The Cut List: Who Needs a Win at UFC 127?
Naturally a trip to Australia for the UFC means there's got to be some local talent on the card, and yes, some of that local talent may be getting just one last chance to show that they can do something other than attract their friends and neighbors.
But there's a wide range of fighters on the UFC 127 undercard who are need of a win on Saturday. Hailing from several different continents, and finding themselves in potential trouble for several different reasons, they all need to win big or at least lose impressively if they want to be invited back.
Let's take a look at who they are below.
Spencer Fisher (24-6, 9-5 UFC)
Who he's fighting: Ross Pearson
Why he's in danger: Fisher has been a fixture in the UFC for what feels like forever, but is actually about 5 ½ years. Still, that's impressive, especially considering he's never been very close to the top, and yet has managed to stay so consistently employed in an organization that doesn't suffer losers gladly. Fisher has hung around because he's exciting, willing to fight more or less anyone, and doesn't lose too many in a row. In fact, his recent two-fight skid was the longest losing streak of his career, and he rebounded from it with a win over Curt Warburton at UFC 120. But with the incoming WEC lightweights, space is getting tight and Fisher is an aging fighter who has lost two of his last three. Dropping another one could be hazardous to his employment.
Odds of getting cut: 4-1. This is a winnable fight for him. Even if he loses, as long as he doesn't bore us he could easily stick around for one more shot. As long as it turns into a brawl or a barnburner, he's probably safe.
Anthony Perosh (10-6, 0-3 UFC)
Who he's fighting: Tom Blackledge
Why he's in danger: If Perosh's name sounds vaguely familiar to you, it's probably because you remember him as the guy who filled in against Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic on short notice the last time the UFC was in Sydney. He showed a lot of heart, but far less skill, and he's still yet to win a fight in the Octagon after three attempts. It's nice to be a token Aussie and all, especially when the UFC needs someone to fight a Brit in a fun little national rivalry bout, but it won't save you indefinitely. Eventually Perosh has to win a fight, and if he can't beat a UFC newbie like Blackledge his prospects are pretty grim.
Odds of getting cut: Even. Oddsmakers favor Perosh, but just barely. Let's hope he's smart enough to consider this a 'win or get fired' match.
Tiequan Zhang (12-2, 0-0 UFC)
Who he's fighting: Jason Reinhardt
Why he's in danger: If Zhang were not the UFC's first fighter from mainland China – if he were just some guy from Milwaukee or Des Moines – his WEC record of 1-1 may or may not have been enough to justify a spot for him in the UFC after the merger. He looked under-conditioned and overwhelmed in his last WEC fight against Danny Downes, so you'd think that he really needs to prove himself in his UFC 145-pound debut, right? Well, sort of. The UFC likes the diversity a guy like Zhang brings to the roster, particular since it bolsters the chances of garnering a Chinese audience if you actually have at least one Chinese fighter. That's why Zhang will probably get more slack than another faceless wrestler from the Midwest would. The question is, how much more?
Odds of getting cut: 6-1. Zhang should win this fight without much difficulty. Even if he loses, the UFC won't let him go lightly. Not unless he looks absolutely terrible.
Chris Tuchscherer (18-3-1, 1-2 UFC)
Who he's fighting: Mark Hunt
Why he's in danger: Tuchscherer's lone win in the UFC came via a fairly unremarkable decision against Tim Hague. That victory was sandwiched between two losses where he was knocked out in the first round, first by Gabriel Gonzaga and more recently by Brendan Schaub. Granted, the UFC doesn't have the glut of talent at heavyweight that it has at lightweight, but that doesn't mean you can keep losing over and over and expect to keep your job. Tuchscherer ought to be able to outwrestle Mark Hunt, whose presence in the UFC is more a contract anomaly than a sign of faith in his skills. Then again, each round starts on the feet, where Hunt will be looking to take his head off.
Odds of getting cut: 2-1. Tuchscherer is the favorite, and with his grappling advantage he ought to be. If he loses, especially if it's by knockout again, it's hard to see the UFC retaining his services.
Jason Reinhardt (20-1, 0-1 UFC)
Who he's fighting: Tiequan Zhang
Why he's in danger: If you don't think the UFC would be so cold as to cut a guy with this impressive a record after just one loss, think again. That's precisely what happened to Reinhardt in his first stint in the Octagon. He showed up to UFC 78 with a perfect 18-0 record, lost via first-round submission to Joe Lauzon, and got cut right away. Then he picked up a couple more wins in the smaller shows, fighting opponents like Marcus Hermann (2-11) and Cody Larson (0-5), and now, after a three-year layoff, he's back in the UFC. I think you see where this is going. Some fighters have slightly padded records, but Reinhardt's is more stuffing than substance. Of his 20 conquests, several have losing records (such as Mike Lindquist, 6-20, who Reinhardt fought twice) and at least a couple still have yet to win a pro bout. That doesn't mean Reinhardt isn't any good. It just means he has no problem racking up a bunch of wins against guys who aren't any good. Take that for what it's worth.
Odds of getting cut: Even. Reinhardt is expected to lose this fight, and after he loses the UFC will probably decide it's gotten all it can out of a 41-year-old featherweight. And so it goes.