UFC On FUEL TV 9 comes at us this weekend as the promotion gears up for a busy month of April after taking the last two weeks off. It also marks the return of the octagon to Sweden as Gegard Mousasi and Ilir Latifi are welcomed to the UFC in the night’s main event. Latifi is taking the fight on just four days’ notice as a substitute for Alexander Gustafsson, who was originally scheduled to fight Mousasi, after Gustafsson was ruled out of the fight due to a cut and not receiving medical clearance.
The card features a solid mixture of fighters making their UFC debuts, and fighters coming off both wins and losses. There are some fighters on the card looking to avoid losing skids and some that could be fighting for their jobs on Saturday. Here is a look at five fighters who could certainly afford a win on Saturday as we bring you The Cut List for UFC On FUEL TV 9.
Phil De Fries (9-2 1 NC, 2-2 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Matt Mitrione
Why he’s on the list: De Fries will be fighting for the fifth time in the UFC, and after being matched up with Mitrione originally in December before injuries shuffled around some fights, he gets the chance to square off with Mitrione on Saturday afternoon. De Fries has split wins and losses in his four fights with the UFC, but two of his losses have come in his last three fights. To make it worse, both losses have come by knockout and quickly at that. Stipe Miocic only needed 43 seconds to dispose of De Fries while Todd Duffee finished him in just over two minutes. It also does not help De Fries’ case that the two men he holds wins over in the UFC, Rob Broughton and Oli Thompson, are no longer with the organization, having been cut themselves. De Fries needs a win in almost the worst kind of way.
Chances of being cut with loss: 75%. De Fries has more experience than Mitrione, and Mitrione is actually on a two-fight skid himself. Mitrione avoids making this list because he has a weird charisma that draws people in, but three losses in a row would not be good for Mitrione. Mitrione may be safe with a loss, but having dropped his last two, he will come out doing what he needs to do for a win. Mitrione has solid power in his hands, and De Fries has shown a suspect chin. De Fries could keep his spot on the roster with a loss, but it would really hurt him to lose. Both need wins, but Mitrione should be favored to take it home.
Reza Madadi (12-3, 1-1 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Michael Johnson
Why he’s on the list: Madadi should have a perfect 2-0 record in the UFC, but he lost a very controversial split decision to Cristiano Marcello at UFC 153 in October. It seemed as though everyone except two of the judges scoring the fight had it in favor of Madadi. Madadi has now split his two fights in the UFC, having scored a win in his UFC debut over Yoislandy Izquierdo in the UFC’s first visit to Sweden last April. Madadi had gone 12-1 over his previous 13 fights before the setback to Marcello, so he is accustomed to coming up on the winning end. He fights in front of his home country in Sweden, and he has never lost in eight fights held in Sweden, so he will have a lot of confidence in front of a supportive crowd.
Chances of being cut with loss: 55%. Madadi has a tough matchup with Johnson, who had won three straight before being outclassed in a decision loss to Myles Jury at UFC 155 in December. Johnson needs a win as well, but the three-fight win streak he amassed prior to his last loss may save him. Madadi got shafted his last fight with some bad judging, and while it may not fully hurt him, it does a little bit in the sense it’s still a loss on his record. The UFC’s lightweight roster is very full, and the loser could be on the way out of the promotion.
Tom Lawlor (8-5 1 NC, 4-4 UFC)
Who he’s fighting: Michael Kuiper
Why he’s on the list: Lawlor has a flash for entrances when it comes to weigh-ins and fight day, and it has made him an extremely popular member of the UFC roster. However, that hasn’t always translated to success inside the octagon as Lawlor has just a .500 record in eight UFC fights. To make matters worse, he’s lost four of his last six fights, and is coming off a split decision loss to Francis Carmont in a very uneventful fight. Most thought that Lawlor won that fight, though, and Carmont was made out to be a subject of a “hometown decision”. It still remains a loss on Lawlor’s record, and he needs to score a win to keep his spot on the UFC roster. As entertaining as Lawlor is, this is a must-win situation on Saturday.
Chances of being cut with loss: 60%. Lawlor’s entertaining style has endeared him to many, and it may keep him off the chopping block one more time should he lose. He has a tough matchup with Kuiper, who has a good kickboxing background. Lawlor is the favorite in this fight, and with his back against the wall, he may be conservative, similar to his fight with Patrick Cote. I’m picking Lawlor to win this fight, and he needs it.
Papy Abedi (8-2, 0-2 UFC) and Besam Yousef (6-1, 0-1 UFC)
Who they’re fighting: Each other
Why they’re on the list: Abedi and Yousef are both winless in a combined three appearances in the UFC, which makes them easy contenders for the cut list. Abedi didn’t have it easy in his UFC debut as he lost to former title challenger Thiago Alves due to submission. He last fought one year ago at the UFC’s debut in Sweden, suffering another submission loss, this time to James Head. It has also been a year since Yousef fought, as he also suffered a submission loss at UFC On FUEL TV 2, to Simeon Thoresen. Both men are undefeated outside of the UFC, but neither have been successful inside the octagon. Fortunately, that will change for the winner and both get the chance to make a statement in front of their home country.
Chances of being cut with loss: 100% for both men. The UFC’s welterweight division is very crowded with over 70 fighters currently in it. Abedi would be 0-3 with a loss, which almost assuredly would get him released. Yousef would be 0-2 with a loss, which usually means being cut as well unless one of them was a short notice injury replacement fight. Unfortunately, Yousef does not fall in that category (which Abedi happens to). The loser of this fight will be on the chopping block, so it is a must-win situation for both, which could make for an exciting fight. Abedi is the favorite in the fight.