5 UFC fighters you didn't realize were released in 2021

Jimmie Rivera [Image via Getty: UFC Fight Night: Kattar v Ige Weigh-in]
Jimmie Rivera [Image via Getty: UFC Fight Night: Kattar v Ige Weigh-in]
Frank Bonada

2021 has heralded the debuts of a number of exciting new additions to the UFC, with the likes of Paddy Pimblett, Ian Garry and Alex Pereira all making an instant mark in their respective divisions.

However, as always, with any new additions to the UFC's roster, there must also be departures. A relatively significant number of fighters were released from their contracts this year to make room for the new signings.

In the following list we will be going over five fighters that were released from the UFC in 2021. Honorable mentions go to Randa Markos, Felice Herrig and Roosevelt Roberts.

#5. Modestas Bukauskas - UFC light heavyweight

Modestas Bukauskas came to the UFC in 2020 after securing the Cage Warriors light heavyweight title. 'The Baltic Gladiator' made an instant impact on fans of the UFC, defeating Andreas Michailidis in his debut fight.

UFC Fight Night: Bukauskas v Michailidis
UFC Fight Night: Bukauskas v Michailidis

He was then matched up with Jimmy Crute, another big prospect in the 205lb division. Crute handed Bukauskas the first loss of his UFC career, winning via KO in the first round.

However, Bukauskas returned in 2021 with a strong performance against MichaΕ‚ Oleksiejczuk that went the full three rounds. Many fans had 'The Baltic Gladiator' up on their scorecards come the end of the fight. However, two of the judges did not share this sentiment, and Bukauskas lost via split decision.

UFC 260: Bukauskas v Oleksiejczuk
UFC 260: Bukauskas v Oleksiejczuk

This was no doubt a hard pill to swallow for Bukauskas, but he returned to the octagon six months later, set to start afresh. However, Khalil Rountree would land a sickening stomp on Bukauskas' knee, instantly ending the fight.

This resulted in the former Cage Warriors champion being on a three-fight losing streak, which was enough for the UFC to part ways with him. Bukauskas is still only 27 years old, and has vowed to return to the UFC as an improved fighter.

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Edited by Jack Cunningham
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