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UFC books champion vs. champion fight; new January 20 main event


Image: Brett Okamoto

As the calendars get flipped to 2021 in a matter of hours around the world, the UFC is already having to deal with a COVID-19 related main event change while booking a champion vs. champion fight for the first quarter of the year.

Reported Wednesday by ESPN, middleweight champion Israel Adesanya will look to become the eighth two-division champion in UFC history when he faces light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz in the main event of UFC 259 on March 6th, location TBA. 

The undefeated Adesanya has been champion since October 2019 with two title defenses under his belt while Blachowicz defeated Dominick Reyes by second round TKO at UFC 259 in a bout for the vacant title. He's won eight of his last nine.


Fans were excited for the triple bill coming to Fight Island in mid-January including the Khamzat Chimaev vs. Leon Edwards main event set for Wednesday, January 20th that was already pushed back once due to Edwards testing positive for COVID-19. Then, ESPN reported earlier this week that Chimaev had to withdraw due to recovering from his own bout with the virus.

Edwards wanted to stay on the show, but the UFC will instead elevate Michael Chiesa vs. Neil Magny to the main event instead as they hope to rebook Chimaev vs. Edwards to a later date. Edwards, a winner of eight straight, hasn't fought since July 2019 due to the pandemic canceling a high-profile fight against Tyron Woodley.