UFC 254 is down one of its main-card matchups.
Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos announced Thursday on Twitter that he is out of his scheduled fight with Islam Makhachev because of a positive test for COVID-19. UFC 254 is set for Oct. 24 in Abu Dhabi.
“COVID19 caught me big time and the doctors cut me out,” dos Anjos wrote.
Dos Anjos wrote that he left his home in California to train in his native Brazil for this fight at famed Nova Uniao in Rio de Janeiro in an effort to “restart” his career. But he has no regrets about his decision.
“I came to rescue my dream of being a champion again and that goal was achieved,” dos Anjos wrote. … “None of this was in vain.”
On Twitter, Makhachev made it clear he wanted to stay on the card that is headlined by his close friend and UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who looks to unify the title against interim champion Justin Gaethje. Makhachev called out new UFC signee and former Bellator champion Michael Chandler, who is current set to be in Abu Dhabi as a backup for Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje.
Dos Anjos (29-13) was supposed to be returning to lightweight for this event after dropping four of his last five fights up at welterweight. Dos Anjos, 35, was the UFC lightweight champion in 2015 and 2016.
Makhachev (18-1), a 29-year-old from Dagestan, Russia, has won six straight.