Who's on the Hot Seat? UFC 150 Edition
Welcome to the first edition of Who’s on the Hot Seat, BJPenn.Com style! I came up with this column a few years back as well as the title so please do not accept any poor imitations that you will see across the internet. The main premise behind this article is to go over the fighters who are in desperate need of a victory to keep their spot in the organization. Sometimes I am right and sometimes I am wrong, but I do this for fun and it is pure speculation and nothing else.
UFC 150 takes place on Saturday night August 11 from the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado and features a rematch between UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson and the man he won the belt from back in February at UFC 144, Frankie Edgar. If these two put on another performance like the one six months ago then we are all in for a fun night. The co-main event promises to be just as exciting as friends and former training partners Donald Cerrone and Melvin Guillard square off. Jake Shields makes his UFC middleweight debut against the surging Ed Herman, Yushin Okami battles Buddy Roberts and Justin Lawrence takes on Max Holloway to round out the main card.
There are some good preliminary match-ups as well that you can watch on the FX network. Now let’s get to the reason why I am here. Who needs a win Saturday night to avoid a potential pink slip? Let’s check it out.
Tommy Hayden– He made his UFC debut against Fabricio Camoes at UFC on FX: Guillard vs. Miller back in January and lost via rear naked choke with less than a minute left in the first round. He was 8-0 coming into that fight and at 26-years-old he may have a bright future ahead of him. The fact of the matter is a fighter never wants to start their UFC career off with two consecutive losses. Especially when they are fighting in a very deep and talented lightweight division. He is facing TUF 14 finalist Dennis Bermudez and will need a win or at the very least a great performance to get another shot inside the Octagon.
Jared Hamman– With a 2-3 record in the UFC and coming off a knockout loss to Constantinos Philippou at UFC 140, Hamman has his back against the wall. Since he debuted as a light heavyweight at UFC 105 with a loss to Alexander Gustafsson he has alternated between wins and losses. If you go by that he is due for a win here and it couldn’t come at a better time for the 30-year-old California native. He made his middleweight debut against C.B. Dolloway and looked impressive winning by TKO, but he needs to avoid back-to-back losses and will have to defeat Michael Kuiper to have any shot at remaining with the company.
Nik Lentz– We haven’t seen Lentz since he lost to Evan Dunham via second round TKO at UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis. Before that he lost via unanimous decision to Mark Bocek at UFC 140 and his fight with Charles Oliveira at UFC Live: Kongo vs. Berry was deemed a no-contest after Oliveira caught Lentz with an illegal knee before submitting him via rear naked choke. He had been on a 5-0-1 streak in the UFC before that fight against Oliveira in June of 2011. With two losses in a row Lentz really needs a win here, despite the fact he had been on a nice run, he hasn’t recovered since and doesn’t want to have three losses hanging over his head.
Eiji Mitsuoka– Takanori Gomi gave Mitsuoka a rude introduction to the UFC back in February at UFC 144. Gomi scored a second round TKO over his countrymen who had competed for Dream, Deep and Sengoku before this fight. He came into the Gomi fight as an injury replacement for George Sotiropoulos, but if he loses here I can’t see the UFC holding on to him. Unless he is needed for an upcoming card that the UFC has planned for Japan then it’ll be two and done for Mitsuoka unless he defeats Lentz.
There was one other fighter I thought would make sense for the column, but after thinking about it he deserves a bit of a break. That guy is Dustin Pague, he lost his last bout to Ken Stone at UFC on FX: Maynard vs. Guida back in June, but he took the fight just two weeks after defeating Jared Papazian. I know he is in danger of losing his second fight in a row and running his UFC record to 1-2, but this will be his third fight in two months! He gets another chance regardless of the outcome Saturday night.