Whose job is on the line at UFC 174?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Fighting in the UFC is a hard way to make a living. Fighting's hard, training's harder, and losing even once means you can be released. The more losses, the worse the chances of staying employed.

Jacob Volkmann and Antonio McKee were each cut after a single loss. Two losses in a row is going to happen on average to 25% of the fighters, and is not necessarily a cause for release. Further, as critical as losing streaks is how you play the game. Dan Hardy lost four in a row during an 18 month period, was not cut, and came back to win two in a row. Dan Hardy always fights to finish. Volkmann and McKee by contrast fight to dominate with wrestling, a style of play that does not excite asses in seats, or if you will, paying customers.

UFC 174 will unfortunately see some fighters in desperate need of a win.

“Supernatural” Tae Hyun Bang came into the UFC just 2-3 his last five fights, and they were spread over five years. Then at FC Fight Night: Saffiedine vs. Lim in Jan, he lost to Mairbek Taisumov. A loss Saturday night would put him at 0-2 in the UFC and 2-4 his last six. A cut would be likely.

Mike “The Hulk” Easton comes into Saturday's fight with Yves Jabouin with an 0-3 streak. The losses were all decisions, one split, to Raphael Assunção, Brad Pickett, and T.J. Dillashaw. However, decision streaks do not generally impress UFC management, even when you win. Another decision loss, and Easton may well be back to tearing up the local circuit.

Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski's return to the Octagon was widely hailed by the hardcore fanbase, but some worried he could be quickly released if he falters vs. Brendan Schaub. However, Marc Raimondi writing for Fox Sports argues that he is probably here to stay for a while.

“We probably won't see a new Arlovski on Saturday,” wrote Raimondi. “He's likely to be the same impressive boxer with knockout power and good defensive wrestling. Schaub is obviously a tough foe. But no matter what happens in that bout, Arlovski probably has a place in the UFC's relatively thin heavyweight division. He's determined to prove that all over again.”

So what do you think UG? Who is fighting not just for a win, but for a job?