UFC Fight Island 8 needs a new head move after sensational Khamzat Chimaev was forced to withdraw from a welterweight match with Leon Edwards, MMA Fighting has learned. Frontkick first reported the news.
It is still unclear why Chimaev will not fight on January 20 and whether the promotion will hold Edwards in the main match against another opponent. Neil Magny, who is currently on the same card for Michael Chiesa, is expected to serve as a backup for the main match.
Edwards vs Chimaev was originally in Las Vegas on December 19, but was postponed to one of the Abu Dhabi cards after the 170-pound born in Jamaica tested positive for COVID-19.
“Rocky” Edwards (18-3) has not competed since July 2019, when he achieved his eighth consecutive victory with a dominant decision over Rafael dos Anjos. Edwards, who also canceled a five-round match with Tyron Woodley in 2020 due to the pandemic, has victories over Gunnar Nelson, Donald Cerrone and Vicente Luque.
Chimaev (9-0) was named MMA Fighting’s Breakout Fighter of the Year after beating John Phillips, Rhys McKee and Gerald Meerschaert in a span of 66 days.