Normally at the beginning of each month, the UFC does a purge of its roster and releases several of its fighters (or at least updates its database to reflect that). So it is on this 1st of September that we find out more than a dozen competitors are evidently no longer with the promotion. UFCFIGHTERSiNFO runs a script (then publishes it on Twitter) scanning any changes to the roster, so while not official, this has historically proven to be accurate. The 13 released fighters are:
Light Heavyweight: Hans Stringer
Middleweight: Dan Miller, Ildemar Alcantara, Tom Watson
Welterweight: Andrew Craig, Igor Araujo
Lightweight: Anthony Christodoulou, Yosdenis Cedeno
Featherweight: Niklas Backstrom, Aaron Phillips
Bantamweight: Cody Gibson, Royston Wee
Flyweight: Darrell Montague
The script also noted that TUF China’s Wang Sai was pulled from the active roster, but that’s been known for about a year — he’s fought 3 times since his last UFC fight — so it otherwise doesn’t count within this context.
Aside from maybe the Backstrom cut, which we noted last week, nothing else jumps out as particularly surprising or unjustifiable. A basic rundown of the performances of the released fighters by weight class:
- Stringer suffered back-to-back stoppage losses to Ilir Latifi and Fabio Maldonado, with his only win coming in his debut vs. Francimar Barroso by split decision.
- Miller is the longest serving UFC fighter cut from the promotion. The seven-year veteran had lost 4 of his last 5, including a decision loss to Trevor Smith in July following a two-year layoff from the sport. He is the elder brother of UFC lightweight Jim Miller. Alcantara actually has a 4-3 record inside the Octagon, including a win over Albert Tumenov last year, but all of his losses came within the last 5 fights. The Brazilian was dismal in his loss vs. Kevin Casey two months ago and failed to excite in his narrow win against Richardson Moreira in January. Ildemar is the younger brother of bantamweight Iuri Alcantara. Lastly, England’s Watson bows out with a 2-5 UFC record, with his last fight ending in a drab decision loss vs. Chris Camozzi last month in Nashville.
- After a dramatic head kick KO of Rafael Natal, Andrew “Highlight” Craig suffered 4 losses in his ensuing 5 bouts, with his welterweight debut vs. Lyman Good ending in a 2nd round TKO stoppage in San Diego. Later on that same Fight Night card, Brazil’s Araujo lost a decision to Sean Strickland, giving him consecutive losses after opening his UFC career with two wins.
- Greece’s Christodoulou looked … well he looked bad. He was KO’d by Mairbek Taisumov and then submitted by Scott Holtzman, and he was scarcely competitive each time out. Cuba’s Cedeno lost a decision to Cody Pfister, which gave him 3 losses in 4 UFC outings.
- As noted earlier, Swedish prospect Backstrom won in an upset against Tom Niinimaki last year, but then suffered a shock loss to Mike Wilkinson in Sweden and then lost by decision to Noad Lahat in June. Phillips went 0-2 vs. Sam Sicilia and Matt Hobar, and actually competed (and lost) outside the promotion in February, so this is not technically “new” but it is to me.
- Gibson went 1-3 in his 4 UFC fights, with his last two performances ending in losses to Douglas Silva and Manny Gamburyan. Wee won his first two UFC fights but then was knocked out by Ning Guangyou in May, giving him his first professional loss.
- Lastly, the deeply disappointing Montague came into the UFC with high hopes of contention, only to end with a trio of losses to John Dodson, Kyoji Horiguchi, and Willie Gates.
Bloody Elbow’s Zane Simon will have more analysis on these cuts later in the week in an episode of “Cutting Room Floor”, which will stream live on Youtube.
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