Ion Cuțelaba

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Ion Cuțelaba
BornIon Nicolae Cuțelaba
(1993-12-14) 14 December 1993 (age 27)
Chișinău, Moldova
Other namesThe Hulk[1]
Height6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)[2][3]
Weight205 lb (93 kg; 14.6 st)
Light Heavyweight
Reach75 in (191 cm)
StyleSambo, Judo, Kickboxing, Greco-Roman Wrestling
Fighting out ofChișinău, Moldova
TeamTimoshkov Sport Club[4]
CSA Moldova[3]
MMA Factory[5]
Years active2012–present
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout12
By submission2
By decision1
By knockout2
By submission2
By decision1
By disqualification1
No contests1
Other information
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Ion Nicolae Cuțelaba[6] (born 14 December 1993) is a Moldovan professional mixed martial artist who competes in the Light Heavyweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.


Born and raised in Chișinău, Cuțelaba began training and competing in Greco-Roman wrestling as an adolescent.[3] He additionally competed in Sambo and judo, becoming a national champion in both.[4] In 2012, representing Moldova, Cuțelaba finished first in the 90 kg category of the European Sambo Championships.[3]

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Cuțelaba made his professional debut in April 2012, competing primarily for regional promotions across Eastern Europe. He amassed a record of 11-1 (1) before signing with the UFC in the spring of 2016.[4]

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]


Cuțelaba made his promotional debut against Misha Cirkunov on June 18, 2016 at UFC Fight Night 89.[7] He lost the fight via submission in the third round.[8]

Cuțelaba next faced Jonathan Wilson on October 1, 2016 at UFC Fight Night 96. He won the fight via unanimous decision.[9]

Cuțelaba next faced Jared Cannonier on December 3, 2016 at The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale.[10] He lost the fight via unanimous decision.[11] Subsequently, both fighters earned Fight of the Night honors.[12]


Cuțelaba faced Henrique da Silva on June 11, 2017 at UFC Fight Night 110.[13] He won the fight via knockout in the opening minute of the first round.[14]

Cuțelaba was expected to face Gadzhimurad Antigulov on November 4, 2017 at UFC 217.[15] However, Antigulov pulled out of the fight on September 26 citing an injury and was replaced by newcomer Michał Oleksiejczuk.[16] In turn after the weigh-ins, Cuțelaba was pulled from the event by USADA due to a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from its investigation into voluntary disclosures by Cuțelaba during an out-of-competition sample collections on October 18 and October 19. He was provisionally suspended and the bout was scrapped.[17] USADA handed down a six-month suspension for ozone therapy involving a blood transfusion which is prohibited under 2018 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list on manipulation of blood component. Cuțelaba became eligible to fight again on May 6, 2018[18]


The bout with Antigulov eventually took place on July 28, 2018 at UFC on Fox 30.[19] Cuțelaba won the fight via TKO in the first round.[20]


Cuțelaba was scheduled to face Glover Teixeira on January 19, 2019 at UFC on ESPN+ 1,.[21] However, on January 10, 2019, Cuțelaba was pulled out of the bout due to an injury.[22] The pair was rescheduled to meet at UFC Fight Night: Jacaré vs. Hermansson on April 27, 2019.[23] Cuțelaba lost via a rear-naked-choke submission at 3:37 in the second round.[24]

Cuțelaba faced Khalil Rountree Jr. on September 28, 2019 at UFC on ESPN+ 18.[25] He won via TKO in the first round.[26]


Cuțelaba faced Magomed Ankalaev on February 29, 2020 at UFC Fight Night 169.[27] He lost the fight controversially via TKO in the first round.[28] The loss was controversial as referee Kevin MacDonald stopped the bout believing Cuțelaba was out on his feet while still standing, which Cuțelaba immediately protested. The stoppage was universally deemed terrible by the event announcers, MMA pundits, and UFC fighters alike.[29][30][31][32] Subsequently, the Virginia athletic commission reviewed the controversial stoppage, denying the appeal thus resulting the technical knockout win for Ankalaev left standing.[33][34][35]

