UFC Fight Night 48 and 49: Who's on the Hot Seat?

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UFC Fight Night 48 and 49: Who's on the Hot Seat?
USA TODAY Sports

With two events coming up this weekend, competitors at all levels will be stepping into the Octagon.

Benson Henderson and Rafael dos Anjos are among the elite fighters doing battle this weekend, as the lightweight contenders will meet in the UFC Fight Night 49 main event. Meanwhile, UFC Fight Night 48 will be headlined by middleweights Michael Bisping and Cung Le.

None of the four featured fighters on Saturday are likely to be in danger of losing their spots on the UFC roster. However, multiple combatants could be struggling to keep their UFC careers going this weekend.

Here are the UFC Fight Night 48 and UFC Fight Night 49 competitors sitting on hot seats right now. 

 

Francis Carmont

It's beginning to look like UFC matchmakers are making an example out of Francis Carmont by continuously pairing him with wrestlers.

The Frenchman won his first six UFC bouts to become a contender in the 185-pound division. However, he was starting to fight very conservatively on the ground against fighters like Costas Philippou and Lorenz Larkin.

As a result, Carmont was tested by world-class grappler Ronaldo Souza and failed. Then, CB Dollaway gave Carmont a taste of his own medicine on the ground. Now, Thales Leites could very well be the third straight fighter to best Limitless on the canvas.

While it would be very rough to be cut following losses to three Top 15 middleweights, better fighters have been released for less. Carmont needs to win on Saturday to remove any doubt.

 

Chas Skelly

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In his UFC debut in April, Chas Skelly was beaten by Mirsad Bektic on the scorecards.

Despite his wrestling background, Skelly surrendered two takedowns in his first trip to the Octagon. Against Tom Niinimaki, who does his best work on the ground, Skelly will need to show improved defensive wrestling in order to avoid another loss.

With multiple wins over UFC veteran Daniel Pineda, Skelly does have the potential to compete at the highest level. However, should he fall to 0-2 inside the Octagon on Saturday, Skelly is probably going to have to return to smaller promotions.

 

Tony Martin

At 24 years old, Tony Martin could have a long UFC future ahead of him. That could depend on his performance this Saturday, though.

In February, Martin was defeated by Rashid Magomedov in his first Octagon showing. Although Martin threatened his opponent with an armbar in the first round of that matchup, he wasn't able to finish and faded in the later rounds.

With a win over Charlie Brenneman already, Beneil Dariush will be a tough second matchup for Martin. However, it's a bout Martin may still need to win in order to keep his UFC career going. 

 

Aaron Phillips and Matt Hobar

Both fighters made their UFC debuts in May. Now, Aaron Phillips and Matt Hobar will meet to determine which man will ensure he continues fighting with the world's top MMA promotion.

At UFC 173, Phillips was defeated by Sam Sicilia in a lopsided decision. Hobar, meanwhile, was stopped by Pedro Munoz in his opponent's home country of Brazil.

Respectively 25 and 27 years old, Phillips and Hobar both still have their best fighting years ahead of them. However, there's a good chance only one of them will be able to enter his prime while on the UFC bantamweight roster.

 

Wang Sai and Danny Mitchell

Like Phillips and Hobar, Wang Sai and Danny Mitchell both enter the weekend with 0-1 UFC records.

Sai was notably beaten by Zhang Lipeng via controversial decision in The Ultimate Fighter: China finals. Mitchell, meanwhile, was also defeated on the scorecards in his first trip to the Octagon against Igor Araujo.

Both 28 years old, Sai and Mitchell will still be decent prospects regardless of what happens on Saturday. However, the loser will likely have to earn his way back onto the UFC roster, while the winner develops on the biggest stage in MMA.

 

Roland Delorme

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At one point, Roland Delorme owned a 3-0 UFC record. He's quickly fallen to 3-2, though.

It's a loss that doesn't look so bad now, but Delorme's first official loss inside the Octagon came against Alex Caceres 11 months ago. Then, in June, Delorme suffered a disappointing loss to Michinori Tanaka. Now, Delorme will welcome a different Japanese bantamweight, Yuta Sasaki, to the big show.

The TUF 14 veteran has had a pleasantly surprising UFC run, but his time with the organization could come to an end should he fail to get his hand raised on Saturday.

 

Elizabeth Phillips

While Elizabeth Phillips took her first UFC opponent, Valerie Letourneau, to a split decision, she's still in a bad position heading into her second UFC outing.

The women's bantamweight division is becoming established enough that the UFC can release prospects in that class like it does in other divisions. That means regularly cutting newcomers when they begin their UFC careers with two straight losses.

Phillips would find herself in that position should she lose to Milana Dudieva on Saturday. Winning Fight of the Night as a preliminary card fighter is unlikely, so Phillips probably has to win this weekend to remain on the UFC roster.

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