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Opening Round: Odds Are (UFC on Fuel 1 Edition)

When it comes to continued employment in the UFC there is no question winning is paramount. Zuffa structures contracts in a way allowing them to terminate a deal following any loss meaning victory is the only sure way a fighter can guarantee he still has a job the morning after having competed the previous evening.

The same set of circumstances hover over Saturday night’s UFC on Fuel 1 lineup, as they do every event, and without question more than one Mixed Martial Artist is likely making his final appearance inside the Octagon for the foreseeable future if not forever.

Below you will find every fighter scheduled to take to the cage at UFC on Fuel 1 with realistic percentages relating to the chances of being released based on an in-ring stumble on Friday night (as well as a brief explanation behind the reasoning). Any fighter not listed is one that should be obviously safe so there’s no need to waste anyone’s time with analysis of why:

Bernardo Magalhaes (5%) – Though he’s debuting and is on a five-fight winning streak he’s earned victory 9 of 11 times via decision. For that reason he has a slightly higher chance of getting cut than the standard newcomer would.
Tim Means (1%) – Also fighting in the Octagon for the first time, Means hasn’t lost in his last nine outings and is a finishing machine (15/16 total wins).
Anton Kuivanen (1%) – Another debuting guy with a bunch of consecutive victories to his credit, the Finnish Kuivanen is safe for not only performance-related reasons but also nationality as the UFC needs European competitors on their roster.
Justin Salas (1%) – Salas notoriously has part of his foot torn off in the ring only to keep fighting and pick up the win, a story so nice it’s bound to keep him around for at least one more bout no matter what happens Wednesday night.
Buddy Roberts (1%) – This card is packed with guys popping their Octagonal cherry including Roberts and opponent Loeffler. Roberts is also riding a solid streak and tends to put opponents away so he’s good to go come showtime win or lose.
Sean Loeffler (1%) – It’s actually amazing Loeffler hasn’t fought in the UFC yet considering he’s 25-5 with 25 stoppages and has only lost a single time in more than three years. He’s bubble-wrap safe this week given that type of potential.
Jonathan Brookins (5%) – Brookins looked lackluster in his last match-up but is young and has the TUF-winner tag so he can stand to drop another without fear of being fired.
Vagner Rocha (15%) – Rocha is coming off a win over Cody McKenzie but that doesn’t necessarily mean a lot. He went 1-2 in the three fights before that and another loss could definitely spell the end of his current run in the UFC. It just won’t.
Ivan Menjivar (5%) – Menjivar has won back-to-back bouts in the UFC and been a feel good story all around given some of the trials and tribulations he’s faced in his career.
John Albert (5%) – Albert looked sharp against Dustin Pague and is 7-1 overall so he’ll be fine, especially when you consider how game an opponent Menjivar is.
T.J. Dillashaw (10%) – Dillashaw has a lot of potential and comes out of Urijah Faber’s camp so he should be good to go but there’s always a chance he might end up axed given his wrestling-oriented style and overall lack of experience.
Walel Watson (10%) – A loss would be his second straight though he fell via Split Decision and had a beautiful knockout in his previous pairing.
Philip De Fries (1%) – Undefeated, a slew of submissions, and English = return trip to the Octagon no matter what.
Stipe Miocic (1%) – Similar to De Fries, Miocic has yet to be defeated in his career and won’t be cut based on incurring his first loss were that to happen.
Aaron Simpson (1%) – The veteran Simpson has been hot as of late, picking up three wins in a row though none in particularly memorable fashion. However, they’re enough to maintain his employment regardless of the outcome in Omaha.
Ronny Markes (1%) – Yet another guy coming off multiple wins who won’t be receiving a pink slip on Thursday morning.
Stefan Struve (1%) – Struve is a monster and hasn’t even turned 24 yet so there’s no way the UFC will be shedding him from their now-deep roster of heavyweights.
Dave Herman (1%) – One of the brightest young stars at heavyweight, “Pee Wee” is 21-2 (with one loss being a DQ) and twenty finishing performances.

Clearly this is a card ripe with potential based on how few fighters are actually at risk of losing their jobs. It’s a bunch of scrappers who tend to score stoppages and will enter with the confidence of consecutive victories.

What do you think about the subject on today’s “Opening Round”? Tell us on our Twitter account (@mmatraining)!

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