Moves of the Month: The UFC's February review

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

February passed by in a flash, and that means that it's time to review the changes to the UFC roster over the last 28 days.

Alright, I gave a big rundown of the format for the first installment of this series, so I'm going to make this a little more brief. These are the UFC roster moves from the month of February, all the signings, releases, and weight class changes for the 465 fighters currently under contract.

Signings: As always, starting off with the good news. In the first quarter of the month the UFC picked up a whole slew of fighters, including some well known and not so well known names. The biggest signings were PXC bantamweight champion Michinori Tanaka, KSW light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz, and WSOF light heavyweight (and former UFC fighter) Anthony Johnson. Johnson is set to make his return against Phil Davis at UFC 172.

Also signed were Mark Eddiva, Douglas Silva de Andrade, Ernest Chaves, and Yosdenis Cedeno. Eddiva made the most of his debut by defeating Jumabieke Tuerxun in Macao, de Andrade dropped a one sided decision to Zubaira Tukhugov at UFC Fight Night 36, and Chavez defeated Cedeno when the two opened UFC 170.

Over the middle of the February, the UFC picked up one major young talent and a slew of highly respectable newcomers. RFA bantamweight champ Pedro Munhoz was the big signing as he stepped in on short notice against Raphael Assuncao at UFC 170. Joining him on the card were light heavyweight Patrick Cummins and bantamweight Cody Gibson. Cummins dropped a quick loss to a potential title contender in Daniel Cormier and Gibson found himself on the wrong side of a decision after stepping in against Aljamain Sterling on short notice as well.

The upper divisions got a bit of fresh blood as well, after the UFC picked up heavyweights Ruan Potts and Jack May, and light heavyweights Hans Stringer and Steve Bosse. Potts is scheduled to meet Soa Palelei in Cincinnati and May will face fellow newcomer Derrick Lewis at UFC on Fox 11. Bosse has been penciled in for a fight with Ryan Jimmo on the TUF Nations Finale and Stringer will meet Francimar Barroso at UFC Fight Night Natal.

Finally the UFC dipped in to European waters as the month came to a close with the pickup of two Cage Warriors champs in Jim Alers and Neil Seery as well as young prospects Alan Omer and Viktor Pesta. Alers will make his UFC debut against Omer in Abu Dhabi and Neil Seery will slot in as a late replacement against Brad Pickett on next weeks Fight Night card in London.

Cuts: There wasn't a lot of bad news for February, but when it was bad it was really bad. Longtime light heavyweight Thiago Silva was arrested last month and charged with attempted murder after an altercation with his ex-wife and his coach that started at his gym and ended up with him barricaded in his house and surrounded by officers. Silva's ex-wife would later claim that an addiction to cocaine was the driving factor behind his violent behavior. Following Silva's arrest, he was released from the UFC.

Changes: Not many fighters changed weight class last month. The most notable is Rani Yahya, who announced his return to the bantamweight division after a six fight UFC stint that saw him go 4-2 at 145 lbs. He is now scheduled to meet Johnny Bedford in Abu Dhabi on April 11th.

The other weight class related announcement came from Alan Belcher, who gave a fairly definitive statement that while he is not interested in fighting right now, he will be looking to return to the UFC later this year in the light heavyweight division. His status in MMA is a little murky. He's more or less retired at the moment, but he seems to have a somewhat solid plan for returning to the sport soon. So, while it's not a major announcement, I wouldn't be surprised to see him at 205 lbs within the year.

That's the news and notes from February. We already have the first UFC signing of March, so keep you eyes peeled for all the latest roster moves right here, on Bloody Elbow.

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