Cageside Questions: UFC on Versus 2

How much does Takanori Gomi have left in the tank?

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Gomi's been on a recent slide, losing three of his last five fights.  If he loses to Tyson Griffin, we can add his name to the long list of formerly dominant champions whose talents seem to be slipping away.  This fight is essentially a must win for Gomi if he wants to remain relevant in the lightweight division.  With a win, Gomi could conceivably fight another challenger and be right back in the hunt for a title shot.  A loss means that he's lost four of six fights, and if he does lose it's unlikely that he'll ever make it back near title contention.

How good is Jon "Bones" Jones, and how hard will the UFC push him with a win?

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It's no secret that Jon Jones is one of the most talented prospects in all of MMA.  Jones faces the biggest fight of his life Sunday night for two reasons; because Vladimir Matyushenko will be his toughest opponent to date, and because this is his third main event in a row on free television (counting the TUF 10 finale, where he and Matt Hamill graced the fight posters).  The UFC is clearly ready for Jones to absolutely explode.  They've already pushed him incredibly hard for a 23 year old prospect, as evidenced by the three consecutive headlining fights he's had on free television.  My guess is that if Jones wins, his next fight will be as a co-main event on a large PPV card.  Dana White and Joe Silva know a potential PPV star when they see one, and Jones is definitely that.  Dana White recently said that with a win, Jones will probably next face a 'top 8' light heavyweight, so if 'Bones' walks out of this fight with a win, expect the hype to continue to grow.

If Yushin Okami beats Mark Munoz, will he finally be close to  a title shot?

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Okami is currently 8-2 in the UFC.  If he manages to defeat a tough Mark Munoz, he'll be 9-2.  There aren't many fighters in UFC history who have ever accumulated a record that good without getting a title shot.  Unfortunately for Okami, Vitor Belfort seems certain to be the next challenger for the middleweight crown, and after Belfort the UFC is jammed with contenders like Wanderlei Silva, Chris Leben, and Alan Belcher.  With a potentially gaudy 9-2 record, Okami may very well deserve a title shot, but it's unclear if he'd get one given the state of the division.

Who's in danger of getting cut?

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The UFC's free cards typically feature undercards filled with young talent, but they also frequently feature fighters who are fighting for their place with the company.  There are a number of fighters in danger of being cut loose from the UFC at any event, but this is especially true for cards like UFC on Versus 2.  A quick look at who is in danger with a loss:

Rob Kimmons:  A 2-2 record fighting solely on the undercard.  A loss could send him packing.
Steve Steinbeiss:  0-1 in the UFC, two straight losses would almost guarantee being cut.
Brian Stann:  A loss makes him 2-3 in the UFC and a loser in 4 of his last 6 fights.  He might be safe due to his popularity, but the risk is there.
Mike Massenzio:  1-1 with the UFC, a loss drops him to 1-2 and risks his release.
James Irvin:  If Irvin loses his third straight fight, he's likely gone.
Igor Pokrajac:  Ditto for Igor Pokrajac
Takanori Gomi:  Surprised to see his name?  I don't think it's likely, but if Gomi loses his first two UFC fights consecutively there's always a chance Dana cuts him and plays the "Pride fighters can't cut it in the UFC" card.  With Dana, you never know.

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