Per Rafael dos Anjos’ Twitter feed, the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight champion announced that he has contracted COVID-19 and has been pulled from his fight against Islam Makhachev, which was slated to go down at UFC 254 on Oct. 24, 2020.
With this positive diagnosis, the man known as “RDA” has become the 27th UFC fighter to test positive for coronavirus.
“I came to rescue my dream of becoming a champion again, and that goal was achieved,” wrote dos Anjos on Twitter. “Sharing my experiences with the Nova Uniao Team and learning many details to improve my game and close the gaps in the future, none of this was in vain.
“Unfortunately, I will not be able to compete on the 24th,” he continued. “Covid 19 caught me big time and the doctors cut me out. But soon I will be back victorious inside the octagon!”
This is potentially a huge setback for the 35-year old combatant who also competes at Welterweight, as he is looking to escape the throes of a two-fight losing streak. The loser of four of his last five had been eager to get back into the win column in his first fight since January of this year.
It is unknown at this time when he may get rescheduled.
As of this writing, there has also been no word of a replacement, but with 16 days to go, there are numerous options for the streaking Makhachev. UFC brass may simply reschedule his date with dos Anjos for later, he may get a new opponent, or he may be asked to wait and see if anyone else has to pull out (like David Zawada’s opponent, Mounir Lazzez, who also fell victim to a positive diagnosis of COVID-19).
If it were up to Makhachev, though, he’d love the chance to welcome Michael Chandler to the Octagon.
If that doesn’t work, Islam is willing to face Dan Hooker or Charles Oliveira, as well. All three are great options for Makhachev, who is on a six-fight win streak and is 7-1 overall in his UFC career.
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+.
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