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Iuri Alcantara among four fighters released by the UFC

The longtime Brazilian bantamweight appears to have gotten his walking papers, along with Mara Romero Borella, Jeff Hughes, and Khadis Ibragimov.

UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen v Alcantara Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

With another set of Contender Series events on the horizon, the UFC has an ever expanding roster in need of some serious balance. So far in 2020, the promotion has seen their number of contracted athletes balloon up to around 650, a significant jump from previous years. Along with the promotion’s scouting endeavors, the COVID-19 pandemic has required a regular stream of last-minute acquisitions. Any fighter in the right place at the right time could find themselves with a ticket to the Octagon in their hands.

But, as the roster has grown, Dana White has been quick to remind fans and fighters that a correction was coming.

“It’s been like this for 20 years. Every once in a while, you’ll see a huge cut,” White recently told reporters after an episode of his Contender Series prospect show. “We’ll go through and, you know, there’ll be 14-15 guys cut in a week. Stuff like that. That’s just the nature of the beast.”

Whether this is the start of a bigger cut in earnest, or merely a reaction to recent performances remains to be seen, but MMA Fighting reports that the UFC has just released four fighters from the promotion’s roster: Irui Alcantara, Jeff Hughes, Mara Romero Borella, and Khadis Ibragimov.

Alcantara is the longest contracted, and most notable, of those names—having joined the UFC out of the company’s WEC acquisition way back 2011. While he never got a chance to compete for UFC gold, he stepped into the Octagon with former contenders Urijah Faber and Wilson Reis on his way to a 10-7 (1 NC) record with the promotion. Alcantara hasn’t competed since a 2018 loss to Cory Sandhagen, which he dropped via TKO after nearly submitting the Team Elevation talent in the first round.

Hughes, Borella, and Ibragimov are all much more recently active fighters for the UFC, having all stepped into the cage within the last 30 days. In fact, Hughes and Ibragimov both competed just last Saturday on the early prelims of UFC 253. Hughes lost his fight to TUF champ Juan Espino via first round submission, taking his Octagon record to 0-3 (1 NC). While Ibragimov dropped an ugly unanimous decision to Danilo Marques, bringing him to 0-4 under the Endeavor/Zuffa banner.

Borella entered the UFC with a win over Kalindra Faria back in 2017, but has only one victory since—a split decision over Taila Santos in February of last year. She’s currently on a four-fight losing skid, having most recently been submitted by Mayra Bueno Silva on the undercard of Colby Covington vs. Tyron Woodley.

While none of these roster moves are particularly surprising, it seems likely that bigger moves may be forthcoming from the UFC, as they will likely look to keep their talent obligations at a manageable level heading in to 2021.

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