Undefeated welterweight up-and-comer Khamzat Chimaev was forced to withdraw from his 170-pound main event against Leon Edwards at UFC Fight Island 8 on Jan. 20 in Abu Dhabi after failing to bounce back from COVID-19.
According to a report from MMA Junkie, X-rays showed Chimaev’s lungs “haven't fully recovered” from the virus, which means a five-round battle against one of the toughest contenders in the division was simply out of the question.
Edwards, who did not compete at all in 2020, is hoping to remain on the card against a short-notice replacement. While several fighters have offered their services, including Neil Magny and Kevin Holland, “Rocky” is holding out hope for a potential Jorge Masvidal grudge match.
No word yet from the promotion on what changes to expect for the upcoming Jan. 20 lineup (see it here). In the interim, Chimaev is likely to remain unbooked until medically cleared to return to competition.
Hopefully sooner, rather than later.