Khamzat Chimaev has withdrawn from his January 20th fight against Leon Edwards, vacating a main event spot on a UFC “Fight Night” card. The withdrawal was first reported by Ashah Tafari of Frontkick.
While a reason for the withdrawal was not known first, a report from Brett Okamoto of ESPN on Wednesday revealed that Chimaev is recovering from COVID-19.
The five-round fight was scheduled to take place at “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
This is the second time a welterweight bout between Chimaev and Edwards has exited a lineup. The matchup was first set for a December 19th card, although it was removed after Edwards tested positive for COVID-19.
It is not known currently if Edwards will get a replacement opponent for his fight which is in less than a month. UFC fighter Kevin Holland has expressed interest in filling the spot.
“Hold up, so am I hearing the #ufcFightIsland hotel has a vacancy and needs a real man to come and do work,” said Holland via Twitter on Tuesday.
Chimaev, who is still in his rookie year in the UFC, has put together three consecutive stoppage wins. His quickest victory in the UFC was in September, where he knocked Gerald Meerschaert out in 17 seconds.
Edwards has been out of action for over a year as numerous booked fights have fallen through. Prior to his cancelled December fight, Edwards was set to fight former UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley in March. The fight, and the entire show it was scheduled to be on, was cancelled due to the global spread of COVID-19.
UPDATE 12/30/20 4:20PM EST: The article has been edited to report on why Chimaev withdrew.