Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown are set to battle over a promised shot at Johny Hendricks and the welterweight championship. The 170-pounders will meet in the UFC on Fox 12 main attraction, and UFC President Dana White has said the winner will become the top contender in the welterweight division.
Yes winner of Lawler vs Brown gets the next shot at the title— Dana White (@danawhite) May 27, 2014
While the main event fighters still have long UFC careers ahead of them, some UFC on Fox 12 competitors aren't so lucky. Several fighters could be looking to simply retain their jobs with the world's top MMA promotion.
Here are the individuals sitting on the hot seat heading into Saturday's fight card in San Jose, California.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
With two straight wins, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira isn't in trouble due to lack of success. Instead, recurring injuries have his career in question heading into a big bout with Anthony Johnson.
Since December 2011, Nogueira has only made one trip to the Octagon. He defeated No. 3 light heavyweight Rashad Evans, but the Brazilian has not competed since that lackluster decision win over 17 months ago.
At 38 years old, Nogueira needs to keep winning and remain healthy. If he loses to Johnson on Saturday, the potential for further injury setbacks could be enough to cause Nogueira to decide to hang up his gloves.
Having lost three in a row and without a win since June 2011, it's a wonder Kyle Kingsbury is still around.
Nonetheless, Kingsbury was retained by the world's top MMA promotion. On Saturday, he'll get another shot inside the Octagon and will likely need a win over Patrick Cummins to keep his UFC career going.
Though Cummins is coming off a win, he's a beatable opponent for Kingsbury. Should Kingsbury lose to Durkin and fall to 0-4 in his past four appearances, it seems likely the UFC brass will cut ties with him.
Tim Means and Hernani Perpetuo
While Tim Means earned his way back to the Octagon with two knockouts under the Legacy FC banner, he's now back in a bad position. Means was prematurely cut following a second straight loss against Danny Castillo in May 2014, but a release following a potential loss on Saturday would be deserved.
In a similar position, Hernani Perpetuo lost in his recent debut and could be cut with a second straight loss. Although he's 0-1 inside the Octagon, Perpetuo gave Jordan Mein a run for his money in a split-decision loss.
Means has two UFC wins, while Perpetuo nearly defeated a very tough Mein. Both fighters are good enough to compete at this level, but space needs to be made for new prospects, so the loser is likely to return to smaller shows.
Mike De La Torre
At 27 years old, Mike De La Torre appears to have a solid future ahead of him. Whether that future will be in the Octagon could depend on El Cucuy's performance on Saturday.
In his first UFC outing, De La Torre took solid veteran Mark Bocek to a split decision. If that proves to be a good indication of his abilities, De La Torre should have a good shot at beating Brian Ortega, a UFC newcomer without a win over any UFC veterans.
With this being such a winnable matchup, De La Torre will likely need to beat Ortega this weekend to keep his UFC career going.
Steven Siler and Noad Lahat
With wins in five of his first six UFC bouts, Steven Siler looked like he could develop into a contender in the featherweight division. At 27 years old, he still might, but back-to-back losses against Dennis Bermudez and Rony Jason have Siler's UFC roster spot in jeopardy.
Starting his MMA career with a 7-0 record, Noad Lahat appeared to be a solid addition to the 145-pound division. However, Lahat's UFC career got off to a rough start with a knockout loss to Godofredo Pepey.
An American Kickboxing Academy product, Lahat is still a fighter worth paying attention to. Having defeated Mike Brown and Cole Miller, Siler has proved he can develop into more than a prospect in the featherweight division.
Despite their promising futures, Siler and Lahat very well could be battling for their UFC lives this weekend.
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