UFC 179: Who's on the Hot Seat?

Sean SmithAnalyst IOctober 21, 2014

USA Today

At UFC 179, Jose Aldo will meet Chad Mendes in a rematch for the 145-pound championship.

In his initial meeting with the champion, Mendes was knocked out in the opening round. However, an Aldo cage grab prior to the knee that ended the fight was a point of controversy.

With five straight wins since then, Mendes has done everything he could to prove he's at least the second-best featherweight in the world. On Saturday, he'll get another chance to claim the UFC gold Aldo has held onto in six consecutive outings.

There aren't many fighters who will be competing for their UFC roster spots this weekend, but a few are in jeopardy. Here are the individuals sitting on hot seats heading into UFC 179 in Rio de Janeiro.

 

Naoyuki Kotani

After winning 13 consecutive bouts, Naoyuki Kotani made his return to the Octagon in July.

Given his success in smaller shows, it looked like Kotani might have the potential to make more noise than in his first stint with the big show, which saw him go 0-2 before heading back to Japan. However, Kotani was stopped by Norman Parke during the first round in his reentry to the UFC roster.

On Saturday, Kotani will meet Yan Cabral, who is 1-1 inside the Octagon. Should he lose again, Kotani could be looking at another two-and-out situation.

Moreover, with an 0-4 UFC record and being 32 years old, Kotani might not get another chance to compete on the biggest stage in MMA should he fail to get his hand raised this weekend. 

 

Fabricio Camoes and Tony Martin

Dec 27, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA;   Fabricio Camoes weighs-in for his UFC Lightweight Bout on December 28 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

Since beating Tommy Hayden in his UFC return, Fabricio Camoes has been matched up with some tough competition. Bouts with Jim Miller and Melvin Guillard have resulted in two straight losses for the Brazilian, putting him in a troubling position.

Those defeats hardly showed that Camoes doesn't belong inside the Octagon, as he was expected to lose against both opponents. However, Camoes is still in danger of losing three in a row, a slump that almost always results in a fighter being released from the UFC roster.

Meanwhile, Tony Martin has been struggling against less proven competition. Beaten by Rashid Magomedov and Beneil Dariush in his first two UFC outings, it's honestly a bit surprising to see Martin still hanging around.

Martin is getting another chance on Saturday, though. Should he lose again, it will have almost certainly been his last opportunity to pick up a win inside the Octagon.

 

Chad Mendes

While Mendes is in no danger of being released, he has a lot of pressure on him heading into his UFC 179 matchup with Aldo.

Having already lost to Aldo once, Mendes is almost in a must-win situation this weekend. With another loss to the Brazilian champion, Mendes would have an extremely hard time earning a third title shot as long as Aldo sits atop the featherweight class.

Seemingly best-suited to compete at 145 pounds, Mendes would have some tough decisions to make in that situation. So while a championship bout already gets the nerves going, Mendes might be feeling more stress than he otherwise would have heading into this rematch.