If Santos was in any division other than flyweight he would probably be a lock for release. After all, his loss to Cariaso was his third straight with one of the others also involving a strike-based stoppage. However, the UFC needs 125ers. Throw in the fact one of Santos’ stumbles came against a bantamweight and he’ll probably get one more shot in the Octagon. The vast majority of his fellow UFC flyweights are already booked for action in the coming months, so Santos’ only realistic option at this point is Darren Uyenoyama. Beyond Uyenoyama, he’ll need to take a little extra time to recover in order to land a different match-up or else welcome a newcomer to the company. Dillashaw could have easily exited his bout with Assuncao as a victor if different judges had been attached to their outing. The clash was closely-contested and saw Dillashaw put Assuncao in some very precarious positions. Barring some sort of rematch based on the semi-controversy surrounding the scoring, there’s no reason Dillashaw can’t be given another top bantamweight coming off a loss for his next bout in hopes of re-establishing his footing in the contendership picture. Iuri Alcantara or Brad Pickett would both be excellent selections to fill that spot. The first battle Pierce will face in the wake of his defeat will be one waged in the training room. Though it’s unknown how badly his leg was injured by Palhares’ powerful Heel Hook or refusal to let go after feeling the first tap, Pierce probably has some level of recovery required before getting back to full speed in the gym. He’d won four fights before the loss to Palhares so plenty of welterweights make sense. Among them are Erick Silva, Jake Ellenberger, and Martin Kampmann. There was a time it looked like Hamill would pose a serious threat to most opponents he faced. However, somewhere along the way it seems he lost his passion for pugilism and has looked listless in his last four fights. With only a single win in the bunch – a forgettable outpointing of Roger Hollett – it’s time for the 37-year old to consider permanent retirement instead of the yearlong hiatus he took after an August 2011 defeat to Alexander Gustafsson. If he decides to continue his career and the UFC obliges him one more opportunity, Hamill needs an adversary with some name value and a similar need for victory such as Joey Beltran or Cyrille Diabate. Silva just can’t seem to get over the hump when it comes to his career. He looked sharp against Kim before getting clipped and had some flashes of brilliance during a decision loss to Jon Fitch. However, as evident from both defeats, Silva just isn’t ready for top shelf competition. The UFC needs to work on building his brand back up slowly but surely over the next year by giving him recognizable opponents he should beat on paper. With a few of those victories in his pocket, as well as the experience and evolution involved over, Silva could exit 2014 as a legitimate contender. The winners of next month’s match-ups between Seth Baczynski/Neil Magny and Rick Story/Brian Ebersole could be worth considering since Silva is likely to be out for precautionary reasons based on the KO, while athletes who are currently available include Zak Cummings, Stephen Thompson, and Amir Sadollah. Chances are Maia is currently out there squeezing a stress-ball based on his anger over the way judges scored his showdown with Shields. Though Maia arguably did enough to have earned the nod instead of seeing the win go to Shields, he also failed to make the effort so convincing there was no question about the result, and thus it’s time for him to move forward. He’s looked great at welterweight meaning there’s no reason for him to move back up to 185 pounds and he can definitely work his way back into the contendership picture by bouncing back strongly. If possible, the UFC should consider handing Maia a striker with solid ground skills like Jake Ellenberger or Martin Kampmann in hopes of giving fans the belief action may be a bit more entertaining than that provided when Maia faces a fellow mat-based technician. The winner of Nate Marquardt-Hector Lombard will also be on the table by month’s end and will be worth considering as well.
Every dark cloud has a silver lining, or at least that’s what the list of losers attached to
would like to believe. While there are a few competitors at risk of being released after coming up short in the cage, it is likely UFC Fight Night 29 will be the only fighter axed after the event and the only thing he lost involved onlookers’ respect. That being said, what does the future hold for some of the evening’s less-successful stars? (Photos by USA Today Sports Images) Rousimar Palhares