UFC 130: Who's on the Hot Seat?
It really doesn't seem like we have a UFC pay-per-view coming up in less than a week. The lack of a true main event has taken a lot of fans' interest away from this card.
No disrespect to Rampage Jackson, but anyone would have a difficult time trying to sell a main event when their opponent is Matt Hamill. The injuries suffered by UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar and his opponent Gray Maynard really sucked the life out of this event.
Frank Mir and to some extent Roy Nelson are two fighters that can help draw interest, but because they are fighting one another and there is nothing but mutual respect between the two men, the UFC doesn't have too much to hype this fight with.
So now that we have established the fact this card will sell very few pay-per-views, we can go over what fighters could possibly lose their job with a loss this Saturday night.
Alves is not on this list because he lacks talent or because he is on a losing slide that has seen him performing poorly. He is on this list because of the trouble he has had making the weight in the past.
UFC President Dana White insisted that Alves move up to the middleweight division after failing to make weight in what was to be a No. 1 contender's bout with Jon Fitch at UFC 117 last August.
It wasn't the first time Alves had trouble making the cut down to 170 lbs and White had grown tired of Alves making excuses. White wasn't the only one who thought that it was not only difficult, but dangerous for Alves to continue cutting more than 30 lbs each and everytime he fought.
"The Pitbull" begged and pleaded for one more shot and he certainly made the most of it when he not only made weight at UFC 124 against John Howard, he looked fantastic throughout the whole fight. Alves has given much of the credit to Mike Dolce and his Dolce Diet for helping him deal with the cut better.
I am not sure if Alves can survive missing weight once again, that is the lone reason he is on this list. White very rarely gives a fighter this many opportunities, but when you have the talent that Alves has, it's hard to cut him.
As long as Alves makes the 171 lb. limit against Rick Story, he will be safe for the time being even if he were to lose.
Ever since he won season 3 of The Ultimate Fighter in 2006 Grove has had an up and down career in the UFC. He has wins over Alan Belcher, Evan Tanner and Jake Rosholt, but has come up short when given opportunities against guys like Demian Maia, Mark Munoz and Ricardo Almeida.
Overall he is 7-5 in the UFC and alternated between wins and losses in his last six fights. If he were to lose to Tim Boetsch it would be his second loss in a row and this time it would come against a fighter who doesn't carry a pedigree anywhere near his past opponents.
He desperately needs a win here to keep his job and remain somewhat relevant in the UFC. There isn't a lot of room for inconsistent, run of the mill fighters who can't seem to win the big match when given the opportunity.
This bout will mark Boetsch's first crack as a middleweight after fighting as a light heavyweight his previous 16 fights. He is currently on his second tour with the UFC and during both runs has amassed a record of 3-3.
He was last seen being submitted by Phil Davis at UFC 123 and offered up very little resistance to the All-American wrestler. A loss here to Grove will be his second in a row and drop him below the .500 mark with the UFC.
For a fighter who offers very little in terms of excitement, charisma or an ability to help sell fights, he basically has to win here in order to keep his job. At 30-years-old, the drop to middleweight is a last attempt to hang on with the UFC for a little while longer.
This is a simple choice here for the returning Oliveira, win or get another pink slip from the UFC. This will be his second tour with the organization and after compiling a record of just 1-2, Oliveira was let go after losing to Andre Winner at UFC Fight Night: Florian vs. Gomi in March of 2010.
Since that time he has won four fights in a row for various organizations. It's a shame that he fights in the lightweight division because he can put on a good show, but with the division as crowded as it is, there just isn't any room for a fighter that doesn't show any consistency.
He not only draws a tough opponent in Gleison Tibau, but he also does so with less than a month to prepare. You never know, he could put on a fight of the night performance, still lose, but get rewarded with another fight. White does like to reward guys for taking bouts on short notice and putting on a good show.
Escovedo is a former WEC Featherweight Champion. In fact he defeated Philip Perez to become the first title holder in that weight class for the WEC. After losing three straight bouts in late 2006 to Urijah Faber, Jens Pulver and Antonio Banuelos, Escovedo was diagnosed with a severe staph infection that kept him out of action for almost three years.
He has since bounced around, fighting for Strikeforce, Dream and Tachi Palace Fights, but this bout with Renan Barao will be his first with any brand owned by Zuffa. His last bout with the WEC was in August of 2006 a few months before Zuffa purchased the organization.
Since coming back from semi-retirement Escovedo has gone 6-2 with his only losses coming against fellow UFC 130 competitor Michael McDonald and Michihiro Omigawa. I believe anything short of a win here and Escovedo will be bouncing around again.
He is known for putting on exciting fights and has finished an outstanding 16 of his 17 career victories. He has won 10 by submission and six by knockout, maybe he can make a name for himself and impress UFC officials this Saturday night. With a story like his, it's hard not to root for him.