Khamzat Chimaev had to be forced out of his scheduled fight against Leon Edwards at the upcoming event on March 13 as Chimaev is still dealing with lingering issues after contracting COVID-19.
Now, UFC officials are taking matters into their own hands with a recent report by ESPN stating that Chimaev will be flown to “Sin City” on UFC’s dime to receive medical care.
According to his manager Ali Abdelaziz, Chimaev is solely focused on getting better and his long-term health, which means if he has to sit on the sidelines for an extended period so be it. In fact, “Borz” — who is undefeated at 9-0, 3-0 UFC — will likely not make his highly-anticipated return to action until June.
The UFC is flying Khamzat Chimaev (@KChimaev) into Las Vegas today, per his manager Ali Abdelaziz (@AliAbdelaziz00). He'll receive medical care in the U.S. for lingering effects of Covid. Abdelaziz said he hopes Khamzat can fight by June, but longterm health is top priority.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) February 17, 2021
Chimaev vs Edwards is not happening anytime soon
Khamzat burst onto the scene in July of 2020 after submitting John Phillips at UFC Fight Island 1 in Abu Dhabi. 10 days later, he took out Rhys McKee via first-round knockout, which was followed up by the eight-second destruction of Gerald Meerschaert two months later. With his reputation and popularity rising, fight fans were eager to see him fight again, and much to everyone’s surprise he was paired up against one of the toughest 170-pound fighters in the game in Edwards.
The first time the fight came together this past December it was Edwards who was forced to drop out after he experienced severe symptoms as a result of contracting the coronavirus. The fight was rebooked for January, but then Chimaev was suffering from his battle with COVID-19, and he had to pull out of the rescheduled bout.
The highly anticipated bout between the two welterweights had to be canceled for the third time at UFC Fight Night 187 on March 13. Due to lingering issues from contracting COVID-19 in late 2020, Chimaev (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) was not going to be fit to compete against Edwards (18-3 MMA, 10-2 UFC).
White told ESPN the promotion will move on from the matchup while Chimaev makes his recovery. Edwards is expected to fight a different opponent potentially on a new date.
As for Edwards, White expects to book the British welterweight against a different opponent and potentially move him to a later date than the March 13 card. Edwards is currently riding an eight-fight winning streak in the division, but he hasn’t competed in over one year after the ongoing pandemic and his bout with COVID-19 prevented him from competing in 2020.
Sadly, it appears Chimaev is still trying to recover, and his return to action will have to wait until later in 2021.
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