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Ion Cutelaba cornerman tests positive for COVID-19, backup fighter weighs in for UFC 254 fight with Ankalaev

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A rematch between Ion Cutelaba and Magomed Ankalaev may be off for the third time after one of Cutelaba’s cornermen failed a COVID-19 test. Here’s what we know about the status of the fight ...

The hits keep coming for Ion Cutelaba.

The Moldovan “Hulk” started 2020 with a somewhat controversial loss in February to Magomed Ankalaev where Cutelaba took some big shots and had his fight stopped on wobbly legs (watch the finish here). He immediately protested the referee’s decision, and was convincing enough to earn a quick rebook against Ankalaev.

Unfortunately getting back into the cage has been quite the endeavor. Their April rematch was on the UFC 248 card in April that California government officials pressured UFC into shutting down. An August bout at UFC 253 was scuttled when Cutelaba tested positive for COVID-19, and then Cutelaba tested positive AGAIN two weeks later on the re-re-rescheduled UFC Vegas 8 attempt.

Now, Cutelaba vs. Ankalaev might be off once again after one of Cutelaba’s corners tested positive for coronavirus. The news came via MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck:

Cutelaba and Ankalaev both weighed in and there’s no official word from UFC yet on what will happen with the fight. But undefeated (6-0) Australian fighter Isi Fitikefu also weighed in and is at the ready to step in should a decision to pull Cutelaba be made.

Normally, any fighter whose corner tests positive is immediately removed from the card due to proximity concerns. But given Cutelaba has already had the virus, a series of negative test might save him from removal from the card. We’ll keep you posted as the situation develops.

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.