UFC Fight News: Including Edwards vs Chimaev, Benavidez & Fight Island
As we approach the end of a turbulent year, more fights are being announced for early 2021. And the last minute changes to the upcoming UFC cards continue.
Leon Edwards vs Khamzat Chimaev
The UFC Vegas 17 main event between Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev has been removed from the card. After it was reported earlier this week that ‘Borz’ had tested positive for the coronavirus, it was confirmed that the December 19th headliner has been scrapped after ‘Rocky’ tested positive for COVID-19.
Whereas reports suggested that Chimaev would recover in time for UFC Vegas 17, Edwards was said to have more severe symptoms, and has lost 12lbs in four days. First reported by Ariel Helwani, who stated that the promotion is looking to rebook the fight in 2021. Stephen Thompson vs Geoff Neal is now the new five-round main event, and will serve as the last UFC fight of the year.
Joseph Benavidez vs Askar Askarov
Russian journalist Igor Lazonin has reported that a top three flyweight clash between Joseph Benavidez and Askar Askarov is in the works for UFC 259 on March 6th. The 36 year old American will look to rebound from back-to-back title fight losses to Deiveson Figueiredo this year. His Dagestani opponent meanwhile, is coming off back-to-back wins over Tim Elliott and Alexandre Pantoja. Prior to these, ‘Bullet’ fought out a draw against Brandon Moreno in his UFC debut, in the only fight of his 13 fight career he didn’t win.
Anthony Pettis vs Alex Morono
Brett Okamoto has reported that Anthony Pettis is set to return at UFC Vegas 17 against Alex Morono in a welterweight contest. The former UFC lightweight champion is coming off a hard fought unanimous decision win over ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone at UFC 249. While ‘The Great White’ is fresh off a unanimous decision win over Rhys McKee last month at UFC Vegas 14.
Other UFC Bookings
A welterweight matchup between Warlley Alves and Christian Aguilera has been added to the UFC’s first card of 2021 on January 16th. Aleksei Oleinik will look for his 60th professional MMA win against Chris Daukaus on the UFC’s February 20th card, in a heavyweight contest. And a welterweight bout between Max Griffin and Song Kenan has been added to the UFC’s March 20th card.
UFC Vegas 15 Medical Suspensions
The Nevada State Athletic Commission have released the medical suspensions for UFC Vegas 15 (via MMA Junkie). Seven of the fighters on the card face a potential six month suspension. Both Antony Smith and Devin Clark escaped the main event without any injuries.
Takashi Sato: Suspended 180 days or until fractured left orbital floor is cleared by a doctor; also suspended 45 days with no contact for 30 days.
Parker Porter: Suspended 180 days or until left hand x-ray is cleared by a doctor; also suspended 30 days with no contact for 21 days.
Josh Parisian: Suspended 60 days with no contact for 45 days.
Bill Algeo: Suspended 180 days or until left hand x-ray is cleared by a doctor; also suspended 12 days with no contact.
Spike Carlyle: Suspended 30 days with no contact for 21 days.
Norma Dumont: Suspended 180 days or until right hand x-ray is cleared by a doctor; also suspended 12 days with no contact.
Ashlee Evans-Smith: Suspended 180 days or until left hand x-ray is cleared by a doctor; also suspended 45 days with no contact for 30 days due to a nasal laceration.
Jonathan Pearce: Suspended 180 days or until right foot is cleared by a doctor; also suspended 30 days with no contact for 21 days.
Kai Kamaka: Suspended 45 days with no contact for 30 days
Gina Mazany: Suspended 14 days with no contact for seven days.
Rachael Ostovich: Suspended 180 days or until right hand x-ray is cleared by a doctor; also suspended 30 days with no contact for 21 days.
Malcolm Gordon: Suspended 60 days with no contact for 21 days.
Luke Sanders: Suspended 30 days with no contact for 21 days due to upper lip laceration.
UFC Fight Island
BJPenn.com has reported that the UFC will begin 2021 on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi. The promotion’s first card of the year will see a top six featherweight clash between Max Holloway and Calvin Kattar in the main event. The following weekend, Conor McGregor is set to rematch Dustin Poirier in the UFC 257 main event.
At the UFC Vegas 15 post fight press conference this past weekend, Dana White said that he planned on making UFC 257 the promotion’s International Fight Week. The UFC president stated that he hoped to have three cards during the week on January 16th, 20th and 23rd.
Speaking to Barstool Sports previously, Dana revealed some of his plans for the week.
“The new Etihad Arena will be open, and that thing was designed with us in mind,” Dana said. “Concerts, pool parties, all kinds of cool stuff. And, yes, I hope to bring fans back.”
UFC Fight Pass
UFC Fight Pass will welcome six new promotions to it streaming service in 2021. Five MMA promotions and one Muay Thai. The organisations are:
Battlefield Fight League
Unified Mixed Martial Arts
The Golden Cage
Fight Club Rush
Lion Fight (Muay Thai)
The UFC also announced that it has extended distribution agreements with 14 of their current live event partners, including Ares Fighting Championship, Cage Fury Fighting Championship, CES MMA, Submission Underground, and the World Lethwei Championship.