Hours after UFC president Dana White announced that the promotion’s main event on Aug. 1 between Holly Holm and Irene Aldana had been postponed, Aldana publicly revealed the delay was caused by a positive COVID-19 test.
Aldana posted a statement on Instagram saying she had contracted the virus, despite training for the fight in “total isolation.”
Irene Aldana has tested positive for COVID-19 but says she is feeling better already. This is the reason the fight with Holm was postponed. Per her Instagram pic.twitter.com/f4yZweKzta— Nicole Bosco 💎 (@NikBos) July 22, 2020
Aldana said she would face Holm on a later date, yet to be determined. Ranked by the UFC as the No. 6 bantamweight in the division, a win against the second-ranked Holm could have set up a path to champion Amanda Nunes for Aldana.
This is far from the first time that the UFC has had to call off a fight due to a coronavirus diagnosis. Gilbert Burns had to pull out of a welterweight title fight at UFC 251 earlier this month, and there have been several other instances.
Rising star Edmen Shahbazyan headlines new main event
Instead of Holm-Aldana, it will be a middleweight bout between rising star Edmen Shahbazyan and UFC veteran Derek Brunson serving as the main event next weekend in Las Vegas.
The fight will remain three rounds despite the upgrade in status, according to ESPN.
Among those hyping the fight is former UFC star Ronda Rousey, who co-promotes Shahbazyan. From ESPN:
"This kid is special," Rousey said. "He is one-in-a-generation, and I know what the f--- I'm looking at, and you know what you're looking at. And it's interesting to finally be in this time when everyone else is starting to take notice. He's such a sweet and quiet kid, but man he's a killer. When people take a moment to watch him, they'll never be able to forget him."
The 22-year-old Shahbazyan remains undefeated at 11-0, and has finished all but one of his opponents. Brunson, 36, is 4-4 in his last eight fights, but remains eighth in UFC’s middleweight rankings.
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