Former UFC lightweight champion, Rafael dos Anjos is forced to postpone his planned return to 155-pounds. The Brazilian standout was scheduled to tackle Dagestan grappling ace, Islam Makhachev at UFC 254 on October 24th. from ‘Fight Island’ but has withdrawn from the tie after returning a positive COVID-19 test result.
Featuring at the renowned Nova União camp for this clash, dos Anjos was set to return to his former stomping grounds of lightweight following a mixed bag of success a division higher at welterweight since his move back in June of 2017. The Rio de Janeiro native has dropped defeats in his last two straight – opposite The Ultimate Fighter 15 victor, Michael Chiesa, and a decision defeat to Leon Edwards at UFC Fight Night San Antonio in July of last year.
For the streaking contender, Makhachev, the 28-year-old is now looking for a new opponent on short notice, as he attempts to extend his unbeaten streak to an eye-catching seven bouts. Missing out on arguably the most high-profile matchup of his career to date, Makhachev last tackled Davi Ramos at UFC 242 in September of last year also in Abu Dhabi, UAE – taking home a unanimous decision triumph.
Releasing a statement in which he confirmed the positive novel coronavirus test result, dos Anjos explained how doctor’s prevented him from competing after COVID-19 had, “caught me (him) big time“.
“Life if like those things that we don’t understand now. But that will be revealed in the future. I left the comfort zone in the United States to come to Rio de Janeiro and restart my career. The stay was the best possible. Feeling the warmth of my wonderful city, breathing the smell that only the ocean here has, and sharing the joy of the priceless smiles of my people even hidden behind the masks. Being able to be taken care of by the health professionals who are the best in the world and who I trust with my eyes closes, experiencing the training with the best coaches and other professionals who struggle every day to achieve their dreams.“
“I came to rescue my dream of becoming a champion again, and that goal was achieved. Sharping my experiences with the Nova União team and learning many details to improve my game and close the gaps in the future. None of this was in vain. Unfortunately, I will not be able to compete on the 24th. COVID-19 caught me big time and the doctors cut me out. But soon I will be back victorious inside the Octagon! Nothing can take away the blessing that is upon us. God will provide.“