At UFC Fight Night 40, welterweight contenders Matt Brown and Erick Silva will look to inch closer to a shot at the 170-pound championship.
With six straight wins, Brown might be the hottest welterweight going. He's still looking for a win over a Top 10 welterweight, and he's not going to get one against No. 14 Silva, but The Immortal has successfully established himself as one of the elite 170-pound fighters competing inside the Octagon.
Only one fight removed from a knockout loss to Dong Hyun Kim, Silva seems fortunate to be matched up with Brown right now. Since the loss to Kim, Silva has only beaten UFC newcomer Takenori Sato.
While neither Brown nor Silva are in any danger of losing their jobs Saturday, several UFC Fight Night 40 competitors will be battling to maintain their spots on the UFC roster. Here are the fighters sitting on the hot seat heading into the weekend.
With his win over Tim Boetsch in December 2012, Costas Philippou emerged as a contender in the middleweight division. Since then, the Cyrpus-born fighter hasn't been able to find success on any level.
Philippou was outwrestled by Francis Carmont at UFC 165 and was quickly stopped by a body kick in his January bout with Luke Rockhold. Having lost all his momentum, Philippou will need to impress Saturday, when he will meet Lorenz Larkin.
Larkin being a fringe contender, Philippou might be able to hold onto a UFC roster position with a third straight loss this weekend. However, that's not a position he wants to put himself in.
Given a rough introduction to the UFC flyweight division, Darrell Montague suffered a knockout loss to John Dodson at UFC 166.
Montague has the potential to become a title contender at 125 pounds. However, now that he owns a 0-1 UFC record, he'll have to prove it in a hurry. Starting 0-2 inside the Octagon is usually a good way to get bounced from the UFC roster.
Although Kyoji Horiguchi is unbeaten inside the Octagon, he's a beatable opponent for Montague. If Mongoose fails to beat the Japanese flyweight Saturday and looks bad in defeat, his UFC career could be cut shorter than expected.
Justin Salas and Ben Wall
Who will win?
In his first official UFC outing, Ben Wall was steamrolled by Alex Garcia. At 24 years old, Manimal has time to make needed improvements, but he can't afford another showing like the one he had in his first trip to the Octagon.
Should he be ineffectual against Justin Salas, Wall may have to do his developing with smaller organizations.
Only one fight removed from a win over Aaron Riley, Salas isn't in danger of losing three in a row, which is what it usually takes for a UFC veteran to get released. However, this particular matchup with Wall is one Salas might need to win.
Had his split decision with Riley gone the other way, Salas would be on a three-bout skid. Being the first to lose to Wall and arguably being beaten in four consecutive bouts would put Salas in a very bad position.
Anthony Lapsley and Albert Tumenov
Who will win?
In their UFC debuts, Anthony Lapsley and Albert Tumenov both came up short in decisions.
Lapsley was outwrestled by Strikeforce veteran Jason High, who grounded The Recipe four times in three rounds. Tumenov, meanwhile, also had issues defending takedowns against solid grappler Ildemar Alcantara.
Aside from bigger draws, most UFC newcomers are given two chances to pick up a win inside the Octagon these days. From the looks of it, Lapsley and Tumenov find themselves in a loser-leaves-town matchup Saturday.