Based on the results of this past weekend’s UFC 121 event a number of big name stars on the card may now be in jeopardy of losing their place on the promotion’s roster.
As we noted yesterday one of the sports best known fighters Tito Ortiz is in danger of being cut from the promotion that gave him his first professional fight back at UFC 13 in May of 1997.
In his post-fight interviews Ortiz appeared determined to stick around, but Dana White’s post-fight comment that, “He’s lost what, 4 in a row? And I think we know what happens when you lose 4 in a row,” suggests that the writing may now be on the wall for the former champion.
Verdict: White’s comments sound pretty conclusive. Due to Ortiz’s injury woes, having to battle back from two major surgeries in two years there is an argument to be made for him to be given one last chance to prove himself. At the same time the UFC may feel that he’s no longer worth the large fee he commands and the negative press that often arises from his personal issues and controversial opinions.
After an uninspired, lethargic performance against Brendan Schaub in the opening bout of the main card, Gabriel Gonzaga could potentially be up for the chop.
The Brazilian has now lost three of his last four fights, and truth be told since a spectacular head kick KO against Mirko Cro Cop more than three years ago he’s consistently failed to impress.
At the post-fight press conference White refused to comment on the 31 year-old’s future, but it’s clear that it’s a matter that it’s something they will be giving consideration to.
Verdict: I think it’s 50/50. Personally I don’t think it would hurt to keep him for one last fight since the 265lb division isn’t the deepest and he’s still a recognizable name.
Another Brazilian who fought on the main card, Paulo Thiago, is also wondering whether he may receive his pink slip.
Thiago’s loss to Diego Sanchez on Saturday night leaves him two fights without a win in the octagon, 3-3 overall since joining the promotion in February of 2009.
The fighter’s manager admitted to TATAME earlier today that they are unsure what will happen now, but noted, “What saved me was the bonus for the best fight of the evening… I think that he’s got a chance of coming back.”
Verdict: I think the UFC will keep Thiago around, but he needs an improved performance next time out.
KO specialist Gilbert Yvel was seen as a fun addition to the UFC’s heavyweight ranks at the turn of the year, but the Dutch fighter has completely failed to deliver in the octagon.
After a first round TKO loss to Jon Madsen he’s now 0-3 in the UFC and offered nothing that would convince the UFC to keep him on.
Prediction: In January Yvel featured on the UFC 108 main card and he’s slid down the pecking order ever since. On Saturday night he lost on the opening bout on the preliminary card and it seems inevitable he’ll now be shown the exit door.
Thought not holding the same name recognition as the other fighters mentioned above, two other UFC 121 fighters could also be at risk of being released.
Paul Taylor slumped to his second defeat in a row in the prelims against Sam Stout, leaving him 3-5 in the UFC. The fact that he’s from the UK and has been in a number of exciting bouts in the UFC may save him, but there’s no guarantees.
Mike ‘Joker’ Guymon is also on shaky ground with his loss taking him to 1-2 inside the octagon.