bouts against Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis, so a third loss would be crippling.
However, the biggest case against him is an assault charge from 2011. The combination of bad press and an inability to win is a hurdle that few have gotten over and kept their jobs.
Pat Barry and Shane Del Rosario
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Fighting: Each other at TUF 16: Finale
Why: too many losses
Heavyweight Pat Barry and Shane del Rosario are the type of heavyweights that fans want to see. In their combined 24 bouts, only one fight has ever reached the scorecards.
That being said, if you can't win fights in the UFC, you can't keep your job in the UFC.
Barry has lost three of his last four fights, starting with a thrilling bout with Cheick Kongo last June. If he falls short this time, he will be successful in only 20 percent of his most recent fights. Not exactly a statistic that any athlete to his name.
His opponent, Shane del Rosario, was an undefeated monster under the Strikeforce banner, before a car accident nearly ended his career. He made his UFC debut earlier this year, losing to Stipe Miocic on the main card of UFC 146.
A loss to Barry makes him 0-2 inside the Octagon, which doesn't always guarantee a release, but it's a good start.
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Fighting: Ross Pearson at UFC on FX 6
Why: Consecutive losses
Set back your calendar two years and you'll find lightweight George Sotiropoulos near the top of the pecking order. With seven consecutive wins, the Aussie was all but guaranteed a title shot if he were successful in one final bout.
Unfortunately, G-Sot was unable to work kickboxing Dennis Siver to the ground, and he dropped a decision to his German foe.
The momentum was gone, but Sotiropoulos was still a top contender. That is, until Rafael dos Anjos knocked him out in less time than it takes to make a Pop-Tart.
If Sotiropoulos loses to fellow TUF: Smashes coach Ross Pearson, it will make one of the worst falls from grace in UFC history.
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Fighting: Rousimar Palhares at UFC on FX 6
Why: Horrible first performance
When any fighter arrives in the UFC and puts on an embarrassing performance in their debut, it is rare that they are given a second chance. It's even less common for that person to be given a bout in the co-main event of a televised event.
Former Bellator champion Hector Lombard finds himself in those shoes after a disappointing loss to Tim Boetsch at UFC 149.
Dana White has always touted how much better UFC fighters are than those who compete elsewhere. If Lombard loses to an unranked middleweight like Palhares, you know that the UFC President won't hesitate to make an example of him.