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Thread: UFC 133 Pre-Fight Analysis: Who's on the Hot Seat?

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    Default UFC 133 Pre-Fight Analysis: Who's on the Hot Seat?

    What an interesting turn of events we have seen over the past few weeks regarding UFC 133. Injuries have seen many of the originally scheduled bouts either changed or scrapped altogether. One man stepped up big time to help bail the organization out of a huge jam; that man*is Tito Ortiz, the former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion who reigned supreme for over three years.*

    As stated by Phil Davis in a tweet to*Ortiz, they have for basically traded places with one another. Davis filled in for Ortiz against Antonio Rogerio Noguiera back in March for UFC Fight Night 24. Now we see Ortiz returning the favor for an injured Davis against the former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Rashad Evans tomorrow night in Philadelphia for UFC 133's the main event.

    Other fighters who were injured include current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones, who was scheduled to make his first defense against Evans. Unfortunately Jones was forced to pull out due to an injured finger which at the time was thought to have required surgery, but luckily did not.

    Evans decided to take on Davis because he had been inactive since defeating another former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson who coincidentally is taking on Jones at UFC 135 in September.

    Jose Aldo was going to defend his UFC Featherweight Championship for the second time against the undefeated Chad Mendes, but Aldo pulled out to recover from some nagging injuries. Mendes decided to remain on the card and will now face Rani Yaha.

    Vladimir Matyushenko was all set to take on Alexander Gustafsson in an attempt to win his third fight in a row, but alas it was not meant to be as he was injured and replaced by Matt Hamill.

    The aforementioned Noguiera had his sights set on former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin in a bout to be contested at 205 lbs., but "Lil Nog" suffered a shoulder injury and is off the card. Franklin chose to remove himself off the card rather than face a replacement on short notice or take on a fighter with little or no name recognition.

    For a third time a middleweight bout between Jorge Rivera and Alessio Sakara has been scrapped because of a torn ACL suffered by Sakara. Now Rivera will face Costantinos Philippou, who was removed from his fight with Rafael Natal. Paul Bradley is brought in to face Natal on short notice.

    Last but not least, Nick Pace was scheduled to face Michael McDonald, but McDonald is going to replace Norifumi Yamamoto against Chris Cariaso at UFC 130. Ivan Menjivar will now face Pace tomorrow night.

    Wow, if that isn't enough to leave your head spinning then I don't know what would do the job. Let's move forward and take a look at who's on the hot seat...
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    Default Yoshihiro Akiyama

    When Yoshihiro Akiyama first signed with the UFC, most fans and pundits alike were in agreement on the fact that the organization had signed an exciting, entertaining fighter who would offer fellow UFC middleweights a tough night in which they would have to give their all to earn their pay.

    The disagreement lied as to just how much noise he could make*and just*how far Akiyama could climb the ranks of the UFC's middleweight division.

    After three bouts in just over two years, it's easy to see that everyone was dead on when it came to the excitement part. But at 1-2, with his lone win coming against Alan Belcher at UFC 100 in his debut, it's easy to see why people questioned his impact.

    The win against Belcher has been questioned as Akiyama won by split decision, but many feel as though Belcher deserved the nod. Akiyama has been consistent when it comes to entertaining fans as he is three for three in claiming the Fight of the Night bonus.

    The big question here is if he can survive a third loss in a row to Vitor Belfort, even if they throw bombs and have the fans on the edge of their seats.

    If UFC President Dana White is to be believed, then he should be safe as he has been known to tell reporters that he respects guys who come to fight and do everything they can to win and entertain the fans at the same time. No matter what has happened in the past with similar fighters, it would behoove Akiyama to go home victorious tomorrow night.

    He is facing a tough task in the hard-hitting former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Vitor Belfort. The Phenom is coming off a first round KO loss to UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva at UFC 126 in February. Belfort looked very tentative and hesitant to engage Silva and it took one front kick heard 'round the Octagon to put Belfort to sleep.

    Exciting or not, win or lose, Akiyama is in dire need of a victory.
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    Default Jorge Rivera

    At 39 years old and coming off a loss to UFC loudmouth Michael Bisping, Rivera is on a short leash.

    The man always comes to fight and he has taken his talents further than anyone could have ever imagined. But the UFC is a "what have you done for me lately?" organization.

    If he loses, his UFC record would be 6-6 with a 3-3 record in his last six bouts. His wins have come over the likes of Nate Quarry, Rob Kimmons, Nissen Osterneck and Kendall Grove. Three of those guys are no longer with the UFC and Quarry is off promoting his Zombie Cage Fighter line.

    Rivera made himself look very foolish in all of those videos he posted mocking the Brit. They were not funny and very childish and almost did the unthinkable in making people side with Bisping, but The Count made sure to wipe any support he may have mustered by landing a blatant illegal knee to a downed Rivera and then spitting toward Rivera's cornermen.

    Losing to a fighter in only second UFC bout in Constantinos Philippou would not help his case either. He has to win to make sure he has a job, otherwise he may be sent packing.
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    Default Mike Brown

    Mike Brown was on top of the featherweight world from November of 2008 until November 2009. Then he ran into The Jose Aldo Freight Train and lost his WEC Featherweight Championship which has now been turned into the UFC 145-pound title.

    After defeating Urijah Faber, defending his title against Leonard Garcia and then against Faber for a second time, Brown was TKO'ed by Aldo.

    Since that time Brown has gone 2-3 with losses to Manny Gamburyan via second round KO and decision losses to Diego Nunes (split) and Rani Yaha (unanimous).

    Things have not looked well for the soon to be 36-year-old American Top Team member. The last two losses he has sustained have come back to back and it's highly unlikely he can survive a third loss in a row.

    The UFC didn't give him an easy task either as they have matched him against Nam Phan who looked very good on Season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter and in a split-decision loss to Garcia. The loss was questioned and even voted "The Biggest Robbery of the Year" by Sherdog.

    Brown better come to fight because if he is off his game one centimeter Phan will punish him for it.
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    Default Rafael Natal

    This will be the third fight in the UFC for Rafael Natal and up until now he has yet to have his arm raised as victor.

    The Renzo Gracie trained middleweight rode a surprising first round knockout win over former UFC middleweight contender Travis Lutter at a Moosin event in May of 2010.

    His UFC debut came against Rich Attonito, who was on Season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter. Attonito, who is now fighting as a welterweight won by unanimous decision at The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale.

    Next up was Jesse Bongfeldt who was making his UFC debut at UFC 124 last December. The two men fought to a three-round majority draw.

    So with one loss and one draw can Natal afford another loss? He'd be in a lot of trouble at 0-2-1 and may not receive another fight.

    He will face Strikeforce veteran Paul Bradley who took this fight on very short notice. Losing two fights with one coming against a newcomer is not the way you want to start your UFC career.
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