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UFC loses December 19th main event due to COVID-19

The UFC has lost yet another main event as the Khazmat Chimaev vs. Leon Edwards has been pulled from the December 19th ESPN show due to Edwards testing positive for COVID-19.

In less than a month, the organization has both lost and needed to make changes to seven main events.

ESPN's Ariel Helwani first reported the news, adding they hope to rebook the fight for early-2021 and that it's likely Stephen Thompson vs. Geoff Neal will take its place as the main event for the organization's final show of 2020. 

This is just the latest bit of bad luck for Edwards who has an eight fight winning streak but hasn't competed since July 2019. He was set to face former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in London, but the pandemic related travel bans prevented it from happening. Helwani said Edwards has lost 12 pounds in four days and hasn't been able to train.

The fight was also to be a big test for the undefeated Chimaev who has shot up the ranks in a short amount of time due to impressive finishes in his three UFC appearances.

Since November 6th, injuries, COVID-19 and undisclosed reasons have forced seven changes to headlining fights including today's news:

  • On November 6th, Darren Till had to pull out of his fight with Jack Hermansson due to a knee injury. Kevin Holland was tabbed to take his place.
  • On November 8th, Islam Makhachev had to pull out of his fight with Rafael dos Anjos due to an injury. Paul Felder took his place on five days notice.
  • On November 10th, featherweight champion Amanda Nunes pulled out of her fight with Megan Anderson for UFC 256 due to undisclosed reasons.
  • On November 22nd, bantamweight champion Petr Yan pulled out of his fight with Aljamain Sterling due to undisclosed reasons.
  • On November 27th, Curtis Blaydes pulled out of his fight with Derrick Lewis the day before when he tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On November 29th, Kevin Holland tested positive for COVID-19 and pulled out of his fight with Hermansson, replaced by Marvin Vettori.