UFC Fight Night 53 & 54: Who's on the Hot Seat?

Sean SmithAnalyst IOctober 1, 2014

Dennis Siver in action against Nam Phan during a mixed martial arts bout at a UFC on FOX event in Seattle, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012. Siver won via 3-round unanimous decision. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
Gregory Payan/Associated Press

The UFC is approaching another multi-event weekend, as UFC Fight Night 53 and UFC Fight Night 54 will be held in Sweden and Canada, respectively, on Saturday.

At UFC Fight Night 53, Gunnar Nelson will look to keep his momentum going in a matchup with a UFC veteran. Undefeated in four UFC appearances, Nelson has looked unstoppable on the ground, but Story will be the Iceland native's biggest test inside the Octagon.

Later on, Rory MacDonald and Tarec Saffiedine will attempt to make their cases for a title shot in the UFC Fight Night 54 main attraction. MacDonald has recorded two big wins in a row, while former Strikeforce champion Saffiedine has not lost since January 2011.

While the above-mentioned fighters have very bright futures ahead, some competitors stepping into the cage this weekend could be battling for their UFC careers. Here are the fighters sitting on hot seats heading into Saturday's bouts.

Alexander Yakovlev

In May, Alexander Yakovlev was handed a brutal UFC debut matchup against Demian Maia.

As expected, Yakovlev was defeated by the former middleweight title challenger. However, he did show some promise by going the distance with Maia.

On Saturday, Yakovlev will have to prove he can perform against more reasonable opposition. However, he'll have to do so in hostile territory, as Swedish welterweight Nico Musoke will look to hand Yakovlev his second UFC loss in Stockholm. 

Despite being dealt a rough hand, Yakovlev will still probably need a win in one of his first two UFC bouts in order to stick around with the promotion. 

Dennis Siver

The move to 145 pounds looked to be a smart decision early on, as Dennis Siver defeated Diego Nunes and Nam Phan in his first two fights in the featherweight division. However, things haven't gone as well for the German since then.

Siver was knocked out by Cub Swanson, delaying any hope that he would fight for a championship soon. Then, Siver failed a drug test following what would have been a win over Manny Gamburyan.

Clearly, with a bout against UFC newcomer Charles Rosa, Siver is in the dog house with UFC brass. Should he fail another drug test, miss weight or lose in uneventful fashion, the 35-year-old could see his long UFC career come to a sudden end. 

Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Jake Lindsey

Apr 16, 2014; Quebec City, Quebec, Canada;  Olivier Aubin-Mercier  (blue gloves) during the welterweight bout against Chad Laprise (not pictured) at Colisee Pepsi. Laprise won by decision. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

Having both lost in their initial UFC appearances, Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Jake Lindsey find themselves in a classic loser-leaves-town matchup.

Aubin-Mercier had a chance to win TUF: Nations in April, but Chad Laprise edged him on the scorecards in a split decision. Lindsey, meanwhile, made his UFC debut opposite Jon Tuck, who knocked The Librarian out in the third round.

Only 25 and 28 years old, respectively, Aubin-Mercier and Lindsey could have bright UFC futures ahead. However, the fighter that falls to 0-2 inside the Octagon on Saturday will more than likely be released. 

Tor Troeng

A well-known prospect, Tor Troeng was an exciting addition to TUF 17, but he hasn't panned out at the highest level.

With a win over Adam Cella in his UFC debut, Troeng bought some time with the world's top MMA promotion, but that time could be running out. Troeng has since lost to Rafael Natal and Trevor Smith, leaving him in danger of losing three in a row, a slump that would probably push him back to a smaller organization.

On Saturday, Troeng gets a more winnable matchup against Krzysztof Jotko. The Swedish fighter will need to take advantage of competing in his home country and turn things around. 

Jerrod Sanders

In July, Jerrod Sanders made his UFC debut against Yosdenis Cedeno. After seemingly losing the opening round, Sanders was unable to continue onto the second due to a knee injury.

This weekend, Sanders will return to the Octagon hoping to score his first UFC victory. Facing Pedro Munhoz, who is coming off of a win, Sanders isn't getting it easy, though.

At 34 years old, this could be Sanders' only chance to make it on the big show. Should he lose to Munhoz on Saturday, Sanders could be released. 

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