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Midnight Mania! UFC trims the roster, releases five athletes

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UFC Fight Night: Matthews v Meek Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

Keeping track of the current UFC roster can be a daunting task, but MMAFighting recently confirmed the release of five athletes: Emil Meek, Lara Procopio, Roque Martinez, Joe Ellenberger, and Alexander Yakovlev. Only one of those names comes as something of a surprise, but let’s break it down!

Meek debuted with quite a bit of hype behind him, following a brutal knockout of Rousimar Palhares back when that meant something. A debut win over Jordan Mein got the ball rolling, but since then, Meek has been ground out by three consecutive opponents, including Kamaru Usman.

His most recent loss came in February 2020.

Of the names mentioned, Procopio is definitely the surprise — and perhaps the most likely to make a quick return? The 25-year-old Flyweight’s record inside the Octagon isn’t the best at 1-2, but she did pretty soundly defeat Molly McMann in that sole victory. Procopio’s most recent loss came to Casey O’Neil in a genuinely good clash of prospects just a couple weeks ago at UFC Vegas 29.

Roque Martinez also competed at UFC Vegas 29, losing a highly contentious split-decision to Josh Parisian. Often, a controversial result like that buys an athlete another opportunity, but the defeat made it three in a row for the Heavyweight.

Finally, Alexander Yakovlev and Joe Ellenberger ... I kind of assumed both had already been released? Yakovlev last competed in October 2020 vs. Joel Alvarez, losing his fourth bout in five fights, which isn’t likely to cut it at 155 lbs. Ellenberger, meanwhile, is just 1-1 inside the Octagon, but he hasn’t actually fought since 2014!

Insomnia

You may know Terrence McKinney as the guy who died twice then won his UFC debut in seconds, but he’s proving to be a very interesting person in many ways.

Michael Bisping passes on some boxing knowledge to his son, a San Francisco state wrestler.

Don’t mind me, I’ll just be sitting here trying to manifest Michael Chandler vs. Justin Gaethje for the next few months.

FIX THE GLOVES!

Top-tier Lightweight scrambles are en route:

How do y’all feel about ESPN’s mid-year MMA awards? I’d probably argue Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Miguel Baeza as the best fight so far, but solid choices overall!

This is why wrestling classes often include cartwheels in the warm ups!

Slips, rips, and KO clips

An excellent knockout from a tremendous prospect with a gnarly backstory — what more could one ask for?!?

This backfist setup is so sweet! The risk of walking into an uppercut or knee by ducking like that is there, but he managed to herd his opponent into the strike perfectly.

I agree with this tweet: more Rafael Fiziev is necessary!

Random Land

Some rather foreboding clouds:

Midnight Music: It’s always fun when you dig a track on some playlist and subsequently discover an artist for the first time, only to find out from Wikipedia that they’re a couple decades and a dozen albums into their career.

Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.