Post-UFC Fight Night 58: On the Chopping Block

mike rhodesThe Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was live last night (Dec. 20, 2014) from Brazil with UFC Fight Night 58. From top to bottom, the card featured 12 bouts, including nine finishes. Now, after the entertaining night of scraps, let’s take a look at which of the evening’s athletes we may no longer see compete inside the Octagon… ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK Mike Rhodes A third straight disappointing outing by Mike Rhodes, who is now 0-3 inside the Octagon and 6-4 in his professional mixed martial arts career. He earned his UFC contract with a unanimous decision over Alan Jouban under the RFA banner, and Jouban later joined him in the UFC, but unlike him, he has gone on to impess. Rhodes first dropped a unanimous decision to fellow promotional newcomer George Sullivan in his Octagon debut, then putting jitters aside he dropped another unanimous decision against Robert Whittaker. He had an opportunity to save his spot on the UFC’s welterweight roster this past weekend in Brazil when he took on the Brazilian Erick Silva, but unfortunately the Duke Roufus product came up very short. Silva quickly went for a takedown after the opening bell and Rhodes made the mistake of countering with a guillotine rather than defending the takedown, which proved to be fatal. The Brazilian efficiently advanced positions and sunk in an arm triangle choke, and while Rhodes did a good job of defending, there was nothing to be done. He refused to tap and ultimately went to sleep, losing the bout via technical submission. After three unsuccessful and poor performances, I believe it is safe to assume that Rhodes will be released from the promotion. However, I think if he puts together three solid wins in a row on the regional circuit, UFC matchmaker Joe Silva will give him another ring. Igor Pokrajac The Croatian has not been able to get his hand raised in five consecutive UFC bouts, three of those defeats being due to finishes. It is rare for a fighter to get so many opportunities in this organization, but he was lucky enough to be getting them. Though, “lucky” is a funny word to use in this situation, because it seemed obvious that he was being fed to fighters the promotion wanted to give easy wins to. While they kept him around, I don’t think they planned on keeping him around much longer, so after this past Saturday night’s first round TKO loss at the hands of Marcos de Lima, I think it is safe to say that we have seen the last of Pokrajac inside the Octagon. Tom Niinimaki The Finnish grappler was impressive in his promotional debut, defeating Brazil’s Rani Yahya via decision, but his luck ended there. His next/last three bouts have all resulted in losses, and he was finished in all of them, and in the same fashion, no less, by submission. After being finished in three consecutive fights, I think the UFC will cut their ties with the 32-year old, sending him back to the regional circuit, where he will look to put together another winning streak, and perhaps ponder a move down to 135 pounds.

Written by Gabe Killian

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