UFC on Fox 9 goes down this Saturday from a place called the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif.
As it happens, California's capital city is also the capital of Team Alpha Male, Urijah Faber's epicenter for lighter-weight elites. Four alpha males are on the card, including Joseph Benavidez, who rematches Demetrious Johnson for the UFC flyweight title in the main event.
Given that they're approximately one million and five this year and unofficially hosting a UFC event, the Team Alpha Male roster would seem to be on solid footing with their employers. But others may not be so lucky. Who's on the hot seat in Sacramento? These are the three:
A hotly contested lightweight tilt with Roger Bowling back in August ended in a no-contest ruling when Trujillo crushed Bowling's head with an illegal, though unintentional, knee strike (thank the "downed opponent" rule for this one).
It rendered Trujillo winless in his last two, with his only UFC win coming over Marcus LeVesseur, who is no longer with the promotion. In a nutshell, the hard-hitting Blackzilian needs a legit win, post-haste.
Yes, indeed. Bowling-Trujillo is a loser-leaves-town affair. Including the no-contest, Bowling has no wins in his last three bouts since moving over to the UFC. The hard-brawling Bowling dropped his finale in the Strikeforce promotion to Tarec Saffiedine. As with Trujillo, he probably needs a convincing win to cool off his seat and cement his short-term octagon future.
If Joe Lauzon loses Saturday night, it would be his third consecutive defeat. Would he face release if he hit that dreaded milestone? Not a freaking chance. That's what being in the 2012 fight of the year and earning bonuses like it's a bodily function will do for you.
His opponent, Danzig, on the other hand, is not in quite as enviable a position. A defeat Saturday would be his third straight as well. And though he's an exciting and well-rounded fighter with a long UFC track record, Danzig also is four years Lauzon's senior and doesn't quite have the same gold-plated reputation for award-winning brawls.
A loss at UFC on Fox 9 would not only be Danzig's third straight loss but his fourth in his last five contests and eighth in his last 11. Methinks it would be time for a new promotional home for Danzig if he can't close the deal against Lauzon.