The UFC rolls into Orlando, Florida on Saturday night for UFC on Fox – Browne Vs Werdum. While the winner of that fight is destined for a future Heavyweight Title shot I am using his article to focus on the rest of the card and in particularly those fighters who really need to win on Saturday night. And not just win to put another W in the column, but some are certainly fighting for their UFC careers. So having put my Joe Silva hat on once more here is a breakdown of four fighters who I really see are in the spotlight on Saturday night;
Miesha Tate (13-5 MMA, 0-2 UFC)
Miesha “Cupcake” Tate certainly has helped to boost the popularity of Women’s MMA with her widely known feud with current Champion Ronda Rousey, but her UFC record is 0-2 and she will be desperate to claim her first win on Saturday night against Liz Carmouche. Carmouche is also coming off a loss and is also keen to win in the Octagon to improve her 1-2 record. Tate perhaps is a little more in need of a win after going 1-3 in her last four fights, her last win was back in August 2012. She has shown that she has the ability to win and an has an array of offence which she has displayed in her recent bouts but I think she just needs to try and not let the occasion get the better of her. I think in her last bout against Rousey that she was beaten before she even entered the cage, so this fight may be a good one for her to get back in the win column as neither of these women seem to have bad words for each other and I think this will help Tate. It’s hard to say that a loss will see her cut from the UFC as she has been such a big part of building the women’s division but it will certainly be very hard for the UFC to continue to push her in main event/co-main event status if she has lost three UFC fights on the bounce. Many think that the women in the UFC are protected to some extend due to the low volumes of fighters on the roster but that roster is certainly building day by day and there will come a time when performance and records start to play on the mind of Joe Silva and the likes. Let’s hope that for Tate she can dig in deep and pull out a much needed win on Saturday night.
Seth Baczynski (19-10 MMA, 5-3 UFC)
Seth Baczynski will be looking to spoil Thiago Alves long awaited return to the Octagon as the pair are set to fight in a Welterweight bout on Saturday night. Baczynski won his last fight at Fight for the Troops in a unanimous decision win over Neil Magny but prior to that fight had lost two fights on the bounce. Seth has proved that when he is on form he can beat the best of them (Matt Brown & Simeon Thoresen on the list of fighters he has defeated) but for me it’s his inability to get himself known which is the biggest issue. To the casual fan Seth Baczynski is definitely not a known name in the Welterweight division even though he went on a four fight win streak in the UFC he has never been able to establish himself as a true contender. Whether this is something for Baczynski to consider himself or it’s something his management team should be looking to address I think something needs to be done sooner rather than later. A loss on Saturday night would leave him with 1-3 in his last four and fighting in a division as crammed as the Welterweight division could signal problems for Seth. Lets hope that The Polish Pistola can come up with the goods and keep himself in the hunt at 170lbs.
Pat Healy (31-18-1nc MMA, 0-3-1 UFC)
Seems very strange to be adding Pat Healy into a list of potential fighters who are close to “getting cut” status in the UFC but there are a number of factors behind this one. Firstly he has lost two fights on the bounce (against very game opponents in Bobby Green and Khabib Nurmagomedov but still). Secondly in his second UFC fight (1st since returning to the promotion having first fought at UFC Fight Night 6) he beat Jim Miller by submission but then tested positive for marijuana. It’s now backs against the wall for Healy who is set to fight Jorge Masvidal on Saturday night in a fight which is vitally important for the veteran to win. The fight is on the prelim card which in itself is damaging to a fighter in terms of sponsorship etc which may have been the UFC’s way of slapping Healy on the wrist (for the failed marijuana test) but a loss on Saturday would not bode well for Healy who hasn’t won a fight since January 2013 (officially). At 30 years old Healy is also running out of time if he really wants to put a serious title run in place and given that this is his second stint in the UFC its probably fair to assume that if he is cut then he may struggle to make a third return any time soon. What does stand in Healy’s favour is that his fights are always very exciting and he brings it every time he steps foot in the Octagon. Remember that the fans have a big say in what happens and Dana/Silva/Lorenzo do listen to what the fans say. So a loss may not be the end of things for Healy and the UFC but it would certainly not put Healy in a good position and would only mean the following fight really would be do or die. It would be a massive shame to see Healy cut as I for one am a big fan and have followed his career for a few years now, but even as a fan there comes a time when it’s just the right thing to do for the promotion and for the fighter themselves. Lets pray for one of his FOTN performances on Saturday and I will be keeping my fingers crossed for a Healy win.
Estevan Payan (14-5-1nc MMA, 0-2 UFC)
Featherweight Estevan Payan will be looking for his first UFC win in his third appearance for the promotion on Saturday night as he is set to take on Alex White. Payan was on a five fight winning streak which got him a shot in the UFC but has not been able to deliver on the big stage yet. It could be a combination of things which have played a part in this, big stage, better opponents, more nerves but it is something which Payan needs to overcome very quickly if he wants to remain with the UFC. In the run up to this fight there has been a few injuries which have resulted in opponent changes, firstly he was supposed to fight Sean Soriano, then Mike Brown but both picked up injuries so he will be taking on promotional newcomer Alex White. This gives him the opportunity to use his existing fights in the UFC as experience and take the upper hand over his opponent on that side of things which may help his overall game and help to settle any pre fight nerves which he gets. A prelim fighter with three losses on the bounce is in pretty much dead man walking territory so Payan will be eager to win on Saturday.
This is an opinion piece so feel free to agree/disagree with the above but I feel that these guys/girls will be fighting with their backs against the wall and looking for the big wins to reinvigorate their UFC careers and help them avoid “the chop” when Mr Silva next looks to cut back his ever increasing roster of talent.