February’s UFC Chop List: 14 Fighters Removed from Roster

George RoopThe Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has dropped 14 competitors from its roster. Below is the list of fighters who did not make it through the latest round of the promotion’s chopping block… THE CHOPPED Danny Castillo Lightweight It was “Last Call” for Castillo at UFC on FOX 17 a few weeks ago, where he dropped a split decision to Nik Lentz and fell to four straight losses. Being 1-5 in his past six bouts and on a four fight skid, it makes sense that the promotion has parted ways with the longtime Zuffa veteran. It was an especially easy decision to make, in my opinion, because the loss to Lentz was one of the worst performances of his career. Known for his stellar cardio, Castillo, faded early in that bout, which made me think that he already has one foot out the door. Now, I think Castillo will either hang up the gloves or try his hand in Bellator/WSOF. I think retirement is a realistic option for him, as he has business ventures outside of fighting. Mike Pierce Welterweight Pierce returned from an extended injury layoff at The Ultimate Fighter Season 22 Finale nearly two months ago, where he suffered a unanimous decision loss against Ryan LaFlare and fell to a two-fight skid, including a first round heel-hook submission loss to Rousimar Palhares, which forced him out of action and resulted in the Brazilian being fired from the promotion. Pierce has been a six-year UFC veteran and has posted a 9-5 record in 14 bouts with the promotion, so it came as a bit of a surprise to me to see him getting released after two-straight fights, especially considering he was coming off an extended injury layoff which was caused inside of their Octagon. Castillo lost four straight fights before he was released and it only took two for Pierce, which does not make sense to me considering the aforementioned fact, plus the fact that Castillo and Pierce are very similar fighters. Neither of them are considered “entertaining” by any means, but the UFC kept one of them around as long as possible, while releasing the other as soon as possible. This leads me to believe there is behind the scenes favoritsm going on, but that should come as no surprise to anybody. Konstantin Erokhin Heavyweight The Russian big man made his promotional debut nearly a year ago on the heels of a nine-fight winning streak, incuding knockouts of Dave Huckaba, Richard Odoms and Sokoudjou and a unanimous decision over Brett Rogers. He took on Viktor Pesta as a heavy betting favorite in the match-up and lost the bout via unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards following three rounds of action. In his next outing inside the Octagon, he took on Brazilian veteran Gabriel Gonzaga lost another unanimous decision following a lackluster 15-minutes of action, or lack thereof. After back to back losses inside the Octagon, it makes sense that the UFC has decided to part ways with the Russian heavyweight, but personally I think they should have given him one more chance, considering he was not finished in either fight and the fact that the division is razor-thin and he would be one of the best heavyweights outside of the UFC. If a heavyweight like Ruan Potts gets three chances and gets finished in every fight, I don’t see why Erokhin would not. Steve Kennedy Welterweight Kennedy made his UFC debut in June of last year at UFC Fight Night 69, taking on Peter Sobotta and losing the bout via rear naked choke submission in the very first round of action. In his second Octagon outing, he took on Richard Walsh and lost a unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards following three closely contested rounds of action. Following two straight defeats, Kennedy will not have a chance at earning his first UFC win, as the promotion as opted to release him from his contract. Marcin Wrzosek Featherweight This is a cut I do not agree with at all, because “The Polish Zombie” only had one fight in the UFC, against Julian Erosa at December’s TUF 22 Finale, and he lost it via controversial split decision. In my opinion, he won that fight, and following the split decision defeat, should have received another fight at the very least. The UFC needs European fighters, and Wrzosek is a decent Polish prospect, so it makes no sense to me why they would part ways with him after he received a screwing from the judges. Hayder Hassan Welterweight Hassan took on Blackzilian product Kamar Usman in his UFC debut at the TUF 21 Finale and lost the bout via second round rear naked choke submission. The American Top Team fighter took on another Blackzilian product in his next outing inside the Octagon, and he lost that bout via D’Arce choke technical submission in the very first round of action. Now following two consecutive submission defeats inside the Octagon, it makes sense that the promotion has opted to part ways with the 33-year old fighter. Valmir Lazaro Lightweight The Brazilian is coming off a split decision loss against fellow Brazilian Michel Prazeres at UFC Fight Night 78 back in November. The loss put him at 1-2 inside