Fernandes broke the news on his Instagram account earlier:
“It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce the fight between me and John Lineker has been postponed. Unfortunately, John Lineker tested positive for COVID 19 and is unable to fight at this time. I wish him a full and quick recovery. I’m sorry to all of my fans for the disappointing news. I will be ready once the fight is back on!”
The top-ranked challenger tested positive for COVID-19 in Singapore. Based on an article published by MMA Fighting earlier, it is understood that Lineker tested negative for the virus before he departed from Brazil late last week.
At ONE: Bad Blood, ‘The Flash’ was returning for his first title defense since October 2019. In his last appearance on the global stage, the multiple-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion submitted long-time rival Kevin ‘The Silencer’ Belingon via a rear-naked choke in the second round.
His victory over his Filipino rival marked Fernandes' 11th title win, making him the most successful MMA world champion in the Singapore-based promotion.
Belingon was the favorite to go up against the 41-year-old champion in what would have been their pentalogy fight. However, Lineker’s impressive run and Belingon’s dip in form saw some major shifts in ONE Championship's 145 lb division.
‘Hands of Stone’ has been on a hot run since penning a deal with ONE. The Brazilian scored a clear-cut unanimous decision win over Muin Gafurov in his debut. He followed up the victory with two successive knockouts against Belingon and Troy Worthen to seal his spot as the No.1-ranked contender.
There have been no official announcements on which fight is now scheduled to headline ONE: Bad Blood. By the looks of it, Anatoly Malykhin’s ONE interim heavyweight world title showdown against Kirill Grishenko may be bumped up in the promotion’s third event of 2022.
Full ONE Championship fight card for ONE: Bad Blood
With the explosive main event now off the February 11 card, check out the possible lineup of fights for ONE: Bad Blood below:
Yodkaikaew Fairtex vs. Woo Sung Hoon (mixed martial arts – flyweight)
Mei Yamaguchi vs. Jihin Radzuan (mixed martial arts – atomweight)
Dustin Joynson vs. Hugo Cunha (mixed martial arts – heavyweight)
Lin Heqin vs. Bi Nguyen (mixed martial arts – atomweight)
Thomas Narmo vs. Odie Delaney (mixed martial arts – heavyweight)
Sunoto vs. Tial Thang (mixed martial arts – bantamweight)
Anatoly Malykhin vs. Kirill Grishenko (mixed martial arts – ONE Interim Heavyweight World Title)
Jonathan Haggerty vs. Mongkolpetch Petchyindee (Muay Thai – flyweight)
Yosuke Saruta vs. Gustavo Balart (mixed martial arts – strawweight)
Chen Rui vs. Mark Abelardo (mixed martial arts – bantamweight)
Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke vs. Danial Williams (mixed martial arts – strawweight)