What an awkward week it has been not only been for the UFC, but also for main event competitor Gegard Mousasi. The Dutch fighter made the trip over to Sweden in anticipation of his main event battle at UFC on FUEL TV 9 against Alexander Gustafsson, only to be told that “The Mauler” was not going to be able to compete. Stepping in on short notice, Mousasi gets the Swede’s training partner, Ilir Latifi.
Many fighters are looking to keep their place with the organization on this fight card and not receive their walking papers. As with all events there is a potential of being let go if you do not win, so below is MMASucka.com’s “The Hit List”.
Ryan Couture (6-1)
Who he’s fighting: Ross Pearson
Couture comes into this fight on a four-fight winning streak and is 6-1 in his professional career, so it may seem harsh to put him on this list. However, they are feeding him to the wolves in this match-up against Ross Pearson to show him out the door. We all know that his father Randy, who is a UFC hall of famer, had a falling out with the organization just weeks prior to Ryan signing with them. This is a must-win situation for Couture to have job security with the UFC.
Matt Mitrione (5-2)
Who he’s fighting: Phil De Fries
Mitrione has fought every one of his professional bouts inside the UFC’s Octagon and has done quite well. The former professional football player amassed a 5-0 record since his stint on the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter, however he has since gone 0-2. The dreaded three fight losing skid could be a potential deal-breaker for “Meathead”.
Tom Lawler (8-5 1NC)
Who he’s fighting: Michael Kuiper
Since debuting with the UFC, Lawler has gone 4-4. The record alone is not one to brag about, however “Filthy” has built quite a name for himself outside of the cage for his elaborate weigh-in and walkout shenanigans. In Lawler’s last fight he lost a controversial split decision against Francis Carmont at UFC 154 this past November. If he is unable to make it past Kuiper this Saturday night, that will make the Massachusetts native 1-3 in his last four fights and those could be terms for a pink slip.
Papy Abedi (8-2)
Who he’s fighting: Besam Yousef
An 8-0 undefeated fighter was Abedi coming in to the UFC, however the pressure must have built as he has now gone 0-2 in his first two fights inside the Octagon. He fell short to Thiago Alves at UFC 138 in his welterweight debut and to James Head at the first UFC event in Sweden, both of which he lost by rear-naked choke. “Makambo” would love to get a win in front of his hometown crowd of Sweden and get back on his winning ways, but a loss will make him 0-3 and with a stacked welterweight division, it’ll like mean the door for Abedi.
Notable names that could potentially be cut: Phil De Fries, Tor Troéng, Adam Cella and Besam Yousef