Sunday, June 26, 2022

Smolka & Michailidis Among Five Fighters Who’ve Departed UFC

Bantamweight veteran Louis Smolka is the most notable of five names who’ve reportedly exited the UFC, with three fighters who competed at UFC Vegas 56 this past weekend also departing.

While it’s unclear whether the UFC has parted ways with these athletes due to contract expirations or cuts, UFC Roster Watch on Twitter has reported that all five have been removed from the promotion’s books.

Perhaps the main interest will be the future of Smolka. “Da Last Samurai” has had two stints in the UFC, the first of which came between 2014 and 2016. Despite a 5-1 start, four straight defeats, including to Brandon Moreno and Ray Borg, saw him released.

After three regional victories brought him back to the Octagon, Smolka went 3-4 in his second UFC tenure, most recently losing back-to-back outings against Vince Morales and Davey Grant.

After news of his exit broke, Smolka took to Twitter to express excitement at the possibility of exploring free agency in the coming weeks and months.

Also to go is lightweight Frank Camacho. The former PXC champion arrived in the UFC with an impressive 20-4 record. Despite an inconsistent 2-4 start in the Octagon, “The Crank” had been tasked with tough competition, falling to defeats against Li Jingliang, Drew Dober, and Geoff Neal at welterweight, as well as to Beneil Dariush at 155 pounds.

But after consecutive first-round TKO setbacks against Justin Jaynes and Manuel Torres, Camacho’s time is up in the UFC, with the 33-year-old ending his Octagon stint at 2-6.

Three UFC Vegas 56 Fighters Meet The Door

Joining Smolka and Camacho outside MMA’s premier promotion are three defeated fighters from this past weekend’s UFC Vegas 56 card.

The first, women’s strawweight Felice Herrig, is expected. The veteran fighter fell to a fourth straight defeat during Saturday’s prelims. Having lost to Michelle Waterson and Virna Jandiroba since a 2018 defeat against Karolina Kowalkiewicz, “Lil Bulldog” looked to get back in the win column by avenging her past loss to the Pole.

Instead, the 37-year-old was submitted in the second round, a result that has seemingly marked her final appearance in the cage. After the defeat, Herrig left her gloves inside the Octagon, and later confirmed her retirement at the post-fight press conference.

Also departing is Alex da Silva. The once-highly touted Brazilian returned this past weekend after nearly two years on the sidelines. Marking consecutive losses for the first time in his career, “Leko” fell on the wrong side of a majority decision verdict, with a point deduction for multiple fence grabs not helping his cause.

While he was perhaps unlucky not to leave the cage with a draw, da Silva’s performance certainly wasn’t what many had expected. At the age of 26, the Brazilian will look to rebound on the regional scene and perhaps earn back his place on the roster soon enough.

Finally, Andreas Michailidis’ desire to bounce back with a venture into a third weight class didn’t go to plan. The welterweight debutant was the victim of a mightily-impressive debut from Rinat Fakhretdinov.

With his previous defeat coming to world-class kickboxer Alex Pereira, the Greek fighter’s two-fight skid has certainly not come against low-level opposition. Nevertheless, it’s seemingly been enough for him to exit the MMA leader.

Do any of these UFC departures surprise you?

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