clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Cut List: Who's Facing Unemployment With a UFC Loss?

Let's face it, UFC on Versus 2 is not the most star-studded fight card the UFC has ever rolled out, even on cable TV. You've got also-rans taking on almost-weres, and has-beens facing off against probably-won't-ever-bes.

That means several men will most likely be fighting for their jobs on Sunday night, and the Cut List is here to tell you who they are and what their chances for continued employment look like. Let's start from the televised portion of the card and work our way down:

Takanori Gomi (31-6, I NC, 0-1 UFC)
Who he's facing: Tyson Griffin
Why he's in danger: The glory days of "The Fireball Kid" are now just a memory, and that memory doesn't go as far in the U.S. as it did in Japan. The last couple of years have been very mediocre ones for Gomi. Now it's time to prove that he still belongs among the sport's elite. He got submitted by Kenny Florian in his UFC debut, and now he has to turn around and fight Tyson Griffin, so it's not as if he's getting an easy run. If he expected different treatment, however, he came to the wrong place.
Odds of getting cut: 4-1. He's the underdog in this fight, but it's certainly not out of the question to think he could pull out a win. Even if he loses, as long as he doesn't get absolutely mauled he could stick around for at least one more go on name value alone.

Jacob Volkmann (10-2, 1-2 UFC)
Who he's facing: Paul Kelly
Why he's in danger: Volkmann may be coming off a win over Ronnys Torres, but a loss here would drop him to 1-3 in the Octagon, which means it might be time to start checking out the want ads. Kelly is the slight favorite in the fight, but this is essentially a pick-em. You could argue that Volkmann needs it more, but it's not like anyone on the prelims of a card like this has any job security at all, and they know it.
Odds of getting cut: 2-1. I suppose there's a chance that he could lose and still keep his job, but it's not a good chance. He should look at this as a win-or-get-fired scenario. The good news is, it's a winnable (though by no means easy) fight for him. If he can't win it, he probably doesn't belong here anyway.

James Irvin (14-6-1, 4-5 UFC)
Who he's facing: Igor Pokrajac
Why he's in danger: If there's ever been a fighter with worse luck than Irvin, I don't want to hear about him. As hard-nosed a fighter as he is, he's incredibly injury-prone, and his career sometimes seems like a long string of disasters only occasionally interrupted by fleeting success. I mean, we're talking about a guy who had a fight ruled a no contest because he and his opponent both fell out of the cage. Lately things have been tougher than ever for Irvin. He battled a prescription drug addiction, got embarrassed by Anderson Silva, then lost via eye injury in what was a strangely anti-climactic ending to his most recent fight against Alessio Sakara. He drops this and it will be his third straight. In the UFC, three is the magic number.
Odds of getting cut: Even. There's no question Irvin has to win this, and it's probably the most favorable match-up he's had since Houston Alexander in 2008, which happens to be the last UFC fight he won. Still, knowing Irvin's luck there's always a chance that he could get struck by bolt of lightning that darts through the ceiling of the San Diego Sports Arena between rounds.

Igor Pokrajac (21-7, 0-2 UFC)
Who he's facing: James Irvin
Why he's in danger: Yep, this one is a good old-fashioned 'loser leaves town' match. Both are riding two fight losing streaks, and Pokrajac lacks even the meager good will that Irvin earned himself with the UFC brass when he agreed to take on Anderson Silva on short notice. So far Pokrajac has beaten a bunch of eastern European guys you've never heard of, and no one else. If he can't change that trend with a victory over Irvin, he'll get to go back to terrorizing the Croatian MMA scene real soon.
Odds of getting cut: Even. Irvin is probably the better fighter, but Pokrajac still has a chance just based on all the struggles Irvin has had to endure to get here. If he's not praying for that bolt of lightning, he should be.

Mike Massenzio (11-3, 1-1 UFC)
Who he's facing: Brian Stann
Why he's in danger: A loss here would be Massenzio's second straight in the UFC, which by itself isn't necessarily grounds for dismissal. The trouble is, if he can't win a fight on the unaired prelims of a very mediocre card, what do you do with him? The UFC might decide it's better to open up his roster spot and give someone new a try, particularly since Massenzio's fighting style isn't terribly exciting even when it's working.
Odds of getting cut: 3-1. He can certainly beat Stann if he fights smart and has all cylinders firing. Even if he doesn't, a solid performance might be enough to get him one more shot. Just in case, probably better to go ahead and win this one.

Steve Steinbeiss (4-3, 0-1 UFC)
Who he's facing: Rob Kimmons
Why he's in danger: Steinbeiss' MMA career thus far has been – how shall I put this? – unremarkable. He just hasn't done anything that might make you think he belongs in the UFC. A loss here not only drops him to 0-2 in the Octagon, but 4-4 overall. That's the kind of record that ought to make you reconsider your career choice altogether.
Odds of getting cut: Even. Steinbeiss is a slight underdog against Kimmons, though he's definitely not a longshot. He needs this win not just to stay in the UFC, but to prove, if only to himself, that this is the line of work for him. If he loses, well, you know all those Congressmen arguing about unemployment benefits, Steve? That discussion is about to seem far more relevant to your life.