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Report: UFC Vegas 33 loses another co-main event hours before fight time

UFC Fight Night: Hall v Strickland Weigh-in Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

A co-main event bout between bantamweight fighters Rani Yahya and Kyung Ho Kang has been removed from UFC Vegas 33 later tonight (Sat., July 31, 2021) live on ESPN/ESPN+ from inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, after Yahya tested positive for COVID-19.

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HIGH STAKES LIGHTWEIGHT MATCHUP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC APEX on Sat., Sept. 23, 2023, with a high stakes 155-pound showdown as No. 6-ranked contender, Rafael Fiziev, takes on No. 7-seeded Mateusz Gamrot. In UFC Vegas 79’s co-main event, No. 12-ranked Featherweight contender, Bryce Mitchell, steps back into the Octagon against No. 13-seeded Dan Ige.

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Yahya posted the news to his Instagram account about an hour ago. UFC has yet to make an official announcement.

“Hey guys, my fight just got cancelled. I tested positive for the COVID-19 test that was made yesterday. I feel very good physically, and I believe that everything happens for a reason. Thank you all for the support,” wrote Yahya.

This is not great news for a UFC Vegas 33 card already riddled with injuries and late-second cancelations. On Friday, the ESPN event lost two fights during weigh ins after former UFC women’s flyweight champion Nicco Montano missed weight by seven pounds and bantamweight prospect Ronnie Lawrence was ruled medically unfit to even step on the scale.

Yahya, 36, was hoping to use his co-main event spot to remind the bantamweight division that he’s still a dangerous veteran. The Brazilian fighter is coming off a submission finish over Ray Rodriguez back in March. He’s posted a 3-1-1 record over his last five Octagon appearances.

Kang, 33, was looking to make his first Octagon appearance since a split-decision win over Liu Pingyuan back in Dec. 2019. The South Korean fighter has won his last three UFC fights and has produced an overall record of 6-2 (1 NC) since entering the promotion all the way back in 2013. Kang was hoping to use a win over Yahya to make his push towards the bantamweight top 15, but he’ll now have to wait for that opportunity.

UFC Vegas 33 will now proceed with 10 total bouts. will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 33 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” bouts at 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN/ESPN+ main card start time at 9 p.m. ET.

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