ION CUTELABA

  • Born (age)
  • LocationMoldova
  • Squad Number

Ion Nicolae Cuțelaba (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. He additionally competed in Sambo and judo, becoming a national champion in both. In 2012, representing Moldova, Cuțelaba finished first in the 90 kg category of the European Sambo Championships.

Early career

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.

Ultimate Fighting Championship

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

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

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

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

Cuțelaba was expected to face Gadzhimurad Antigulov on November 4, 2017 at UFC 217. However, Antigulov pulled out of the fight on September 26 citing an injury and was replaced by newcomer Michal Oleksiejczuk. 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. 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.

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

Cuțelaba was scheduled to face Glover Teixeira on January 19, 2019 at UFC on ESPN+ 1,. However, on January 10, 2019, Cutelaba was pulled out of the bout due to an injury. The pair was rescheduled to meet at UFC on ESPN 3 on April 27, 2019.