It may be hard to believe, but there doesn't seem to have been a fighter signed from Russia since Ansar Chalangov's brief UFC stint in 2005-2006, when he fought Thiago Alves and Josh Koscheck, losing to both.
There is one exception, since Dennis Siver was born and grew up in Russia, but his career began in Germany and he's never competed in Russia or represented any Russian club. And before anyone mentions them... Andrei Arlovski and Vladimir Matyushenko are both from Belarus.
How come UFC is so cold to Russia? In previous years, one could argue that the talent wasn't there for them to sign perhaps, but it's not the case now. With M-1 and some other Russian promotions now on state television, the ranks are booming with potential major league prospects. Some of the prominent names they should look into include:
FW: Rasul Mirzaev (5-0) - Knocked out former Sengoku Champion Masanori Kanehara
LW: Alexander Sarnavskiy (15-0) - Submitted UFC vet Doug Evans
WW: Shamil Zavurov (18-1) - Beat Sengoku GP runner-up Yasubey Enomoto
Andrey Koreshkov (6-0) - Only 20 years old and already crushing people
MW: Vyacheslav Vasilevsky (15-1) - Top MW in Europe, beat UFC vet Xavier Foupa-Pokam
Andrei Semenov (30-9-2) - Just beat Luigi Fioravanti pillar to post after a three year retirement
HW: Vitaly Minakov (5-0) - 3x Sambo World Champion, 240lbs
What do you think? Should UFC open up the ranks and let some Reds get In The Mix(TM)?
Videos of each fighter after the jump.