BREAKING: UFC headliner between Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev is off

Leon Edwards

Right now, COVID-19 is having it’s way with the UFC and now it’s struck down one of the more anticipated matchups of the winter. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani is reporting that Leon Edwards has tested positive for COVID-19 and the December 19th fight is off.

Edwards was scheduled to face rising star, Khamzat Chimaev. The fight was supposed to be a real test for Chimaev to see where he’s at in his development. The fight was also the first UFC action of 2020 for Leon Edwards.

According to Helwani, the UFC is looking to rebook the matchup for early next year. However, this is now the third UFC main event that’s been altered by COVID-19 just in the last week.

Last weekend’s main event was supposed to be Curtis Blaydes – Derrick Lewis. However, Blaydes tested positive and the fight was called off. This weekend’s main event was supposed to be Jack Hermansson – Kevin Holland.

However, Holland tested positive and Marvin Vettori stepped in for the main event. Now, the most anticipated matchup of all has been cancelled with the Chimaev – Edwards matchup being called off.

UFC’s December 19th Card

Fortunately for the UFC, the card on December 19th is absolutely stacked. Fighters on the card include: Stephen Thompson, Geoff Neal, Jose Aldo, Chito Vera, Marlon Moraes, and Rob Font.

The card is still good enough to go on as is, but this is still a big blow to fight fans. You have to feel bad for Leon Edwards. Edwards has been impacted more by COVID in terms of his UFC career than perhaps anyone else.

His fight with Tyron Woodley back in March was cancelled due to COVID. Then he wasn’t able to accept a title shot at UFC 251 because England was closed down and now he tested positive for COVID which will cancel his UFC main event.

As mentioned above, the promotion will look to keep this fight together. However, there’s no telling on when the fight will be booked as of now.

UFC: Glover Teixiera – Thiago Santos fight off again due to positive COVID test (Report)

Anthony Smith, UFC

One of the more anticipated UFC light heavyweight matchups of the fall is going to be cancelled for the second time. Per a report from Combate, Thiago Santos (21-7) has tested positive for COVID-19. His October 3rd fight with Glover Teixiera (31-7) is off.

This is the second time that COVID has derailed this UFC title eliminator. Originally, this fight was supposed to be the main event of UFC Vegas 10 that occurred last weekend. However, Teixiera tested positive and they pushed the fight back to October 3rd.

Now, just weeks ahead of the anticipated matchup, Santos has gone down. We do not have any idea of what the UFC is planning to do just yet. If I had to guess, I would say that the promotion would plan on pushing the fight back once again.

UFC Title Eliminator

The main reason that I believe that the UFC is going to push forward with this fight is the title implications. There is really nobody else in the division that the promotion could pair across Teixiera to make a compelling title eliminator.

Last year, Thiago Santos pushed Jon Jones to the limit in their title fight. Many people thought that Santos won that fight. Santos has been out with a knee injury which is why we haven’t seen him since that fight. This fight could perhaps be pushed back to UFC 254 later in the month.

Daniel Cormier suffered from COVID-19 in camp ahead of UFC 252

Daniel Cormier

It has been exactly one month since we saw UFC 252. That night, Stipe Miocic (20-3) solidified himself as the greatest heavyweight in the promotion’s history with a second win over Daniel Cormier (22-3, 1 NC). DC announced his retirement after the fight.

A lot of people questioned DC’s sluggish performance at UFC 252. There were rumors that he had not been healthy during the camp which didn’t allow him to train at his optimum levels. Luke Rockhold hinted at this in a recent interview with Brendan Schaub.

Earlier this morning, we found out what exactly happened to Cormier in his camp. In an interview with Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole, Cormier said that he tested positive for COVID-19. He came down with it after a teammate tested positive at AKA.

Did it impact UFC 252?

Cormier detailed what had happened telling Iole over the fourth of July weekend leading up to UFC 252. “Over the weekend, I started feeling a little sick. I got tired and peaked. On Monday night/Tuesday morning, I wasn’t feeling so good. My resting heart rate had been 50 beats a minute. Now it was at 57,” Cormier said.