Due to the controversy of the stoppage, UFC rebooked the pair on April 18, 2020 to meet at UFC 249.[36] However, Ankalaev was forced to pull from the event due to COVID-19 pandemic travel restriction, and Cuțelaba was pulled from the event and was scheduled to face Ovince Saint Preux on April 25, 2020.[37] However, on April 9, Dana White, the president of UFC announced that this event was postponed to a future date[38] The rematch with Ankalaev was expected to take place on August 15, 2020 at UFC 252.[39] Cuțelaba then pulled out on August 11 after testing positive for COVID-19 and the bout was rescheduled for UFC Fight Night 175.[40] However, the day of the event, the bout was once again scrapped after Cuțelaba tested positive for COVID-19 for a second time.[41] The bout rescheduled for the third time and they met on October 24, 2020 at UFC 254.[42] Cuțelaba lost the fight via knockout in round one.[43]


Cuțelaba was scheduled to face Devin Clark on May 1, 2021 at UFC on ESPN: Reyes vs. Procházka.[44] However, Clark pulled out from the event, citing injury, and he was replaced by Dustin Jacoby.[45] Cutelaba dominated the first round, however Jacoby came back in the second and third rounds with the fight ending in a split draw.[46]

Personal life[edit]

Ion and his wife Olga have two daughters: Amelia (born 2014) and Leea (born 2021).[47][48]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed martial arts[edit]


