The Weight Cutting Chronicles: UFC Fort Lauderdale

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Ion Cutelaba
Ion Cutelaba Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

The UFC is returning to Florida this week, hitting Miami Fort Lauderdale (well technically Sunrise) for UFC on ESPN 3 UFC on ESPN+ 8. Which fighters will be making tough cuts? Let’s take a look behind the curtain.

Like it or not, weight-cutting is deeply rooted in mixed martial arts. MMA adopted its weight-cutting from the sport of wrestling, where it is presumed to be very advantageous to be the biggest and strongest in your weight class. Known as the ‘fight before the fight,’ most UFC fighters cut anywhere from 5-25 pounds, with some fighters even in excess of 30 pounds.

Weight-cutting is the ultimate test of discipline and willpower. Many fighters in the sport consider it very unprofessional to miss weight. In this series, we will shine a light on fighters who cut a massive amount of weight, who have missed weight multiple times in the past, who have made weight-class changes, along with how the weight-cut and weigh-in could affect possible upcoming match-ups. Basically, every aspect of weight-cutting and how it affects the fight game in the UFC.

Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira (20-6-1, 2 NC MMA, 9-4, 1 NC UFC)

Alex Oliveira is a staple of the UFC welterweight division. Oliveira has fought big names in the UFC like, Donald Cerrone, Carlos Condit, and most recently Gunnar Nelson. Alex Oliveira used to be a very long lightweight. Cowboy is 5’11” and possesses a length 77″ reach.  Alex’s slick submissions and dynamic striking are complemented by his physique. When Alex first entered the UFC in 2015, was the first time that he appeared at 155lbs instead of 170lbs, he lost that bout. Cowboy returned to welterweight for his next fight and only returned to lightweight for one other bout and had one bout at a catchweigth of 160lbs.

John “Hands of Stone” Lineker (31-8 MMA, 12-3 UFC)

John isn’t nicknamed Hands of Stone for no reason. The man can hit, hard. Lineker easily has the most punching power in the UFC’s bantamweight division. But this was not always the case. John Lineker used to have a very hard time trying to make 125lbs. At 5’3″ Lineker certainly isn’t necessarily towering over anyone, but he is very thick and carries a lot of muscle. Lineker has missed weight five times total in the UFC. Four times at flyweight and even one time at bantamweight. Lineker, hands down, has one of the worst weight cutting histories in UFC and obviously had to kill his body in order to make weight but was still able to perform when the chips were down. Lineker still has to cut a lot of weight to make 135lbs, as is evidenced from him missing weight at bantamweight too.

Ion “The Hulk” Cutelaba (14-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC)

Ion Cutelaba used to be a heavyweight, and during his stint in the weight class, he stopped more than one of his opponents. The Hulk brought his knockout power down to light heavyweight when he transferred promotions over to the UFC. Before Cutelaba came to the UFC he was in the WWFC where he was smashing heavyweight opponents in the first couple minutes of the first round. However, when The Hulk arrived in the UFC he was immediately thrown to the wolves of the light heavyweight division. Ion has been able to put a few wins together as of late, and in a shallow division like the UFC’s light heavyweight division stringing together a few wins puts you in the title conversation.

Cory Sandhagen (10-1 MMA, 3-0 MMA)

Cory Sandhagen has had three fights in the UFC and he’s had three finishes too. The bantamweight has big power and stands at 5’11” and possesses a 71″ reach. Cory is huge and came down from the featherweight division three fights ago when he entered the UFC. Excessive weight cutting can make you more susceptible to knockouts. Cory is very dangerous and highly skilled, hopefully he has no trouble on the scale at UFC Fort Lauderdale as he looks to prove himself against heavy hitter John Lineker.

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