UFC

UFC Fight Night 34: Who's on the Hot Seat?

Aug 16, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Max Holloway poses during the weigh-in for his UFC fight at TD Garden tomorrow night. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Sean SmithAnalyst IJanuary 3, 2014

The UFC has filled UFC Fight Night 34 with prospects and promotional newcomers, but that doesn't mean the event will be free from fighters battling for roster spots.

Featured fighters like Tarec Saffiedine, Hyun Gyu Lim and Tatsuya Kawajiri will be eyeing title contention on Saturday. However, some other competitors will simply be looking to keep their UFC careers going this weekend in Singapore.

Here are the fighters sitting on hot seats heading into the UFC's opening 2014 fight card.

 

Luiz Dutra

Having only lost to Paulo Thiago since October 2004, Luiz Dutra is probably safer than any other fighter named below. Still, as a debuting The Ultimate Fighter alumnus, Dutra will need to perform well to prove he belongs inside the Octagon.

On TUF: Brazil 2, Dutra defeated Pedro Irie to earn a spot in the quarterfinals. Unfortunately, an injured hand forced Dutra out of the competition and has forced him to earn a stable UFC contract by other means.

Beating Kiichi Kunimoto on Saturday would go a long way toward Dutra gaining job security. Losing to Kunimoto, though, could bounce the Brazilian back into regional competition.

 

Max Holloway

Following three consecutive UFC wins, highly touted featherweight prospect Max Holloway ran into a couple 145-pound killers in Dennis Bermudez and Conor McGregor. Now, looking at two straight losses, Holloway is in danger of having his UFC run cut much shorter than expected.

After pitting Holloway against two Top 15 featherweights, UFC matchmakers lightened up on the 22-year-old, who will meet UFC newcomer Will Chope on Saturday.

While the matchup provides Holloway a great opportunity to return to the win column, it's also one he can't afford to lose this weekend. A third straight loss, especially with it coming against a UFC newcomer, could force Holloway to gain some more experience outside the Octagon. 

 

Kyung Ho Kang

Aug 31, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA;  Chico Camus (bottom) fights Kyung Ho Kang during the UFC-164 bout at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

More than any other fighter listed, Kyung Ho Kang must win at UFC Fight Night 34.

Had Alex Caceres not failed his drug test at UFC on Fuel TV 8, Kang would be 0-2 inside the Octagon. Three UFC appearances without a victory would almost guarantee Kang's release from the UFC roster.

Kang does have a winnable matchup on Saturday. The Korean will welcome Shunichi Shimizu to the Octagon. 

 

Quinn Mulhern

May 19, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; Quinn Mulhern fights Yuri Villefort (not pictured) during the welterweight bout of the Strikeforce World Grand Prix at HP Pavilion.  Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Strikeforce veteran Quinn Mulhern was rudely welcomed to the Octagon by Rick Story, who battered and finished the 29-year-old in three minutes. 

At UFC Fight Night 34, Mulhern will make the move to 155 pounds and hope to turn things around against Katsunori Kikuno. While Kikuno is a UFC newcomer, he's highly experienced and has won five in a row heading into his UFC debut on Saturday.

Losses to Story and Kikuno wouldn't be the worst start to a UFC career, but that likely wouldn't save Mulhern from being axed.

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