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The Cut List: Who Desperately Needs a Win at UFC 123?

The main event at UFC 123 may feature two former champs battling it out for another shot at glory, but the undercard includes several fighters who are just struggling to stay employed.

Let's face it, with the WEC fighters being brought into the fold, the UFC is bound to trim a little of the fat off the roster soon, jettisoning some of the guys who have underperformed of late. The good news is, the fighters on the chopping block probably know who they are and what they have to do to keep the paychecks coming.

At least most of the time, that adds up to exciting fights. And after the yawn-inducing display at UFC 122, the UFC needs an adrenaline boost like "Rampage" Jackson needs new bad breath jokes. Below, a detailed look at who might spend Thanksgiving looking over the want ads if they can't pull out a victory on Saturday.

Matt Brown (11-9 overall, 4-3 UFC)
Who he's fighting: Brian Foster
Why he's in danger: "The Immortal" has lost two straight in the UFC thanks to back-to-back submission defeats to Ricardo Almeida and Chris Lytle. This recent skid followed an encouraging three-fight win streak against guys like Pete Sell and James Wilks, but since the UFC has started trying him out against tougher competition Brown hasn't exactly risen to the occasion. A loss on Saturday would make it three straight. Unless you're Tito Ortiz, three is usually a magic number in the UFC.
Odds of getting cut: 2-1. It's win or go home time, and Brown is the slight underdog. Foster is just as tough as Brown is and needs a win almost as badly (see below). Brown would probably like to turn this into a brawl in the hopes that Foster isn't up for it, but that's essentially a roll of the dice.

Brian Foster (14-5 overall, 2-2 UFC)
Who he's fighting: Matt Brown
Why he's in danger: A .500 record might be good enough to make the NBA playoffs most years, but in the UFC it puts you on a dangerous precipice. Foster won his last fight against Forrest Petz, so he doesn't have the burden of a losing streak to contend with. Then again, if the UFC gives you five mostly mid-level fights and you can only win two, it's very possible that you might get the old 'Go win a few in the minors' talk from Joe Silva.
Odds of getting cut: 3-1. Foster definitely has a good shot against Brown, and even if he loses his dismissal isn't necessarily automatic. He tends to find himself in exciting fights, win or lose, so the UFC may give him one more chance if he's sufficiently entertaining in defeat.

Karo Parisyan (19-5 overall, 9-3, 1 NC in UFC)
Who he's fighting: Dennis Hallman
Why he's in danger: For Parisyan, the greatest danger is never his opponent – it's himself. The Armenian judoka who once declared himself "too talented to train" has had very public struggles with prescription pills and anxiety issues in the past. He had a win over Dong Hyun Kim overturned due to his illicit painkiller use, then pulled out of a fight with Dustin Hazelett at the last minute at UFC 106, getting himself banned for life from the UFC, according to Dana White. That particular blacklisting lasted about a year, and now Parisyan is back to see if he can put it all behind him and successfully step in the cage at the appointed time without doing anything weird.
Odds of getting cut: 5-1. White obviously has a soft spot for "The Heat," so if he shows up and looks halfway decent in the fight, win or lose, he'll probably get at least one more shot. Unless he tests positive for painkillers again...

Paul Kelly (10-3 overall, 4-3 UFC)
Who he's fighting: T.J. O'Brien
Why he's in danger: Kelly has been decidedly mediocre in his last few fights, dropping two of his last three. In itself, that might not be so bad, but when your list of wins includes mostly forgettable names like Matt Veach, Roli Delgado, and Troy Mandaloniz, even a short skid makes people question your value. If Kelly can't beat a UFC newcomer like O'Brien who comes in with an impressive record against mostly unknown opponents, "Tellys" has to consider himself a marked man.
Odds of getting cut: 2-1. He's favored in this fight, but not by much. O'Brien could always catch a case of the Octagon jitters, though that's not exactly what you want to rely on if your Kelly.

Tyson Griffin (14-4 overall, 7-4 UFC)
Who he's fighting: Nik Lentz
Why he's in danger: Griffin's lost two straight, with the most recent being the highlight-reel knockout that Takanori Gomi put on him in August. Now he gets a significant step down in competition and exposure, facing Nik Lentz on the unaired prelims. This is a must-win for Griffin not only because he's been on a losing streak, but also because Lentz is the kind of guy Griffin should absolutely crush. He's a wrestler who likes to grind his way to decisions, though he's not exactly overpowering in any significant way. If Griffin can't beat him, it signals a major decline.
Odds of getting cut: 4-1. If Griffin got back in the gym and got his act together after the loss to Gomi, Lentz shouldn't pose many problems for him. If his problem is more psychological than physical, however, it could be a different story.

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