Nik Lentz is in Abu Dhabi and was all set for a fight this week.
Now his plans have changed, and he won’t have to wait too long. Lentz (30-11-2 MMA, 14-8-1 MMA) was supposed to take on Mike Grundy (12-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) on Saturday at UFC on ABC 1. But Sunday, Grundy posted online that a member of his team tested positive for COVID-19, which will keep him from competing on the card.
Instead, Lentz will miss Saturday’s event and fight a week later at UFC 257 against new opponent Movsar Evloev (13-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC). MMA Junkie confirmed the new matchup with a person with knowledge of the booking following an initial report from MMADNA.com.
UFC 257 takes place Jan. 23 at Etihad Arena at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+.
Lentz will be looking to snap a two-fight skid. In May 2019, he lost a second-round TKO in a rematch againnt Charles Oliveira. In January 2020, he dropped a decision to Arnold Allen. In that fight, Lentz took an eye poke and ultimately had to have a complicated surgery that could have left him worse off than when he started. But now he’s ready to return.
Evloev fought just once in 2020 and stayed unbeaten with a unanimous decision against Grundy in July. He was supposed to meet Nate Landwehr this past December, but tested positive for COVID-19 and went on the shelf. Now he’ll try to stay perfect against Lentz with a short-notice assignment.
Grundy was set to try to get back in the win column after his loss to Evloev until the positive test took him out of the fight. In a Twitter post, Grundy said the “devastating news” has him down for now, but plans to “run through the featherweight division” when he returns.
With the addition, the UFC 257 lineup now includes:
Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor
Michael Chandler vs. Dan Hooker
Joanne Calderwood vs. Jessica Eye
Marcin Prachnio vs. Khalil Rountree
Amanda Ribas vs. Marina Rodriguez
Sara McMann vs. Julianna Pena
Ottman Azaitar vs. Matt Frevola
Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Brad Tavares
Sergey Morozov vs. Umar Nurmagomedov
Nasrat Haqparast vs. Arman Tsarukyan
Makhmud Muradov vs. Andrew Sanchez
Movsar Evloev vs. Nik Lentz