Askar Askarov and Misha Cirkunov appear to have been released by the UFC after they were removed from the roster in recent days.
Flyweight fighter Askarov’s release is surprising as he was ranked No.4 in the division at the time of his release, but the 30-year-old had revealed in recent days that he’d requested to be let go due while he addresses ongoing health issues.
“Due to my return being delayed due to medical reasons and being my last fight under my contract, I asked UFC to release me,” Askarov had told fans in Russian. “To which, I received a positive response. First, let’s put our health in order, and then we will see what and how.”
Askarov, who is 80% deaf in both ears is a former Deaflympics wrestling gold medalist who went on to become an ACB champion in Russia before signing for the UFC in 2019.
He would then continue his unbeaten record with three wins in a draw in his first four Octagon outings, though he did suffer a unanimous decision loss to Kai Kara-France in his last fight back in March.
Askarov was then scheduled to fight Brandon Royval in October, but had to withdraw from the fight after failing to make weight – the second time in the past couple of years that had happened.
Meanwhile, the release of Misha Cirkunov is far less of a surprise as he’s been struggling to keep his head above water in the UFC for the past five years.
In fact, Cirkunov has lost seven of his last nine fights, with his only two victories during that dismal spell being by submission against Pat Cummins and Jimmy Crute in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
it’s a far cry from earlier in his UFC run where he won his first four fights by finish, taking his career record to 13-2 by the end of 2016.
Now the 35-year-old has suffered four defeats in a row, including a first round KO loss against Alonzo Menifield last month, which leaves his career record now standing at 15-9.
Askarov and Cirkunov are among 11 fighters who have been cut by the promotion in the past few days, while others include Krzysztof Jotko who we mentioned yesterday, in addition to Louis Cosce, Nick Maximov, Magomed Mustafaev, Charlie Ontiveros, Jesse Ronson, Cameron VanCamp, Darian Weeks and Jason Witt.