After Rafael dos Anjos tested positive for COVID-19 he was forced to withdraw from his scheduled bout against Islam Makhachev, which was set to go down at UFC 254 on Oct. 24, 2020, on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The hope was to still keep Makhachev on the card, but after several days passed, the promotion was unable to find a suitable replacement on such short notice. As far as putting him up against former Bellator MMA 155-pound champion, Michael Chandler, UFC President, Dana White, says that won’t happen.
“No, because I need Chandler,” White told Kevin Iole. “I need him and we have other plans for him. If he doesn’t have to step in, we have other plans.”
White went on to say that Chandler is currently going through the weight cutting process in case he has to step in for either Khabib Nurmagomedov or Justin Gaethje, who are set to take part in a title unification bout at UFC 254.
As far as Tony Ferguson, that is another option that won’t be green-lit despite Ali Abdelaziz’s best efforts to sway “El Cucuy” to face his client, going as far as dangling a $200,000
bribe carrot in front of him.
“Hey, Ali can pump up everyone’s check if he wants to. I like it, it’s good to be rich, that Khabib money,” laughed White. “No, I have not talked to Tony, but our guys have. But we wouldn’t let Ali put up the money for, know what I mean, we wouldn’t let that happen, I’m joking.”
In the end, White says Makhachev likely won’t competing on “Fight Island.”
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 254 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN 2/ESPN+ at 12 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 254: “Khabib vs. Gaethje” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.
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