The upcoming UFC 254 PPV is down a key player. Former UFC lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos has withdrawn from the card, after testing positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The Brazilian, who had been training in Rio, announced the news himself on Thursday.
dos Anjos (29-13) was expected to face Islam Makhachev (18-1) in a lightweight bout on the main card of the Fight Island show. It’s a fight that would have marked the former 155lb champion’s return to the division he once ruled. However, in a statement posted to social media on Thursday, RDA explained that “COVID19 caught me big time, and the doctors cut me out.”
You can view the full text of dos Anjos’ statement below.
“Life is 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 closed, 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. Sharing my experiences with the Nova Uniao 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. COVID19 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.”
dos Anjos last competed at UFC Raleigh in January, losing a unanimous decision to Michael Chiesa in a welterweight bout. It was the second straight loss for the Brazilian, who fought (and lost) against Colby Covington for the UFC interim welterweight championship in 2018.
The UFC has yet to reveal their plans for Makhachev, who is currently without a dance partner.