UFC President Dana White warned over a massive roster overhaul towards the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021...and it has continued, most notably the winner of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3 winner, Antonio Carlos Junior — Fightful has you covered on the other 11 names released from the promotion and other news from around the world of combat sports.
UFC Releases 12 Fighters, Including Antonio Carlos Junior
The continuation over a roster overhaul, promised by UFC President Dana White has now reached 2021.
13-fight UFC veteran Antonio Carlos Junior is the most notable of names to be released from the promotion.
"Cara de Sapato" lost three consecutive bouts leading back to 2019, being on the wrong end of decision losses to Ian Heinisch, Uriah Hall and Brad Tavares.
The other 11 fighters to be released from the promotion includes Carlton Minus, Spike Carlyle, Jacob Kilburn, Sarah Moras, Peter Barrett, Anthony Ivy, Vinicius Moreira, Cole Williams, Markus Perez, Vanessa Melo and Rhys McKee.
MMA Junkie was first to report the release of Antonio Carlos Junior, Carlton Minus and Rhys McKee.
Video: Paige VanZant And Britain Hart Brawl Ahead Of BKFC Bout
Former UFC strawweight contender Paige VanZant makes her highly-anticipated Bare Knuckle FC debut on February 5 when she faces Britain Hart at "KnuckleMania".
Both women successfully hit the scales ahead of their bout but neither one could wait until their main event, tomorrow night to get their hands on one another.
Hart closed in a bit too closely on VanZant during their face-off, which cause VanZant to grab her by their throat before having to be separated and exchanged several expletives.
VanZant took to Instagram to joke about forgetting what sport she was competing in:
Rafael dos Anjos Comments On Why Conor McGregor No Longer Mentions His Name
Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos is angling for a big money fight against either Conor McGregor or Nate Diaz...but he doesn't think either will take the chance.
Rewind back to 2016, then UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos was set for the biggest fight and payday of his career when he was scheduled to defend his title against the then UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor in the main event of UFC 196.
However, RDA suffered a foot injury and had to pullout of the bout and was famously replaced by Nate Diaz and the rest is history.
Conor McGregor recently suffered the first TKO-loss of his career at UFC 256 against Dustin Poirier. The loss was caused by mainly the leg kicks of Poirier which rendered McGregor motionless and allowed the Lousiana-native to tee off on the brash-Irishman en-route to a second-round TKO victory.
The inability of McGregor to check Poirier's leg kicks leads RDA to believe that McGregor won't fight him and refuses to mention him on social media or in interviews, due to knowing how brutal RDA's leg kicks are.
“I don’t see myself as a good option for Conor,” dos Anjos told Sherdog. "I'm a southpaw, I have a grappling game that is dangerous for him, I use a lot of those calf kicks,” dos Anjos said. “In my opinion, it would be much more interesting if they promote a trilogy with Poirier or Diaz."
“The same works for Diaz. My game just doesn’t fit with his style," said dos Anjos. "The biggest proof for that is that I (defeated) him easily and he never asked for a rematch. I´m a better grappler, better striker and my jiu-jitsu is superior to his. So I understand why he never called my name again.”
Jake Paul Opens As Betting Favorite Over Ben Askren
Former ONE Championship welterweight champion and UFC contender Ben Askren has opened as an underdog in his April 17 boxing match against YouTube sensation Jake Paul.
According to Westgate Vegas, the YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul has opened as a -175 betting favorite and the former UFC contender Ben Askren comes back as a +155 underdog.
Thiago Alves Calls BKFC Run "Refreshing"
Former UFC welterweight title challenger Thiago Alves has seen his career refreshed with his current run in Bare Knuckle FC.
During his successful BKFC debut against Julian Lane, which resulted in a split-decision victory for Alves, the former UFC contender felt refreshed, no longer being in the UFC.
“It was definitely different. I almost kicked in the second round, but once I set in into the new fighting style, I felt very comfortable,” Alves told MMA Junkie.
“Damage wise, compared to MMA, usually in MMA your whole body is messed up," said Alves. "In this one, I had a lot of cuts, especially because of the head butt, but besides that, from the neck down, I felt pretty fresh. My hands were pretty swollen. At this stage of my career, it was very refreshing to have this type of fighting experience. I’m excited. I’m full in. I’m excited to see how much violence I can do in this organization.”
Olivier Aubin-Mercier Says PFL Concept Has "So Much Potential"
Former UFC lightweight Olivier Aubin-Mercier is a big fan of the PFL tournament concept and has his eyes set on becoming the promotion's newest champion.
In April 2021, PFL's newest season will begin and Olivier Aubin-Mercier has been announced as a competitor in the promotion's lightweight tournament...a concept, OAB is a massive fan of.
“I was not thinking about retirement, but it was really hard to take [those losses], for sure,” Aubin-Mercier told Sherdog. “Actually, I thought it was really hard to take three defeats in a row, but then COVID-19 came in. It was a lot harder. I was not planning to retire, but it was tough. The competition I was fighting in the UFC was really high. I think I was on the verge of beating all those guys.”
“The concept with the PFL with the regular season and the tournament format was really interesting,” said OAB. “I think the concept has so much potential. I grew up with 'Mortal Kombat' and all those movies where you have to win the tournament to be the best in the world. I’m also used to tournaments since I did judo when I was younger. I know how it works.”
PFL Announces Welterweight And Light Heavyweight Rosters For 2021 Season
The next season of PFL kicks-off on April 21 with their 2021 tournaments and on Thursday, the promotion announced their welterweight and light heavyweight rosters for the upcoming season.
- Nikolai Aleksakhin (26-5)
- Ray Cooper III (20-7-1)
- Rory MacDonald (21-6-1)
- Magomed Magomedkerimov (27-5)
- David Michaud (18-6)
- Sadibou Sy (8-5-2)
- Joao Seferino (24-9)
Light Heavyweight Division
- Chris Camozzi (25-14)
- Cezar Ferreira (13-8)
- Marthin Hamlet (6-1)
- Jordan Johnson (12-2-1)
- Tom Lawlor (10-7)
- Smealinho Rama (11-5-1)
- Emiliano Sordi (22-8)
- Jordan Young (11-1)
- Dan Spahn (18-7)