UFC on Fuel 8: Who's on the Hot Seat on Silva vs. Stann Card?
UFC on Fuel 8 comes to you from Japan on Saturday, and several fighters may be fighting for their jobs.
As the UFC begins to pare down its roster, everyone needs to be on edge entering the fight. Some fighters excel with their backs against the wall, but others crumble under the pressure.
Fighters will be encouraged to throw caution to the wind and be exciting instead of playing it safe and getting the win.
Here are the fighters who are on the hot seat entering UFC on Fuel 8 this Saturday.
Loser of Marcelo Guimaraes vs. Hyun Gyu Lim
Marcelo Guimaraes and Hyun Gyu Lim may be two welterweights with good records, but this is a stacked division.
As they try to find more fighters to cut, the divisions that are lined with talent have to have their attention first. If not, would Jon Fitch have been cut so easily? Questionable.
This is the opening fight on the card, and these fighters are not in high demand. That makes them easily expendable.
Whoever wants to remain on the roster has to win.
Kyung Ho Kang
Kyung Ho Kang makes his UFC debut on Saturday, but the fight could be his last if he is not victorious.
Kang is only on a three-fight win streak, and has an overall record of 11-6. Not that impressive.
Unless he performs above and beyond in an exciting bout, he could be on his way out. There would be next to no reason to keep him on the roster otherwise.
The bantamweight division could use more talent, but there are likely better options available if Kang cannot upend Alex Caceres. The UFC should be ready to cut their losses.
Loser of Cristiano Marcello vs. Kazuki Tokudome
The lightweight division has a treasure trove of talent, and the loser of this bout will almost assuredly be cut from the roster.
Marcello and Tokudome are easily expendable.
They are not household names. They are not extraordinary talents who are going to make a significant run in the division. The winner will only keep his job due to the win.
The lightweights need to perform over the top to stay in the good graces of UFC management.
Riki Fukuda is 2-2 and all four of his fights have went to a decision. That does not bode well for his future employment.
None of his bouts have been exceptionally exciting.
When he enters the cage against Brad Tavares, he will be meeting one of the young guns of the division that the UFC seems to be high on. If Tavares dispatches of Fukuda, it will likely be the last time we see him in the Octagon.
The UFC puts a premium on exciting fighters, and that should concern Fukuda.
Loser of Mizuto Hirota vs. Rani Yahya
Rani Yahya has been inconsistent. Mizuta Hirota enters with a loss. That is not a great sign for the loser of this bout.
The featherweight division has gotten significantly deeper in the past 12 months. Contenders are lined up, and more great fights are being scheduled all the time. Yahya and Hirota need a win just to remain relevant.
This main-card fight could put the winner in a position to challenge a top 10 fighter later this year with the logjam at the top of the division.
This is an interesting matchup with a lot on the line for both fighters. That's reason enough to pay attention to it when it airs on Fuel TV.
Yushin Okami is one of the very best at middleweight, but as Jon Fitch's release showed, that is not enough to keep you employed.
Okami is aging, and he has never been one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC. That is bad news for him against Hector Lombard; a loss could send him out of the organization for good.
One reason for Fitch's release was his price tag, and Okami has to be in the same category as a long-time contender.
This is a vital fight for Okami; he can mirror exactly why Fitch got released. That should serve as a wake-up call for him to go all-out in his fight against Lombard.
However, he needs to be mindful not to get careless against the powerhouse contender. Okami is the best fighter on the hot seat at UFC on Fuel 8.