“Injuries and illnesses are a part of the game, and there is nothing we can do. My apologies to all fans and supporters around the world who’s been waiting for this fight. I’ll be back soon,” tweeted Islam Makhachev.
Islam was excited about his fight against Dos Anjos which was initially scheduled to take place a month ago. RDA, however, had to pull out of the bout after testing positive for COVID-19.
The fight was booked again for UFC Vegas 14, but this time Makhachev had to pull out due to a staph infection. The fight is an opportunity for RDA to return to the lightweight division, where he once held the championship before losing it to Eddie Alvarez.
The veteran has been plying in his trade in the welterweight division since June 2017 after losing his last lightweight outing to Tony Ferguson. Dos Anjos has notable wins over Neil Magny and Kevil Lee in the 170-pound division. He also holds a unanimous decision win over former UFC Welterweight Champion Robbie Lawler.
In the wake of Makhachev dropping out of the fight, RDA called out promotion newcomer Michael Chandler to step in as a replacement. However, the 34-year-old denied the call-out, leaving Dos Anjos unimpressed.
Fellow veteran and UFC commentary box regular Paul Felder then accepted the challenge and has stepped in as Makhachev’s replacement on 5 days' notice.
UFC Vegas 14 would have been Islam Makhachev’s first main event
Dos Anjos would have been the biggest name that Islam Makhachev has faced to date, and many believed that the former UFC Lightweight Champion would also have been the biggest challenge in Dagestan fighter's career so far. What will irk Makhachev the most, however, is the fact that this was his opportunity to main event a UFC card for the first time.
Ever since making his UFC debut in May 2015, Islam Makhachev has been touted as the next big thing in the stacked UFC lightweight division.
Islam Makhachev is childhood friends with Khabib Nurmagomedov and was also coached by Khabib’s father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov in his initial years.
Published 10 Nov 2020, 19:02 IST