The former UFC double champ went on to say that his resting heart rate got up to 67. After continuously not feeling good and feeling sluggish, Cormier went to the doctor where he found out that he had COVID-19. It obviously had been impacting his training camp.

DC was quick to say that COVID-19 is not an excuse for losing at UFC 252. “This is not an excuse at all. Miocic won the fight and he fought beautifully,” Cormier told Iole. This all came out as the UFC announced a partnership with Oura Health. The Oura Smart Ring helped Cormier diagnose his issues.

It’s clear that Cormier wasn’t at his best at UFC 252. Does all the credit go to Stipe’s performance or do we sit and wonder on how COVID impacted DC’s performance. Fighter’s deal with things all the time that never make it out to the public.

I will say that I don’t believe Cormier said this to downplay the UFC heavyweight champions performance a month ago. I think he announced it to help the UFC show off their new partnership with Oura. Still, one has to wonder now how COVID-19 impacted UFC 252.

UFC: Ion Cutelaba tests positive for COVID-19; fight with Magomed Ankalaev off

Ion Cutelaba

COVID-19 has struck again when it comes to fight cancellations. This time it has taken out one of the main card fights from this weekend’s UFC 252 PPV. Ion Cutelaba has tested positive for COVID-19.

As a result, the anticipated UFC rematch with Magomed Ankalaev has been postponed again. This is the second time that the fight has been pushed back.

UFC pushing back to August 29th

In speaking with MMA Fighting, Cutelaba’s manager said that the current plan is to move the fight back a couple of weeks. “Just got to make sure he doesn’t get sick these next few days,” Cutelabla’s manager said of the proposed August 29th date.

The fight is a rematch from a fight back in February at UFC Fight Night 169. In that fight, Ankalaev appeared to have hurt Cutelaba on the feet causing the referee to step in granting Ankalaev the TKO victory.

Cutelaba immediately protested saying it was all a setup. Cutelaba attempted to contest the fight result, but that went no where. They tried booking the fight for UFC 249, but that also got cancelled.

Ankalaev will enter the octagon whenever they fight on a current four fight winning streak. Cutelaba was coming off of a very big win over Khalil Rountree prior to the loss to Ankalaev.

This is a big fight for the light heavyweight division. Ankalaev is currently ranked thirteen while Cutelaba is not ranked. A win for either man in this rematch whenever it takes place could mean a potential top ten opponent in their next fight.

UFC: Deiveson Figueiredo tests positive for COVID-19, Fight Island title fight in trouble

It’s inevitable, but COVID-19 is rearing it’s ugly head again in the UFC world. It was reported this evening that UFC flyweight title contender, Deiveson Figueiredo (18-1), has tested positive for COVID-19.

Another UFC title fight in trouble

One week ago tonight, Gilbert Burns saw his title shot go up in flames. Now, fellow Brazilian Figueiredo could see the same happen to his. Figueiredo apparently had COVID-19 two months ago, but has since recovered. His management team is hoping that the test is a false positive. He will retake the test tomorrow with the hope that he tests negative.

If Figueiredo is able to test negative, his UFC title fight against Joseph Benavidez (28-6) will likely go on. Back in February, the two men fought for the vacant UFC flyweight championship. Figueiredo missed weight so the only person that could have walked out of the fight with the title is Benavidez. Figueiredo went on to win the fight by second round knockout. The UFC decided to move forward with rebooking the two for Fight Island. They are currently scheduled to headline the UFC‘s July 18th card next Saturday night.

Other Options?

There are other top flyweight contenders on the card that could step-up if Figueiredo tests positive again. Top Russian prospect Askar Askarov (11-0-1) and Alexandre Pantoja (22-4) are scheduled to fight on the same card. I wrote about this being an under the radar matchup for fight fans on Fight Island. If Figueiredo cannot make the fight, look for the UFC to try to move one of these guys up the card to keep the title fight together.

BREAKING: Gilbert Burns out of UFC 251 headliner after testing positive for COVID-19

UFC 251 has taken a hit as Gilbert Burns (19-3) has tested positive for COVID-19. Burns was set to take on welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman (16-1), on Fight Island next Saturday night. MMA Junkie was the first to report the news late Friday evening.

