Russian UFC flyweight Askar Askarov has just asked for and received his release from his UFC contract, according to an Instagram post he made today.
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Askarov (14-1-1), who was ranked as the number four contender according to the UFC’s own ranking system, cited health issues as his reason for requesting a release. Askarov was booked to fight number 5 ranked contender Brandon Royval at UFC Fight Night 212, however, he could not make weight and his team turned down the possibility of a catchweight bout. Askarov did not specify the nature of his health problems, or whether they were related to his weight miss against Royval.
According to Instagram’s own translation option, Askarov said: “Assalamualaikum, due to my return being delayed due to medical reasons and being my last fight under my contract, I asked UFC to release me.”. He further clarified that the UFC had indeed released him: “To which, I received a positive response. First, let’s put our health in order, and then we will see what and how.”
Askar Askarov: MMA and Wrestling
Askarov was coming off of his first-ever loss in professional MMA against New Zealand’s Kai-Kara France at UFC on ESPN: Blaydes vs. Daukaus, in March of 2022. In his pre-UFC career, Askarov had won the ACB flyweight belt. Askarov would then fight stiff competition in the UFC, battling future champion Brandon Moreno to a controversial draw, and achieving wins over divisional stalwarts like Tim Elliot, Alexandre Pantoja, and Joseph Benavidez.
Prior to becoming an MMA fighter, Askarov competed in freestyle wrestling. He won a gold medal in the 2017 Deaflympics in the 61-kilo division for Freestyle Wrestling, as well as a bronze in the same category at the 2018 Deaf World Championships. The departure from the UFC does not, as of yet, seem to have marked a permanent retirement from MMA for Askarov.