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UFC Fight Night 27: Who’s Under The Most Pressure

UFC Fight Night 27 will take place on Wednesday, August 28 from Indianapolis. To get you ready for the event, here is a brief rundown of the fighters that will under the most pressure when they step into Octagon.

Roger Bowling

Roger Bowling began his professional MMA career on a 7-0 run. Bowling went to 8-0 when he earned a technical decision victory in his Strikefore debut. Bowling was awarded the victory in that bout after he was poked in the eye by Bobby Voelker and unable to continue in the third round.

When the two fighters faced off in a rematch, it was Voelker that had his hand raised in victory, earning a second round TKO victory. Fast-forward to today and Bowling??s 8-0 start has deteriorated to 11-4.

Bowling dropped from welterweight to lightweight for his last fight, his UFC debut. Despite showing glimpses of extremely powerful striking, he was dropped in the second round of that contest by a single punch from Anthony Njokuani.

The defeat was the second consecutive loss for Bowling. It??s doubtful Bowling will be able to keep his job in a deep division if he drops his August 28 fight against Abel Trujillo.

Jason High

Jason High??s first go round with the UFC was brief, lasting just one fight. His second stint with the promotion has lasted a bit longer, but we won??t know how much longer until his upcoming fight against James Head comes to an end.

High??s first fight with the UFC took place in March 2010. High lost a unanimous decision to Charlie Brenneman in that contest, and was released from the promotion. After running off seven consecutive victories, three with Strikeforce, High was given another shot inside the Octagon. Unfortunately, in that bout he was caught by Erick Silva in a reverse triangle armbar and submitted in 71 seconds.

If High wants to avoid another short stay on the UFC roster, he is in need of a victory in Indianapolis.

Hatsu Hioki

You could argue that Hatsu Hioki should not be under pressure heading into UFC Fight Night 27. After all, his last fight, a loss to Clay Guida, was one of those fights that could have gone either way, and considering the fight was in Guida??s hometown of Chicago, well, some home cooking may have come into play.

Alas, Hioki did not win that contest, and as such he is 0-2 in his last two fights and 2-2 overall in the UFC. If Hioki loses to Darren Elkins in Indianapolis, don??t expect the UFC decision makers to show him any mercy.

Brandon Thatch

We??ve all heard the saying, ??you only get one chance to make a first impression.? On August 28, Brandon Thatch will get the chance to make his first impression on the UFC when he makes his promotional debut against Justin Edwards.

Thatch comes to the UFC with a record of 9-1. His only fight to go the distance was his sole defeat, which also happened to be his second professional contest. Thatch has finished six opponents by knockout and three by submission. Every one of his victories has ended in the first round.

Papy Abedi

Hopes were high when Papy Abedi made his UFC debut. He entered the promotion with a record of 8-0, with all but one of those victories coming by way of stoppage.

Helping the hype was Abedi??s personality. He was confident, bordering on cocky, the type of fighter the UFC loves to promote. The problem for Abedi was that swagger didn??t show itself once he stepped inside the Octagon.

Abedi dropped his first two fights in the UFC, losing to both Thiago Alves and James Head via first round submission. The fights were brief, and Abedi looked positively pedestrian in his efforts.

Abedi managed to grind out a split decision win over Besam Yousef in his third UFC contest, most likely avoiding his release.

On Wednesday, Abedi will head back to the middleweight ranks when he meets Dylan Andrews. A loss in Indianapolis and odds are good that Abedi won??t get a fourth fight in the UFC.

Brad Tavares

Brad Tavares is 10-1 in his professional MMA career, and currently riding a three-fight winning streak with the UFC. On Wednesday, he??ll look to extend that streak to four when he meets Bubba McDaniel in Indianapolis.

Tavares is the biggest favorite on the UFC Fight Night 27 card. That fact probably means very little to him, but a fourth consecutive win in the middleweight division could earn him a shot at a top ten opponent in his next outing. That??s a new kind of pressure for the 25-year-old Tavares.

Erik Perez

The UFC??s marketing department has never been subtle. The most recent example of this fact is the push that Conor McGregor received prior to his bout at UFC Fight Night 26.

Prior to the McGregor, the UFC was very high on Erik Perez. The reason the UFC is behind these two fighters is simple; they represent a market that the UFC wants to break into. McGregor has Ireland covered for the promotion, while Perez can help the UFC break through in Mexico.

Perez??s hype train got a bit off the tracks when he suffered an injury that knocked him out of a fight against Johnny Bedford that was scheduled for April of this year.

A healthy Perez will face Takeya Mizugaki on Wednesday, and the pressure will be on the 23-year-old fighter. Perez (13-4) is on a three fight UFC winning streak. Each of those fights has ended in the first round, with Perez earning two knockouts and one submission. A win over Mizugaki, and we can expect the UFC marketing team to redouble their efforts in pushing Perez on the public. A loss, and it??s back to the clunky marketing of Cain Velasquez, a man born in America, as the first Mexican UFC champion.

Court McGee

Court McGee won season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter with a rear naked choke submission victory over Kris McCray. He followed up that victory with wins over Ryan Jensen and Dongi Yang.

When the UFC stepped up McGee??s level of competition he struggled, dropping decisions to Costa Philippou and Nick Ring. McGee bounced back in his next fight, earning a unanimous decision over Josh Neer.

On Wednesday, McGee will face fellow TUF winner Robert Whittaker. A win in this bout and McGee can begin to work himself back up the welterweight ladder, a loss and McGee falls to preliminary card fighter, at best.

Kelvin Gastelum

Let??s be honest, not many people picked Kelvin Gastelum to defeat Uriah Hall and win the 17th season of The Ultimate Fighter. He did and now the UFC will turn its attention to Gastelum to see what he does next.

For starters, Gastelum will drop to welterweight for his fight on the UFC Fight Night 27 card. He??ll also face a replacement opponent, as Brian Melancon will step in to take the spot of the injured Paulo Thiago.

Dropping to a new weight division, facing a replacement opponent, and having high expectations placed upon him after the win over Hall will all place a heavy burden on the shoulders of Gastelum. This is one of those situations where the UFC and its fans find out what a fighter is made of.

Donald Cerrone

Donald Cerrone has been close to earning a UFC lightweight title shot on two occasions. He fell short both times, first losing a unanimous decision to Nate Diaz and more recently falling to Anthony Pettis via liver kick TKO.

Following the loss to Pettis, Cerrone brought in a sports psychologist to help him get to the next level. His first fight after enlisting that help was a unanimous decision win over K.J. Noons. He??ll take the next step in the process in Indianapolis when he faces Rafael dos Anjos in the evening??s co-main event.

A win on Wednesday won??t earn a title shot for Cerrone, but a loss could cost him one.

Carlos Condit and Martin Kampmann

This one is a no-brainer.

Both these fighters are coming off losses, in the big picture that fact matters very little in the UFC. Carlos Condit and Martin Kampmann are two fighters that (usually) deliver the type of fights that they UFC loves to promote; action packed and going for broke. A win here, and the victor could be in line for the next shot at the UFC welterweight title.

There are a lot of moving parts in the welterweight division top ten right now. With that in mind, I would expect Condit and Kampmann to come out looking to make an impression with the UFC matchmakers so that their names are on to top of the list when the next UFC welterweight title fight is booked.