Luiz "Banha" Cane will have woke up to start a new week this morning feeling very deflated and pessimistic about his future in the top MMA promotion in the world.
His defeat at UFC 114 to Cyrille Diabate will have been a hard pill to swallow for the Brazilian who is now on a two-fight losing streak inside the Octagon. However, to truly appreciate how Cane must be feeling, we need to go back a few months to asses how far his stock has fallen.
In April of 2009 at UFC 97 Cane defeated Brian Cantwell via decision to earn his third straight UFC victory.
After that win many commentators of MMA, including myself, considered him amongst the top-10 in the light heavyweight division. He seemed to have the world at his feet at that point in his career and was effectively undefeated with two no contests and a DQ loss on his record of 10-1 (1).
For some people he was entering the P4P debate and most definitely the contender discussion to then-champion Rashad Evan's crown.
Fast forward to present day and Cane has dropped his last two fights, both by getting KO'd in devastating fashion. In the space of seven months he has gone from title contender to being in danger of getting the pink slip from the UFC management.
The obvious question of course is—what happened?
Well there is no quick answer to that question and only Luiz Cane will know 100 percent, but it is certainly worth taking a closer look.
Without wanting to find excuses for Cane's dramatic downfall, his first loss can be explained to some extent.
Antonio Rogerio Noguiera was not a household name to many people when he stepped into face Cane at UFC 106 and inexplicably many thought Cane was the favorite. Educated fans will have known the threat that Little Nog carried and his realistic ranking as a top-five light heavyweight in the world at the time.
The KO was a shock, but losing to Little Nog should not have been a surprising result for Cane fans. On closer inspection of Cane's record it was in all likelihood too big of a step up in competition for "Banha".
Putting his loss at UFC 106 aside as an unexpected but explainable loss brings us to this weekends action in Las Vegas at UFC 114.
Cane was KO'd again by a come from behind win by Diabate. Cane landed a big shot early in the fight and should have won the fight there and then but for Diabate's resilience and ground skills. Once the fight returned to the feet a few exchanges were landed before Diabate tagged Cane and ended the fight with a few more follow-up punches on the mat.
Cyrille Diabate should not be underestimated though.
He was entering the UFC on a five-fight win streak and is an experienced MMA fighter having fought all over the world. For me, the biggest issues to surface from this second loss will be Cane's chin after getting KO'd in back-to-back fights and his inability to seize the moment and finish Diabate when he had the chance.
Cane is still young though and being at American Top Team will certainly give him every opportunity to climb back up the ladder in the light heavyweight division.
So it is fair to say that on reflection, Cane's two losses are not as bad as they appear on paper, but it should and I am sure it will be of great concern to Luiz Cane, his team and the UFC.
For now Luiz Cane's stock is at an all-time low. For his sake, and for fight fans, he needs his stock to rebound—and pretty quickly.
What are your thoughts on Luiz Cane?