  • European Combat Sambo Federation
    • 2012 European Combat Sambo Championships Gold (90 kg)[3]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Professional record breakdown
23 matches 15 wins 6 losses
By knockout 12 2
By submission 2 2
By decision 1 1
By disqualification 0 1
Draws 1
No contests 1
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Draw 15–6–1 (1) Dustin Jacoby Draw (split) UFC on ESPN: Reyes vs. Procházka May 1, 2021 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 15–6 (1) Magomed Ankalaev KO (punches) UFC 254 October 24, 2020 1 4:19 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Loss 15–5 (1) Magomed Ankalaev TKO (head kicks and punches) UFC Fight Night: Benavidez vs. Figueiredo February 29, 2020 1 0:38 Norfolk, Virginia, United States
Win 15–4 (1) Khalil Rountree Jr. TKO (elbows) UFC Fight Night: Hermansson vs. Cannonier September 28, 2019 1 2:35 Copenhagen, Denmark
Loss 14–4 (1) Glover Teixeira Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC Fight Night: Jacaré vs. Hermansson April 27, 2019 2 3:37 Sunrise, Florida, United States
Win 14–3 (1) Gadzhimurad Antigulov TKO (punches and elbows) UFC on Fox: Alvarez vs. Poirier 2 July 28, 2018 1 4:25 Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Win 13–3 (1) Henrique da Silva KO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Hunt June 11, 2017 1 0:22 Auckland, New Zealand
Loss 12–3 (1) Jared Cannonier Decision (unanimous) The Ultimate Fighter: Tournament of Champions Finale December 3, 2016 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Fight of the Night.
Win 12–2 (1) Jonathan Wilson Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Lineker vs. Dodson October 1, 2016 3 5:00 Portland, Oregon, United States
Loss 11–2 (1) Misha Cirkunov Submission (arm-triangle choke) UFC Fight Night: MacDonald vs. Thompson June 18, 2016 3 1:22 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Return to Light Heavyweight.
Win 11–1 (1) Malik Merad KO (punch) WWFC: Cage Encounter 4 September 19, 2015 1 0:08 Paris, France Catchweight (209 lb) bout.
Win 10–1 (1) Vitali Ontishchenko Submission (omoplata) WWFC: Cage Encounter 3 April 4, 2015 1 2:37 Kiev, Ukraine
Win 9–1 (1) Yuri Gorbenko TKO (punches) WWFC: Ukraine Selection 5 February 28, 2015 1 1:10 Kiev, Ukraine
Win 8–1 (1) Izidor Bunea TKO (punches) WWFC: Cage Encounter 2 December 13, 2014 1 1:13 Chișinău, Moldova
Win 7–1 (1) Alexandru Stoica KO (punch) WWFC: Cage Encounter 1 June 14, 2014 1 0:07 Chișinău, Moldova
Win 6–1 (1) Constantin Padure KO (punch) CSA FC: Adrenaline April 4, 2014 1 1:05 Chișinău, Moldova
Win 5–1 (1) Igor Gorkun KO (punch) GEFC: Battle on the Gold Mountain December 21, 2013 1 0:28 Uzhgorod, Ukraine
Loss 4–1 (1) Michał Andryszak DQ (punches to back of head) CWFC 58 August 24, 2013 1 4:07 Grozny, Russia
NC 4–0 (1) Murod Hanturaev NC (referee error) Alash Pride: Grand Prix 2013 July 7, 2013 1 0:24 Almaty, Kazakhstan Originally a TKO win for Hanturaev; overturned due to a referee error.
Win 4–0 Anatoli Ciumac TKO (punches) ECSF: Battle of Bessarabia March 24, 2013 2 0:29 Chișinău, Moldova
Win 3–0 Igor Kukurudziak Submission (omoplata) ECSF: Adrenaline December 14, 2012 1 0:42 Chișinău, Moldova Heavyweight debut.
Win 2–0 Julian Chilikov TKO (punches) The Battle For Ruse June 22, 2012 1 0:25 Ruse, Bulgaria
Win 1–0 Daglar Gasimov TKO (punches) CIS: Cup April 5, 2012 1 0:27 Nizhny Novgorod, Russia Light Heavyweight debut.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ion Cuțelaba at
  2. ^ "Fight Card - The Ultimate Fighter A Tournament Of Champions Finale". Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Ion Cutelaba". Tapology. Retrieved 2016-11-21.
  4. ^ a b c Zane Simon (2016-03-30). "Welcome to the UFC, Cutelaba & Elmose". Retrieved 2016-03-30.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Staff (2016-03-29). "Multiple fight bookings made official for UFC Fight Night 89". Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  8. ^ Steven Marrocco (2016-06-18). "UFC Fight Night 89 results: Misha Cirkunov taps Ion Cutelaba with third-round arm-triangle choke". Retrieved 2016-06-18.
  9. ^ Ben Fowlkes (2016-10-01). "UFC Fight Night 96 results: Ion Cutelaba sweeps Jonathan Wilson for first UFC victory". Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  10. ^ Staff (2016-10-20). "Jared Cannonier vs. Ion Cutelaba added to TUF 24 Finale". Retrieved 2016-10-20.
  11. ^ Ben Fowlkes (2016-12-03). "TUF 24 Finale results: Jared Cannonier outworks Ion Cutelaba in move to light heavyweight". Retrieved 2016-12-03.
  12. ^ Staff (2016-12-04). "TUF 24 Finale bonuses: What bout upset Benavidez-Cejudo to win 'Fight of the Night'?". Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  13. ^ Staff (2017-05-31). "2 new bouts complete next week's UFC Fight Night 110 lineup in New Zealand". Retrieved 2017-05-31.
  14. ^ Ben Fowlkes (2017-06-10). "UFC Fight Night 110 results: Ion Cutelaba destroys Henrique da Silva in 22 seconds". Retrieved 2017-06-10.
