The highly anticipated bout between the two welterweights has been canceled for the third time and won’t happen 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) won’t be fit to compete against Edwards (18-3 MMA, 10-2 UFC).
UFC president Dana White told ESPN on Thursday that Chimaev was forced to withdraw from the bout due to lingering physical effects caused by COVID-19. White said Chimaev has an issue with his lungs and will be put on medication again.
“I’m so bummed out. I was so excited. That was one of my favorite fights this year,” White told ESPN. “The one thing you have to look at right now is health. Let’s make sure this guy is healthy, get him the best care we can, and make sure he makes a full recovery.”
White told ESPN that the promotion will have to move on from the matchup while Chimaev recovers. Edwards is expected to book a different opponent and potentially move to a new date.
“[Matchmaker Sean Shelby] is literally in the other room right now working on a new fight for Leon Edwards,” White said.
The fight was previously scheduled to take place on December 19, but Leon Edwards had to pull out of the fight because of Covid-19. The fight was later rescheduled for Jan 20 event in Abu Dhabi, but this time around it was Khamzat Chimaev who contracted the coronavirus.
Chimaev, who fights out of Sweden, was a breakout star for the UFC in 2020. He made his promotional debut in July and submitted John Phillips in the second round. He turned around and fought Rhys McKee just 10 days later, and won that bout via TKO. He then knocked out Gerald Meerschaert in just 17 seconds in September.
On the other hand, this would have been Leon Edwards’ first fight in nearly eighteen months. He last fought against Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC on ESPN 4 and defeated him via unanimous decision. He was also scheduled to fight Tyron Woodley in March, but the fight got cancelled following the global lockdown and travel restrictions because of the surge in coronavirus.
The latest lineup for UFC Fight Night on March 13 now includes:
- Davey Grant vs. Jonathan Martinez
- Matthew Semelsberger vs. Jason Witt
- Jinh Yu Frey vs. Gloria de Paula
- Dan Ige vs. opponent TBA
- Eryk Anders vs. Darren Stewart
- Nasrat Haqparast vs. opponent TBA
- Steve Garcia vs. Charles Jourdain
- Ricardo Ramos vs. Zubaira Tukhugov
- Ray Rodriguez vs. Rani Yahya
- Philipe Lins vs. Ben Rothwell
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