It looks like the UFC roster has been trimmed again. According to a report from Tom Feely, 13 fighters have been removed from the UFC’s official website. This typically signals a release from the promotion, or in some cases, the fighter’s contract expiring.
The two biggest names on there are former Invicta champion and UFC title challenger Tonya Evinger, along with talented lightweight Mairbek Taisumov.
The rest of the fighters removed from the roster are as follows: Dong Hyun Ma, Chance Rencountre, Matthew Lopez, Cyril Asker, Khalid Murtazaliev, Talita Bernardo, Jodie Esquibel, Kyle Prepolec, Marcos Mariano, Isabela de Padua, and Zhenhong Lu.
Related: Comprehensive list of current UFC fighters
Prepolec has since acknowledged the release on social media:
Was fun while it lasted once everything is done and settled I’ll get the ball rolling and get back in there. Thank you @ufc @UFC_CA for the opportunity. I’ll prove myself worthy again. Time to get back to work. Time to be better then ever before.— Kyle Prepolec (@KPrepolec) March 19, 2020
Most of these fighters are on losing streaks, have losing records in the UFC, or are on lengthy USADA suspensions (Murtazaliev and Padua).
This includes the 38-year-old Evinger (19-8 1 NC), who challenged for the vacant UFC featherweight title in 2017, losing to an all-time great in Cris Cyborg in the third round. She also dropped her next two bouts against Aspen Ladd and Lina Lansberg prior to the release.
There are a couple surprises though, with Taisumov (27-6) clearly being the biggest shocker on the list. The talented Russian has amassed an 8-2 record within the UFC. He dropped a decision to Carlos Diego Ferreira on his last fight, which ended an impressive six-fight winning streak dating back to 2014. The only knock on Taisumov all these years has been his inability to get a US visa. All of his UFC bouts have come on international events, which also hindered his chances at facing top ranked opponents.
Also somewhat of a surprise is Rencountre (14-2, 2-2 UFC). He dropped his last bout to Lyman Good last December, but had two quality wins prior to that in the same year.
Zhenhong Lu was never able to fight for the UFC, and had to pull out of his one and only booking at UFC Shenzhen back in 2019.