UFC 138 Leben vs. Munoz: Who's on the Hot Seat?
You'd be hard-pressed to find another card that is as lackluster on paper as this one. The main event pitting Chris "The Crippler" Leben vs. Mark "The Filipino Wrecking Machine" Munoz in what will the be the first ever non-title bout scheduled for five rounds in UFC History.
Leben is very well known and popular, but Munoz is still an unknown quantity to the UFC. He has been on a nice toll since dropping down to the middleweight division in August of 2009, but this will be the first time he will ever be in the main event of any UFC card.
After those two the biggest name is former welterweight number one contender Thiago Alves who is looking to rebound from a disappointing loss to Rick Story at UFC 130. The bulk of the card is full of local British fighters and a few fighters on the fringe such as Anthony Perosh and Michihiro Omigawa. The UFC did the right thing by offering this card for free via tape delay because if UFC 138 was on pay-per-view it may not do 100k buys.
Let's get to the matter at hand. Which fighters are on the verge of being shown the door should they lose on Saturday night? Out of all the times I have written this article, this was the most difficult to get motivated for. Let's get on with it and go over the fate of these mixed martial artists.
Faaloto will be facing a returning Terry Etim who has been out of action since last April due to a rib injury. The last and only time Faaloto was seen inside the Octagon was against TUF 12 finalist Michael Johnson at UFC on Versus 4. He lasted just under a round before being stopped by TKO.
Before that he fought Anthony Njokuani at WEC 52 last November. This time he was stopped with six seconds left in the second round by TKO. He now carries a 2-2 record into Saturday night's fight with his two losses coming under the Zuffa banner.
It's safe to say that combined with his lack of experience and a potential 0-2 start to his UFC career, that a loss to Etim will send Faaloto back to Hawaii looking for answers and another job.
UFC fans were first introduced to Perosh at UFC 61 when he lost via first round TKO to Jeff Monson, soon afterwards he would face Christian Wellisch at UFC 66 where he lost via unanimous decision. It would be four more years before Perosh received another fight inside the Octagon.
At UFC 110 Perosh, who fought primarily as a light heavyweight accepted a bout against Heavyweight Mirko Cro Cop on short notice when Ben Rothwell was forced out of the fight with Cro Cop due to an illness.
Perosh may have lost the fight against Cro Cop, but he won the respect of UFC President Dana White and a four-fight contract because of the toughness he showed against the Croatian striker. After undergoing knee surgery that kept Perosh out until the following February, he finally won his first UFC bout against Tom Blackledge at UFC 127.
Saturday night he will face Cyrille Diabate in a light heavyweight bout that sees him in action for the first time in nine months. If Perosh wants to remain part of a crowded 205lb. division then he either must win or at the very least lay it all out on the line and put on a crowd pleasing performance.
While this may be his third fight since returning to the UFC, it will be his first outside of his home country of Australia. If the man they call the "Hippo" wants to be recognized in other countries then he will need to give the fans something to take home with them against Diabate.
Omigawa arrived in the UFC riding a five fight winning streak that included wins over Hatsu Hioki, Micah Miller, Hiroyuki Takaya and Cole Escovedo. Unfortunately for Omigawa he has fared just about as well as all of the other Japanese fighters who have made their way to the UFC.
He has lost his first two UFC bouts via unanimous decision to Chad Mendes and Darren Elkins. He is just two fights over the .500 mark with a 12-10-1 record and a loss here will not only be his third in a row, but will bring him within one fight of having as many wins as he does losses. The UFC usually looks at records like those with their nose in the air.
Sayanora Omigawa should you lose on Saturday night!!
Young lost his UFC debut against Dustin Poirier at UFC 131 via unanimous decision. Before that he fought once in Canada and 10 times in England for a variety of different organizations. At 8-4 and staring at an 0-2 record inside the Octagon, Young needs a win against Omigawa.
He may stand a chance and be kept in reserve for the UFC in UK cards with an exciting bout, but anything other than a barn burner will more than likely send him back across the pond for good where he can return to Cage Rage and possibly BAMMA.
Broughton is a big tough heavyweight who hails from St. Helens, England. He debut for the organization was impressive when he defeated Vinicius Queiroz in the third round with a rear naked choke. Shortly after the fight, Queiroz tested positive for steroids making Broughton's win that much more impressive.
At UFC 135 in the thin air in Denver, Colorado the UFC decided to match Broughton up with Travis Browne. The two men battled fatigue while putting the crowd to sleep. Browne was awarded the victory via unanimous decision.
Now Broughton will make a fairly quick turnaround as he replaces Oli Thompson against the undefeated Philip De Fries who himself is making his UFC debut. After looking awful against Browne, it would be ill-advised for Broughton to repeat the same mistakes he did against Browne if he would like to keep his spot on the roster.
It's difficult to keep a job with the UFC when you have lost two fights in a row, especially when you are a fighter who can be replaced rather easily. It won't be easy for "The Bear" as De Fries is 7-0-1 with all seven wins coming by way of submission, six of them in the first round.
Cariaso will be fighting for the third time in the UFC when he faces relative unknown Vaughan Lee on Saturday night. He defeated Will Campuzano in January at the UFC: Fight for the Troops 2 special. He would then lose via split decision to Michael McDonald at UFC 130.
Before the UFC brought in the Bantamweight & Featherweight fighters from the WEC, Cariaso was 1-1 defeating Rafael Rebello at WEC 49 then losing to Renan Barao at WEC 53. With a 2-2 record while fighting for Zuffa, Cariaso is looking at a second straight loss and carrying a 1-2 record inside the Octagon.
His opponent is 11-6 while fighting in the UK and Scotland, so it is very important that Cariaso utilize the experience he has garnered while fighting for the UFC and WEC. Another loss will put his spot on the roster in serious jeopardy.