In some quite surprising news tonight, multiple-time UFC middleweight title challenger and perennial contender, Yoel ‘The Soldier of God’ Romero has been released from the promotion, following a seven-year stay under the organization’s banner.

Romero, an Olympic silver medalist in freestyle wrestling has according to a report from ESPN MMA reporter, Ariel Helwani, parted ways with the North American-based promotion, despite having three fights remaining on his Octagon deal.

The 43-year-old Pinar del Rio, Cuba favourite last featured at UFC 248 in March, dropping a unanimous decision defeat to current 185-pound titleholder, Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya, in a largely uneventful main event clash

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Romero was scheduled to tackle The Ultimate Fighter 17 runner-up, Uriah ‘Prime Time’ Hall at UFC Vegas 7 in August, however, the pairing was ultimately shelved and never rebooked when the former withdrew due to undisclosed reasons

A thirteen fight organizational veteran, Romero had established a 9-4 promotional résumé — embarking on an eye-catching eight-fight unbeaten run at middleweight before his interim title challenge defeat to former undisputed titleholder, Robert ‘The Reaper’ Whittaker.

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Apart from his forgettable pairing with the above mentioned Adesanya earlier this year, Romero had only dropped other judging losses to both Paulo ‘The Eraser’ Costa, and Whittaker in a subsequent rematch, both regarded as contentious decisions. 

An explosive knockout artist, Romero has managed eleven finishes via that method, laying waste to four former world champions during his UFC run. With his last win coming via a highlight-reel knockout of Luke Rockhold at UFC 221 in February 2018, Romero added the former UFC and Strikeforce gold holder to prior career wins over Chris Weidman, Ronaldo Souza, Lyoto Machida, Tim Kennedy, Brad Tavares, Derek Brunson, and Ronny Markes of note.

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The American Top Team mainstay had been continously linked with a move to the light heavyweight limit in recent years — tipping the 185-pound scales on two consecutive occasions, leaving him ineligible to win first interim, and then undisputed titles. 

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.