the Octagon, including a split decision win over James Krause and a closely contested unanimous decision loss against the undefeated TUF 15 veteran James Vick. This is another move by the UFC that comes as a bit of a surprise, as I think Lazaro is a solid 155-pounder and does not deserve to be cut without losing any consecutive bouts. I do not agree with this decision by the UFC and expect we will be seeing the Brazilian in Bellator/WSOF in the coming months. Steve Montgomery Middleweight The American Top Team product suffered a first round knockout against Tony Sims in his promotional debut, and dropped a unanimous decision against Dan Kelly in his next outing. After back to back losses inside the Octagon in poor performances, it comes as no surprise that “The Creepy Weasel” has been let go by the UFC. I believe he will sign with either Bellator or WSOF, but I don’t believe he will find success with either promotion. Leo Kuntz Lightweight Kuntz made his promotional debut on the heels of a 15-fight undefearted streak against Islam Makhachev and was submitted by rear naked choke in the second round of action. He took on Korea’s Tae Hyun Bng for his next outing inside the Octagon and lost that bout via split decision after three closely contested rounds of action. Now following two poor performances in the UFC resulting in back to back defeats, the promotion has opted to part ways with him, and I believe it was the right to move to make, as I don’t think Kuntz is a UFC-calibre 155-pound fighter. Marcio “Lyoto” Alexandre Welterweight “Lyoto” made his UFC debut at The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil Season 3 Finale, where he took on Warlley Alves in the tournament finals and lost the bout via guillotine choke submission at the beginning of the third and final round of action. The Brazilian took on Tim Means in his next Octagon outing and lost a split decision after three rounds of action. His last UFC appearance came at December’s UFC 194, where he dropped a unanimous decision against The Ultimate Fighte Season 11 winner Court McGee. Alexandre entered the promotion as an undefeated welterweight but has suffered three straight defeats and will not have a chance at picking up his first UFC win. The 26-year old will likely return to the Brazilian regional circuit, rack up a few wins and try to make it back to the big show, and I think he has a fairly decent chance of making that happen. Akbarh Arreola Lightweight The Mexican made his promotional debut against Brazil’s Thiago Trator and lost the bout via unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards following three rounds of action. In his next outing inside the Octagon, he took on veteran Yves Edwards and defeated him via armbar submission inside of the very first round of action. Following that bout, Arreola faced Brazilian veteran Francisco Trinaldo and lost on the judges’ scorecards again by unanimous decision, and his most recent Octagon outing came at UFC 193 back in November, where he suffered a TKO (doctor stoppage) against Australia’s Jake Matthews between the second and third rounds. After getting the better of Matthews in the opening frame, he lost the second round and the bout was stopped before the third. Now following back to back losses in the UFC and being 1-3 in the promotion, it makes sense that the UFC has opted to part ways with the Mexican fighter, though I would not have minded seeing him get another chance. Scott Jorgensen Bantamweight “Young Guns” has finally been released by the UFC after a three fight losing streak and going 1-6 in his last seven Octagon appearances, and 2-8 in his last 10. I think this is a cut that makes all the sense in the world and I would have been shocked to see Jorgensen get another fight. I think it is likely we will be seeing “Young Guns” inside the Bellator or WSOF cage within the year. George Roop Bantamweight Roop has received his walking papers from the UFC after going 4-6 in his second sting with the promotion. He went 1-2 in his last three outings, wit a first round knockout loss to Rob Font and a unanimous decision to Takeya Mizugaki. Roop has been a solid veteran and has put up some great performances inside the Octagon, most notably scoring TKO stoppages of Josh Grispi and Brian Bowles. I can see why the UFC decided to release him, but Roop has been a solid veteran and I would have been alright with him getting another fight, especially considering the fact that they kept Jorgensen around so long. Yui Chul Nam Featherweight “The Korean Bulldozer” has received his pink slip from the promotion after a 1-2 run that saw him take a split decision over Kazuki Tokudome and drop a pair of split decisions to Philippe Nover and Mike de la Torre, though many felt he was robbed in the Nover decision. Personally, I would have liked to have seen Nam get another shot, but I don’t think the UFC is thrilled about a guy who went to a split decision in all of his Octagon appearances, so it makes sense that they opted to part ways with the 34-year-old.

Written by Gabe Killian

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