This weekend’s UFC Vegas 14 main event between surging grappling talent, Islam Makhachev, and former lightweight champion, Rafael dos Anjos has fallen to the wayside.
Failing to come to fruition at the second time of asking now, the pairing was originally slated for UFC 254 in October, until dos Anjos returned a positive COVID-19 test in the weeks prior to the clash, forcing him from the tie, with Makhachev ultimately removed from the event entirely.
According to a recent report from ESPN MMA reporter, Brett Okamoto, American Kickboxing Academy trainee, Makhachev had suffered an undisclosed injury ahead of the Las Vegas showcase, ruling him from proceedings, with the promotion actively searching for a short-notice replacement which would keep the division returning, dos Anjos on the card.
Forced from the most high-profile outing of his professional career to date, Makhachev is riding a six-fight undefeated run. Most recently featuring at UFC 242 in September of last year in Abu Dhabi, UAE – Makhachev managed a unanimous decision win over Davi Ramos, adding to prior notable wins over Arman Tsarukyan, Kajan Johnson, Gleison Tibau, Nik Lentz, and Chris Wade.
36-year-old Rio de Janeiro native dos Anjos is still hoping for a 155-pound return, attempting to snap a two-fight slide himself following a pair of unanimous decision defeats to perennial welterweight contender, Leon Edwards, and grappling ace, Michael Chiesa.
The Evolve MMA mainstay had claimed the lightweight championship at UFC 185 in March of 2015, putting on a masterful performance opposite Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis before scoring his one and only successful title defence in a quickfire knockout win over Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in an end of year rematch.
dos Anjos’ most recent professional win at UFC Fight Night Rochester back in May of last year where he took main event honours in a fourth-round arm-triangle win over one-time interim lightweight title challenger, Kevin ‘The Mo’Town Phenom’ Lee.