Bader is 3-4 since peaking with a win over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira three years ago. His biggest instance of success in the bunch came against an injured, out-of-shape Quinton Jackson while all four of Bader’s losses involved a finish in the first two frames of action. He’s a power-packing wrestler but little more. Though he has a VERY winnable fight against Anthony Perosh coming up, anything less than domination will hurt Bader’s stock and likely put him in a “must win” position for his subsequent scrap. Belcher had fans believing he could be on his way to title-contendership with a four-fight winning streak going into a December 2012 tilt with Yushin Okami. However, Okami outclassed Belcher in almost every way, reminding the world he was a serviceable but not sublime fighter. A follow-up defeat to Michael Bisping didn’t do Belcher any favors either. In fact, with no fight on the horizon, it’s possible Belcher could be on his way out already. There was a time when Guida was a “must see” competitor, turning in a Fight of the Night contender (or winner) in nearly every effort. Unfortunately, opinions have since soured based on Guida’s change into an athlete aiming to take opponents down and control them or dance around while standing instead of engaging in an exchange of strikes. He may get one more shot based on his recent move to 145 pounds, but with stumbles in three of his last four fights (and the win only a Split Decision) there’s a good chance Guida’s last appearance in the Octagon will come next year barring some sort of spectacular run. With losses in three of his last four fights including two straight, there’s no question “Shogun” needs to look spectacular against James Te Huna in December to restore some faith in his ability as a top shelf scrapper. Rua used to be the best 205er in the sport and has yet to celebrate his 32nd birthday, but his struggle to stay healthy has hurt his productivity in the ring and often has fans wondering what sort of shape he’ll show up in. He also draws a sizable paycheck, so that alone could serve as the deciding factor in the UFC’s decision to let him go if Rua doesn’t turn things around sooner than later. Mir has called the UFC home for more than a decade and has experienced some genuine success during his time in the Octagon. However, he appears to be in decline, losing his last three tilts including two by way of TKO. He has Alistair Overeem on the horizon – a man in desperate need of a victory as well – and is almost certain to have his suspect chin tested in the process. If Mir goes down, so do his chances of continued employment in the world’s foremost MMA organization and significantly so.
Fans were left with their jaws dropped yesterday when the
UFC decided to hand seasoned veteran his walking papers despite being a Top 10 middleweight. According to Yushin Okami , Okami’s status as a gatekeeper who couldn’t quite get over the hump was the main reason for his release. With the UFC’s increased interest in developing fresh talent over established competitors, it seems there are at least a few fighters likely to follow in Okami’s footsteps at some point soon to the chagrin of MMA enthusiasts everywhere. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images) UFC President Dana White