UFC Roster Update: Kajan Johnson, 13 Others Among Departures

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Late last month, longtime UFC veterans Evan Dunham and Thales Leites announced their retirement following their respective bouts at UFC Fight Night 137 São Paulo. 

While their departures were widely recognized by the MMA community, the two fighters weren’t the only UFC combatants to part ways with the promotion recently. A number of promotional veterans are no longer members of the UFC roster—their releases going generally unnoticed.

In case you missed any of the UFC departures that occurred outside of the spotlight, here’s a summary of the past few weeks:

Russell Doane

A veteran of eight UFC fights, Hawaii’s Doane has been a member of the UFC’s roster since January 2014. His most prominent victory came at UFC 175 on the pay-per-view portion of the highlighted International Fight Week event. The 32-year-old fighter lost five of his last six bouts leading up to his UFC departure. Sources confirmed the news exclusively to FloCombat.

Joe Giannetti

One of the more surprising cuts of the summer, Massachusetts’s Giannetti was a runner-up on The Ultimate Fighter: Undefeated earlier this year. After dominating the competition in the house, Giannetti lost a close decision to season winner Mike Trizano at the TUF 27 Finale. Apparently, one fight was enough for the UFC, as they cut Giannetti shortly thereafter.

Azunna Anyanwu

A veteran of Season 1 of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, Anywanu made his UFC debut late last year against Justin Ledet on just days’ notice. After dropping the bout via split decision, Anyanwu was suspended following a failed out-of-competition drug test. Weeks before the end of his suspension, “Zu” was issued his walking papers. Sources confirmed the news exclusively to FloCombat.

Jay Cucciniello

Another runner-up on last season of The Ultimate Fighter, the UK’s Cucciniello almost pulled off a true underdog story. After defeating Tyler Diamond in the semi-finals of the featherweight bracket, Cucciniello dropped a decision to Canadian Brad Katona in the bantamweight tournament final. Since his departure, Cucciniello has signed with WBKFF. (per Fight Book MMA)

 

Jamie Moyle 

A veteran of The Ultimate Fighter Season 23, Moyle picked up a victory in her promotional debut in December 2016 against Kailin Curran. Following that win, Moyle dropped back-to-back fights against Viviane Pereira and Emily Whitmire, ultimately leading to her departure. Moyle has since signed with Invicta FC. (h/t MMAJunkie.com)

Danielle Taylor

One of the shortest fighters in UFC history, Taylor endured her fair share of ups and downs over her five-fight stint. After dropping her UFC debut to Maryna Moroz, Taylor defeated Seo Hee Ham and Jessica Penne in back-to-back fights. Her two-fight winning streak was followed by as many losses, as she dropped fights to JJ Aldrich and Weili Zhang. Like Moyle, Taylor will join Invicta FC. (h/t MMAJunkie.com)

Viviane Pereira

Continuing with the theme, Brazil’s Pereira has also signed with Invicta FC. After winning her first two promotional bouts against Valerie Letourneau and Jamie Moyle, Pereira dropped back-to-back fights against Tatiana Suarez and Yan Xiaonan. (h/t MMAJunkie.com)

Mads Burnell

Going 1-2 over his three-fight stint with the UFC, Denmark’s Burnell impressed at times during his tenure. After dropping his UFC debut against Michel Prazeres, Burnell defeated Mike Santiago before losing to Arnold Allen. There was no shortage of interest in Burnell, as Cage Warriors has already reportedly snagged him up. (per MMA Viking

James Mulheron

Only sporting one UFC fight on his resume, Mulheron’s lone UFC appearance came at UFC Glasgow in mid-2017. Following the bout, Mulheron tested positive for a banned substance stemming from an out-of-competition sample. Subsequently, he was suspended for one year retroactive to the date the suspension was given. With his suspension deadline approaching, the UFC decided to part ways with the big man. He has since signed with Bellator MMA (per MMA Fighting).

Mark Godbeer

One of the United Kingdom’s finest heavyweights, Godbeer wasn’t released from the UFC against his will. After splitting his four UFC appearances, the former BAMMA Heavyweight Champion tried to drop down to 205 pounds for a bout at UFC São Paulo. Unfortunately, he was forced to pull out prior to fight night, and soon after, the 34-year-old fighter announced his retirement via Facebook.

Damian Stasiak

Following a three-fight skid against Pedro Munhoz, Brian Kelleher, and Liu Pingyuan, Poland’s Damian Stasiak was also given his walking papers. Prior to the stumble, Stasiak was coming off of back-to-back wins over Davey Grant and Filip Pejic. “Webster” is still only 28 years of age, and he says he is currently searching for fights in—or around—his home country. (per MMARocks.pl)

George Sullivan

Winning three out of his first four UFC appearances, Sullivan looked like he could make a name for himself at 170 pounds. Three losses and two failed USADA tests later, Sullivan was cut from the UFC. Recently, the seven-fight UFC veteran inked a deal with Maverick MMA. The 37-year-old will compete for the promotion in November, according to a report from MyMMANews.com.

Kajan Johnson

It’s no surprise one of the most outspoken (former) members of the UFC roster, Kajan Johnson, was cut by the promotion last week. Sporting a 4-3 promotional record, the UFC parted ways with “Ragin” following a controversial split decision loss to Rustam Khabilov in Moscow.

Tim Williams

After two bouts with the promotion, Tim Williams is no longer a UFC fighter. It took two stints of The Ultimate Fighter, but the “South Jersey Strangler” finally lived out a dream in early 2018, making his UFC debut against Oskar Piechota. After getting knocked out by the Pole in January, Williams put on a spirited bout against Eryk Anders in Lincoln but was finished via a highlight-reel last-second kick. Williams announced the news via Facebook.

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