UFC light heavyweight Ion Cutelaba has tested positive for COVID-19 and therefore been forced out of his eagerly-anticipated rematch against Magomed Ankalaev.

Igor Lazorin first reported the news which was later confirmed by MMA Fighting. Cutelaba’s manager, Tiago Okamura says his fighter is currently in quarantine and they hope to rebook the bout against Ankalaev for August 29. Although the possibility remains that the UFC could opt to find the Russian a late-notice opponent to keep UFC 252 as strong as possible.

Ankalaev and Cutelaba previously squared off at UFC Norfolk in February in an exciting match-up. However, it came to a controversial end early on as referee Kevin MacDonald stopped the fight after deeming Cutelaba unable to continue. Ankalaev had rocked the Moldovan and was pouring on the pressure. Cutelaba was clearly not 100 percent but he was still avoiding strikes while fighting back. When the fight was stopped, Cutelaba protested immediately while the fans started booing the decision.

Cutelaba appealed the loss but it was denied. The promotion rebooked the fight for UFC 249 but it fell apart due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Now the fight has fallen through once again due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Cutelaba holds notable UFC wins over the likes of Khalil Rountree and Gadzhimurad Antigulov. He has previously fallen short against Glover Teixeira and Jared Cannonier. The 26-year-old is currently eight fights into his UFC career during which he has won four and lost four.

Ankalaev is 4-1 in the UFC with wins over Marcin Prachnio, Klidson Abreu, Dalcha Lungiambula and Cutelaba. He is currently ranked #13 in the UFC light heavyweight division. The Russian prospect’s lone UFC defeat came against Paul Craig who scored a last-second submission against him back in 2018.

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A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.