Here we are again, approaching the chopping block, before the entrails of The Sandman’s UFC career could even be washed away—sorry Irvin, no time for a eulogy.
Our attentions are now focused on the summer’s, possibly the year’s, most highly anticipated card: UFC 117 in Oakland.
Christmas has come early for hardcore and casual fans alike; nothing complements the festive season of summer like a stacked fight card, from top to bottom.
Joe Silva has outdone himself this time around, putting together interesting fights from the opening prelim to the main event.
As he was standing above Mount Sinai, chiseling all 10 fights onto stone tablets, did Silva foresee any possible cuts from the roster after the dust, um…settles?
Maybe the possibility fails to enter his mind when he’s immaculately conceiving his brain children on paper.
Regardless, we’re here to cut his workload in half by offering up our nominations for which fighters will be seeing themselves walk the plank, nosedive off the edge, and land face first onto the chopping block. Of course, this all depends on a loss.
Like many cards, UFC 117 is void of any chopping block candidates on the main card.
But, after further review of the undercard, the usual setting for a rat race where some fighters find themselves in occupational limbo, there are a select few in Oakland with their backs against the wall.
The only way out is up—to climb the rungs out of the preliminary caste system and into the more secure main card—with a win.
Let’s take a look at the fighters who need to roll snake eyes out of the gate.
Who's most likely to get the axe?
Rodney Wallace, 33, (9-2) – two fight losing-streak
Wallace has failed to showcase anything more than his ability to lift weights and take a punch—a fact Jared Hamman can attest to—during his short UFC career.
The musclebound former Division II running back from South Carolina has yet to earn a “W” in the UFC, losing his debut to Brian Stann and most recently to Hamman at UFC 111.
The latter fight really exposed Wallace’s deficiencies as a mixed martial artist: the lack of a professional level of cardio and technique.
Both Hamman and Wallace spent three rounds gassed, swinging for the Little League fences in what should have won “Slugfest of the Night” instead of “Fight of the Night.”
Unfortunately for Wallace, his original opponent, Stanislav Nedkov, pulled out due to injury and was replaced by the broadest man in the UFC: undefeated Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis.
Wallace should be less concerned with Davis’ freaky frame and more concerned with the fact that he’s facing a young, talented up-and-comer who has enough potential to send him packing.
Dennis Hallman, 34, (41-13) – one fight losing-streak
Hallman is in the twilight of his notable journeyman career in mixed martial arts, fighting in and out of the UFC for nearly 10 years now.
He debuted in the UFC with flying colors, defeating Matt Hughes via armbar back in 2000, marking his second win over the decorated Hall of Famer.
Nearly a year later, he returned to fight for the lightweight title at UFC 33 against, then-champion, Jens Pulver.
Hallman lost a unanimous decision and continued his journey outside the UFC until returning three years later to lose to Frank Trigg at UFC 48. This pattern continued: Hallman would garner some wins outside the octagon, only to return and lose.
After Trigg, Hallman returned at UFC 55 and suffered a decision loss to Jorge Riviera. Nearly five years later, he got a shot at John Howard on the UFC: Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale.
Unfortunately for his already turbulent UFC career, Howard knocked out Hallman in the third round. Surprisingly, he was offered another fight, against Ben Saunders.
At 34, Hallman is more than likely on his last UFC lifeline if the fight with Saunders doesn’t go his way tonight.
Anderson Silva, 35, (26-4) – 12 fight win-streak
This humorous submission is for those of you that believe Dana White will actually stay true to his word and will cut his most successful champion on the roster if he fights Chael Sonnen like he did Demian Maia.
This is a very unlikely scenario for two reasons: Sonnen will bring an intense pace, forcing Silva to fight, and the champ should be highly motivated to make his challenger eat his words.
Luckily for Dana, he won’t have to make good on his promise, saving him from the hot seat.