Tough blow for the UFC and Burns

Burns was on the cusp of cementing his status as UFC male fighter of the year. Burns entered 2020 as a solid welterweight contender, but after dominant wins over Demian Maia and Tyron Woodley, it was apparent that Burns was championship material.

Kamaru Usman was originally scheduled to take on Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251. However, contract negotiations fell apart. The surging Burns jumped at the opportunity to take on his now former teammate Usman. Burns became the top ranked welterweight and was given the shot.

What happens next?

As of now, nothing has been announced from the UFC so there is no real idea on what comes next. The likely scenario is that we will see the fight get rebooked for later this year. Perhaps next month on the same card as Cormier/Miocic 3 or perhaps it gets pushed back to September. No matter what, this is a tough blow to next week’s first card on Fight Island. With this news, the featherweight title fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway will slide into the main event slot.

I do wonder if the UFC tries to revisit the Masvidal fight now that the Burns fight has fallen through. The Masvidal fight had a ton of heat behind it, and it would sell very well. It is unlikely that the UFC would pass over Burns in favor of Masvidal, but it wouldn’t be completely surprising. I still think the likely scenario will be that we see Burns and Usman fight in either August or September.

UFC: Matt Frevola off UFC on ESPN 11 after cornerman’s positive COVID-19 test

UFC, Matt Frevola

One of the fights on the under card for this Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 11 has been changed. Frank Camacho (22-8) was originally scheduled to take on Matt Frevola (8-1-1), however that fight has been scrapped due to a cornerman testing positive for COVID-19.

The UFC announced today that Frevola would be pulled from Saturday’s card after cornerman and fellow fighter, Billy Quarantillo, testing positive for COVID-19. It’s a really tough break for Frevola who was going for his third straight win in the UFC. Frevola tested negative twice for COVID-19, but due to the UFC‘s strict policy, he has been pulled off the card. Frevola is the second fighter to be pulled off a card due to COVID-19.

When the UFC comes knocking, you answer the door

Stepping in for Frevola is Justin Jaynes (15-4). Jaynes will be making his UFC in his fight against Camacho. Jaynes comes into this fight 9-1 in his last 10 appearances. In looking at some tape, Jaynes has a really solid overall game. He’s got some good submission skills, and he’s got some pretty good striking. His last four fights have all ended in the first round, although one of those was by disqualification. There’s not a ton of tape out there on Jaynes, but check out the video below to get a little more background on this weekend’s replacement fighter at UFC on ESPN 11.

UFC: Ian Heinisch out of UFC 250 after cornerman tests positive for COVID-19

UFC 250 has lost one of it’s featured prelims for Saturday night. Multiple reports have come out stating that a member of Ian Heinisch’s corner has tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, the UFC has decided to pull Heinisch from the card.

Heinisch (13-3), is currently ranked as the thirteenth best middleweight in the UFC according to the UFC’s official rankings. Heinisch was looking to use this fight against Gerald Meerschaert (31-12) as a way to get back on track. Heinisch was riding high last year entering his fight against Derek Brunson back at UFC 241. Many people were considering Heinisch to be a rising star in the division with a record of 13-1, and the Brunson fight was considered his first big step up in competition. Heinisch went on to lose that fight then he lost a decision to Omari Akhmedov back at UFC 245. Heinisch is still in the top fifteen, but needed a solid performance on Saturday night to right the ship.

As of right now, there is no word on what the UFC is going to do. There is no word on if Meerschaert will stay on the card or if they are going to move this fight to a later date. The UFC has enacted strict testing measures with the pandemic going on, and this is the second fight that has been cancelled due to COVID-19. At UFC 249, Jacare Souza tested positive for COVID-19, and his fight with Uriah Hall was cancelled. This has to be frustrating for Heinisch who by all signs tested negative for the virus, but the UFC is taking no chances with the pandemic going on. Assuming Heinisch does not test positive, you will likely see the UFC get him a fight as soon as possible even if the opponent is not Meerschaert.