UFC flyweight Cynthia Calvillo has been forced to withdraw from a scheduled bout against Lauren Murphy at UFC 254 next week in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, and has been replaced by UFC newcomer Liliya Shakirova.
Calvillo (9-1-1) was forced to pull out of the bout after testing positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, according to multiple sources. The promotion quickly moved to replace Calvillo with Shakirova (8-1), who fights out of Uzbekistan. UFC 254 takes place on Oct. 24 on the UFC’s ‘Fight Island’ in the Middle East.
Calvillo, 33, is the No. 3-ranked flyweight in the UFC’s official rankings. The California native moved up from the strawweight division in June and defeated former title challenger Jessica Eye via unanimous decision. The win immediately catapulted Calvillo into the title conversation.
Murphy (13-4) is also in the title picture, having won her last three contests. She’s coming off back-to-back decision wins over the likes of Andrea Lee and Roxanne Modafferi.
This will mark Shakirova’s first appearance in the UFC, and first bout of 2020.