  15. ^ Adam Haynes (2017-08-13). "UFC 217: Ion Cutelaba announces bout with Gadzhimurad Antigulov". Retrieved 2017-08-13.
  16. ^ "Michał Oleksiejczuk w UFC – powalczy z Ionem Cutelabą na UFC 217". (in Polish). 2017-10-13. Retrieved 2017-10-14.
  17. ^ "Ion Cutelaba flagged for possible USADA violation, removed from UFC 217". MMAjunkie. 2017-11-03. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  18. ^ "UFC's Ion Cutelaba accepts six-month USADA suspension for ozone therapy administration". MMAjunkie. 2018-03-08. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  19. ^ Staff (2018-04-27). "UFC on FOX 30 official for Calgary, eight fights added to lineup". Retrieved 2018-04-27.
  20. ^ "UFC on FOX 30 results: Ion Cutelaba turns tables on Gadzhimurad Antigulov for first-round TKO". MMAjunkie. 2018-07-28. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  21. ^ "Glover Teixeira vs. Ion Cutelaba set for first UFC on ESPN+ card". Retrieved 2018-11-10.
  22. ^ Jay Pettry. "Ion Cutelaba injured, out of bout with Glover Teixeira at UFC Brooklyn". Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  23. ^ DNA, MMA. "Poging twee: Glover Teixeira vs. Ion Cutelaba tijdens UFC on ESPN 3 in Miami". Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  24. ^ "UFC on ESPN+ 8 play-by-play and live results". MMA Junkie. 2019-04-28. Retrieved 2019-04-28.
  25. ^ Staff (2019-07-12). "Ion Cutelaba vs. Khalil Rountree Jr. officially confirmed for UFC Copenhagen". (in Dutch). Retrieved 2019-07-12.
  26. ^ Anderson, Jay (2019-09-28). "UFC Copenhagen Results: Ion Cuțelaba Smashes Khalil Rountree Jr". Cageside Press. Retrieved 2019-09-29.
  27. ^ Nolan King (2020-01-02). "Three bouts added to growing UFC on ESPN+ 27 lineup". Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  28. ^ Fuentes, Jon (2020-02-29). "UFC Norfolk Results: Magomed Ankalaev Gets Controversial Stoppage Win Over Ion Cuțelaba". Cageside Press. Retrieved 2020-03-01.
  29. ^ MMAJunkie Staff (2020-02-29). "UFC on ESPN+ 27 results: Magomed Ankalaev takes controversial TKO over Ion Cutelaba". Retrieved 2020-03-01.
  30. ^ Chris Taylor (2020-02-29). "UFC Fighters react to terrible stoppage in Ankalaev vs. Cutelaba fight". Retrieved 2020-03-01.
  31. ^ "'Unbelievably bad': UFC fans erupt over 'worst stoppage ever'". Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  32. ^ "UFC 169: UFC Fight Night 169, referee stoppage, worst stoppage ever, Magomed Ankalaev, Ion Cutelaba". Fox Sports. 2020-03-01. Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  33. ^ Marrocco, Steven (2020-03-02). "Virginia commission to review expected Ion Cutelaba appeal after UFC Norfolk loss to Magomed Ankalaev". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2020-03-06.
  34. ^ "Virginia athletic commission likely to review controversial TKO stoppage at UFC Norfolk". 2020-03-03. Retrieved 2020-03-06.
  35. ^ Tristen Critchfield (April 21, 2020). "Virginia Commission Denies Ion Cutelaba's Appeal of Loss to Magomed Ankalaev".
  36. ^ Martin, Damon (2020-03-05). "Ion Cutelaba vs. Magomed Ankalaev re-booked for UFC 249 following controversial stoppage". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2020-03-06.
  37. ^ DNA, MMA. "Verschillende gevechten voor aankomende evenementen bekend gemaakt". Retrieved 2020-04-08.
  38. ^ Brett Okamoto (2020-04-09). "Dana White says UFC 249 will not happen April 18". Retrieved 2020-04-09.
  39. ^ Staff (2020-06-12). "Rematch after controversial first game between Magomed Ankalaev and Ion Cutelaba at UFC 252". Retrieved 2020-06-12. (in Dutch)
  40. ^ Steven Marrocco and Damon Martin (2020-08-11). "Ion Cuțelaba tests positive for COVID-19, rematch against Magomed Ankalaev bumped from UFC 252 to August 29 event". Retrieved 2020-08-11.
  41. ^ Guillherme Cruz (August 29, 2020). "Ion Cutelaba vs. Magomed Ankalaev pulled from UFC Vegas 8 due to positive COVID-19 test". Retrieved August 29, 2020.
  42. ^ Zane Simon (2020-09-09). "Fifth time's a charm - UFC re-books Cutelaba vs. Ankalaev again". Retrieved 2020-09-09.
  43. ^ Doherty, Dan (2020-10-24). "UFC 254 Results: Magomed Ankalaev Settles Score, Sleeps Ion Cutelaba". Cageside Press. Retrieved 2020-10-24.
  44. ^ Redactie (2021-02-17). "Ion Cutelaba vs. Devin Clark added to UFC event on May 1". (in Dutch). Retrieved 2021-02-17.
  45. ^ DNA, MMA (2021-04-20). "Short notice partij voor Dustin Jacoby tegen Ion Cutelaba op 1 mei in Las Vegas". MMA DNA. Retrieved 2021-04-20.
  46. ^ "UFC on ESPN 23 results: Heated Ion Cutelaba vs. Dustin Jacoby fight ends in draw". MMA Junkie. 2021-05-02. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  47. ^ Tudor Leonte (April 26, 2020). "Ion Cutelaba Unlikely to Fight in Virginia Again After Having Appeal Denied".
  48. ^ Ion Cuțelaba [@ioncutelaba] (February 25, 2021). "Welcome my little princess!" – via Instagram.
  49. ^ "Ion". Sherdog. Retrieved 2018-11-10.

External links[edit]