The September 2011 UFC Chopping Block

jake shields

Summer has ended us with the passing of Labor Day and as we enter into the fall season for the UFC, many fights are on the horizon that could set 2012 up to be one of the biggest and most entertaining groups of matches in all of the weight divisions. Compiled below are a few select men who may be receiving walking papers or need to move down to Strikeforce if they cannot produce victories in their matches; this is the September 2011: Chopping Block

JAKE SHIELDS: Entering the UFC on a six-year winning streak after winning championships in multiple companies, the American Jiu Jitsu fighter was regarded as the man to beat GSP. After a disappointing debut win against Martin Kampmann and then losing for the first time in more than 15 fights, Shields faces off against Jake Ellenberger in New Orleans later this month. Experience will be his biggest strength in the fight but Ellenberger is no joke and as an up and coming welterweight, beating Shields will silence all those who called him the next big thing at 170 and could send him back to fight again for the Strikeforce organization he walked away from last year.

MATT HUGHES: At one time he was the most dominant man in the UFC and rightfully deserves the recognition and respect as a hall of fame fighter; going against the younger Josh Koscheck (fill in replacement for Diego Sanchez) will see Hughes tested in deep water. Coming off of a knockout loss to BJ Penn last November, the Iowa wrestler will need to be prepared for the heavy hands of his opponent and look for the opening to slam his way to victory in order to stay relevant and not allow him to become the stepping stone for fighters on the move. No way does Hughes get released but a loss would surely get him a one on one retirement talk with Dana White.

Nate Diaz is 3-5 over his last 8 bouts

NATE DIAZ: Winning the fifth season of the Ultimate Fighter, Diaz went on to win five consecutive bouts in the lightweight division until he met Clay Guida. Being dominated in wrestling by Guida, Joe Stevenson and Gray Maynard saw the Cesar Gracie fighter move to welterweight where he began another successful run until meeting Dong Hyun Kim and Rory McDonald. Short story – he is not good against wrestlers and his move back to lightweight will have him matched against Japanese MMA star and wrestler, Takanori Gomi. This fight is necessary for both men to stay on the roster but a loss for Diaz could have his bags packed on his way home to the 209.

MARK HUNT: Signed by Zuffa on a five fight losing skid, hopes were not too high for the Samoan and after having his elbow popped by Sean McCorkle, hopes grew even dimmer. Knocking out Chris Tuscherer earlier this year gave him his first win over four years. Standing across from him is the former IFL heavyweight champion Ben Rothwell at UFC 135. This is a do or die situation for Hunt, losing here would signal his exit and perhaps he could be a force within ProElite or Bellator if released from contract.

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