It looks like the hammer has been dropped on the UFC's lower tier of featherweights and bantamweights. A total of nine names have been removed from the online roster, which generally means they've been cut by the promotion. We've reported on a couple of those releases this week, but just to recap, these are the fighters whose profiles are no longer there:
-- Issei Tamura (7-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC). The Japanese bantamweight knocked out Zhang Tiequan in his debut at UFC 144, but that was the extent of his success with the promotion. Consecutive KO losses to Raphael Assuncao and T.J. Dillashaw have seemingly sent him packing.
-- Reuben Duran (8-5-1, 1-3 UFC). Duran dropped his debut to Takeya Mizugaki in March 2011. The bantamweight's only win came against Francisco Rivera two years ago at the TUF 13 Finale. After a significant layoff, Duran returned to the cage late last year, and was KO'd by Hugo Viana in just 3 minutes. His final fight in the UFC (for now) was a unanimous decision loss to
Skeletor George Roop at UFC 158.
-- Sam Sicilia (11-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC). The TUF 15 alum last fought on April 13th at the TUF 17 Finale, losing an entertaining unanimous decision to Maximo Blanco. Sicilia's other defeat came against Rony Jason by TKO, while his sole win was a KO over Cristiano Marcello.
-- Kurt Holobaugh (9-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC). Holobaugh, who was a short notice replacement, lost to Pat Healy in January on the final Strikeforce show. He dropped to featherweight for his UFC debut against Steven Siler, but like the Healy fight, he lost by unanimous decision.
-- Pablo Garza (12-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC). Garza confirmed his release two nights ago, but now his name has been removed from the UFC's list of fighters. He's best known for his tremendous flying knee KO against Fredson Paixao in 2010, a fight that is officially the 1st ever UFC featherweight bout. Garza followed that up with a flying triangle choke victory over Yves Jabouin at UFC 129, but his early success soon dissipated, as he lost 3 of his next 4 fights, including a 1st round submission loss to Diego Brandao in his final UFC fight.
-- Antonio Carvalho (15-6 MMA, 2-2 UFC). Carvalho confirmed his release on Twitter earlier this week. The Canadian lost to Felipe Arantes at UFC 142, but followed that up with wins over Daniel Pineda and Rodrigo Damm. His last fight against Darren Elkins saw him lose by TKO, but it could be argued that the stoppage was a tad early. Even ignoring the merits of the stoppage, he's the only fighter among the nine who won at least two of his last three fights.
-- Justin Lawrence (4-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC). Lawrence won both FOTN and KOTN honors with his 3rd round head kick win over John Cofer at the TUF 15 Finale last June. His losses came via TKO against Max Holloway and by submission against Daniel Pineda. At just 22 years of age he is the youngest fighter on this list.
-- Bart Palaszewski (36-17 MMA, 1-3 UFC). Palaszewski finished his WEC career at lightweight and entered the UFC as a featherweight. The 29-year-old KO'd Tyson Griffin at UFC 137, but lost his ensuing three fights against Hatsu Hioki (UD), Diego Nunes (UD), and Cole Miller (SUB).
-- Leonard Garcia (15-11-1 MMA, 2-7 UFC). Self explanatory.
I should note that all of the names removed from the UFC's roster are EXCLUSIVELY from this master list. Some of their names still appear when you search by weight class, but they've historically kept certain profiles of previously released fighters on their website.
UPDATE: Garcia has tweeted confirmation of his release.
UPDATE: Bart Palaszewski says he is indeed gone from the promotion.