UFC Fight Night 52: Who's on the Hot Seat?

Sean SmithAnalyst ISeptember 17, 2014

Yoshihiro Akiyama before his UFC middleweight mixed martial arts match against Chris Leben Saturday, July 3, 2010, at The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Eric Jamison/Associated Press

Headlined by a heavyweight clash between Mark Hunt and Roy Nelson, UFC Fight Night 52 should deliver some fireworks on Saturday.

In addition to the main attraction, the fight card also features an important lightweight bout between Myles Jury and former Pride FC champion Takanori Gomi.

While none of the fighters mentioned above have to worry about job security right now, some on the UFC Fight Night 52 card will. Here are the competitors sitting on the hot seat heading into Saturday's fights.

 

Yoshihiro Akiyama

One of the more popular fighters in the welterweight division, Akiyama has already been given more chances than most.

Sexyama has lost four in a row, and most are cut by the UFC following three consecutive defeats. While those losses came against strong competition, Akiyama can't afford to lose a fifth consecutive bout.

He's 39 years old, so a losing streak of that length could mean retirement. In order to keep fighting inside the Octagon—where he hasn't won since July 2009—Akiyama will need to shake off the rust, having been inactive for more than two years, and beat Amir Sadollah. 

 

Jon Delos Reyes

SINGAPORE - JANUARY 04:  Dustin Kimura (L) fights Jon Delos Reyes during their UFC Fight Night Singapore bantamweight bout at Marina Bay Sands on January 4, 2014 in Singapore.  (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)
Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

After being submitted by Dustin Kimura in his UFC debut, Jon Delos Reyes is in danger of falling to 0-2 inside the Octagon, a mark that traditionally results in fighters being released. 

However, Reyes' situation may be different from others. He stepped in as a replacement opponent against Kyoji Horiguchi, who hasn't lost since joining the UFC roster. It's a fight Reyes is widely expected to lose, so he may not be cut should he fall to Horiguchi on Saturday. 

As long as Reyes shows up, makes weight, passes his drug tests and shows some resistance against Horiguchi, his UFC roster spot should be safe for now. If he gives the UFC brass a reason to cut him, though, they will.

 

Takenori Sato

Feb 15, 2014; Jaragua do Sul, SC, Brazil; Erick Silva (red gloves) fights Takenori Sato (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night Machida vs Mousasi at Arena Jaragua. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

In February, Takenori Sato made his UFC debut opposite Erick Silva. It was a rough welcoming to the Octagon, as Sato was knocked out in the opening round.

Since he could fall to 0-2 inside the Octagon, Sato will likely be fighting for his UFC job this weekend. Unfortunately for the Japanese welterweight, Sato's competition hasn't gotten much easier, as he'll face Hyun Gyu Lim on the preliminary card.

Coming off a valiant effort against Top 10 welterweight Tarec Saffiedine, Lim will be the favorite heading into Saturday. However, Sato will simply have to find a way to win or put together a Fight of the Night performance in order to remain with the world's top MMA organization.

 

Kazuki Tokudome

Jul 6, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA;  Kazuki Tokudome during his Lightweight Bout against Norman Parke (not pictured) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Parke won.  Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

After beating Cristiano Marcello in his initial UFC outing, Kazuki Tokudome has been heading in the wrong direction.

While he was competitive in both matchups, Tokudome fell in decisions against Norman Parke and Yui Chul Nam. Now sitting on a two-bout losing streak, Tokudome will likely need to win at UFC Fight Night 52 in order to avoid losing a third in a row, which would almost guarantee his release from the UFC roster.

Facing UFC newcomer Johnny Case this weekend, Tokudome has drawn a winnable matchup. He'll need to deliver inside the Octagon to continue fighting with the best in the world, though.