Ruled from his first promotional headliner at UFC Fight Island 8 on January 20 — uber-prospect, Khamzat ‘Borz’ Chimaev has been deemed medically unfit to prepare for his would-be showdown with perennial welterweight contender, Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards, as he deals with a lung issue following a recent positive COVID-19 test result.
Chimaev, who was initially paired with Birmingham native, Edwards at UFC Vegas 17 on December 19 seen that pairing shelved as well after the former had been struck down with a particularly debilitating case of COVID-19 to boot, where he shed a whopping twelve pounds of body weight.
The winner of three straight despite only debuting under the UFC’s banner in July, Chimaev had reportedly returned a positive novel coronavirus test result at the beginning of this month, and according to a report from MMA Junkie, the Chechen-born fighter was deemed medically unfit to continue preparations for a matchup with Edwards, as he suffers from a lingering lung issue as a result of the positive test.
Team Renegade BJJ & MMA mainstay, Edwards noted his willingness to remain on the Abu Dhabi, UAE card against new opposition, and last night called for a long-rumoured tie with BMF champion, Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal on short-notice — who himself has been floated as a potential opponent for former American Top Team teammate, Colby ‘Chaos’ Covington.
Debuting on ‘Fight Island’ in July, AllStars product, Chimaev made light work of John Phillips, nabbing a second-round kimura, before stopping highly-touted former Cage Warriors contender, Rhys ‘Skeletor’ McKee with first-round ground-and-pound just ten days later.
Fast-tracked to Las Vegas in September, Chimaev scored a stunning, one-punch knockout over veteran grappling maestro, Gerald Meerschaert in just seventeen seconds, earning him the accolade as the consensus Prospect of the Year.
For Edwards, the eight-fight streaker has yet to feature since UFC Fight Night San Antonio in July of last year where he knocked back former 155-pound gold holder, Rafael dos Anjos via a unanimous decision win.
While former-foe, Vicente Luque called for a rematch with Edwards, UFC Fight Island 8 also features a welterweight tie between contenders, Neil Magny and Michael Chiesa, with the pairing largely viewed as a backup to the since lost main event.