UFC Fight Night 25: Who's On The Hot Seat
It's been while since I've written this column. For those of you who are unfamiliar with how this works, I'll explain it to you in very short and simple terms. I will go over the entire card and choose the fighters who I feel could lose their jobs should they lose tonight.
This is the first time I have done this for anything other than a standard UFC pay-per-view, but I figured I could use the practice. The event is full of young, inexperienced (As far as the UFC is concerned) fighters who are either receiving their first shot in the Octagon or at the very least their second opportunity.
Sometimes a fighter can lose, but when they lay it all out on the line, UFC President will given them another chance. He is willing to reward those who would rather put on an exciting fight rather than play it safe just to get a win.
So without further delay, let's take a look at "Who's on the Hot Seat."
Edwards was a contestant on season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter. He came in as an injury replacement and lost to the eventual winner Tony Ferguson via an upkick that knocked him unconscious.
He went on to lose by split decision to Clay Harvison at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale. He is currently 7-1 with five wins coming via submission and one by knockout. Four of his submission victims have lost via guillotine choke.
He is facing promotional newcomer Jorge Lopez. A member of The Wand Fight Team, Lopez is 11-1 and has won his past 10 fights. Having lost his UFC debut, it's imperative that Edwards get a win here or he could face the firing squad.
Lullo will be making his second trip to the Octagon tonight against Robert Peralta.
In his UFC debut, Lullo had his legs nearly kicked clean off by Brazilian Edson Barboza at UFC 123.
With an 8-3 record, the 32-year-old Lullo has to win tonight: If he suffers another loss he may never see another fight in the UFC again. He's far past the prospect stage of his career and will likely be one of the first fighters fired should he lose.
Waldburger is just 23-years-old and tonight's fight against Mike Stumpf will be the 20th of his career.
He has an overall record of 13-6 and 1-1 in the UFC. His last outing came against Johny Hendricks at UFC Fight Night: Noguiera vs. Davis back in March. Waldburger was stopped via TKO just 1:35 into round one.
Fighting in the stacked welterweight division offers him very little room for error and being he stumbled last time, I am not so sure he will survive a second loss in a row, especially to a guy making his UFC debut. That's not to say he doesn't have some potential.
Before coming to the UFC, Waldburger was the Shark Fights Welterweight Champion. He defeated Shannon Ritch for the title and then successfully defended it against Strikeforce veteran Pat Healy. He has also defeated Pete Spratt, David Mitchell (His UFC Debut) and Brian Foster.
If Waldburger goes balls to the wall and loses a close fight, I could see him getting another opportunity, but if he loses like he did last time or puts on a boring fight, it's possible you could see him on the next Shark Fights card.
A veteran of season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter, Baczynski is on his second go-around with the UFC.
He lost his one and only trip to the Octagon against Brad Tavares on the The Ultimate Fighter Finale 11. He was soon released and has had two fights since then.
He defeated UFC veteran Tim McKenzie via 1st round TKO at Tachi Palace Fights 7 in December of last year. He then traveled up the great white north and defeated Alex Garcia to become the interim Ringside welterweight Champion.
Two Fights, two stoppages was enough to earn another crack with the UFC.
This time he will be facing Clay Harvison who is 7-1 and defeated Justin Edwards at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale in his UFC debut. Baczynski got the call when DeMarques Johnson was forced out of his bout with Harvision due to an injury.
A win will keep Baczynski around a little while longer, but should he lose it's more than likely he'll be fighting in smaller organizations like Tachi Palace Fights and Ringside MMA.
Ken Stone isn't in a very good situation right now.
Stone made his Zuffa debut at WEC 53 and was picked up and slammed unconscious by Eddie Wineland. He then made his UFC debut at The Ultimate Fighter Finale 13 against former UFC Bantamweight number one contender Scott Jorgensen. It took four minutes for Jorgensen to knock Stone out in the first round.
He is scheduled to face Donny Walker tonight in what could be a loser goes home matchup. It's pretty cut and dry here, another loss for Stone and he will see be fighting for all of the Massachusetts organizations that he began his career in.
Walker is 31-years-old and coming off a unanimous decision loss in both his UFC and Bantamweight debuts against Jeff Hougland at UFC 132 in July. He has fought such fighters as Cub Swanson and Jeff Curran both of which he lost.
Like any other fighter who is just about past his prime, Walker doesn't offer the UFC a lot of upside. Unless he comes out and puts on a hell of a performance, he will be receiving the call that no fighter likes to get after losing a fight.
Here is another fighter who at 29-years-old whose best years are behind him, Rocha was unsuccessful in his UFC debut at UFC 131 to Donald Cerrone.
Rocha has fought for Bellator twice and was on the undercard of the Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum. He lost that night to Bret Bergmark via unanimous decision.
Rocha has a solid submission game as evidenced by his four victories by tapout, his overall record stands at 6-2. He faces the always tough Cody McKenzie tonight, so keeping his job will certainly not be an easy task.