Pandemic era MMA has made for some topsy-turvy events and hectic fight weeks, making the UFC matchmakers’ jobs far less enviable than they otherwise would be. That trend has continued right up to the final event of the promotion’s calendar year in 2020, this Saturday’s UFC Vegas 17. Because while a replacement has been found for Rick Glenn in the form of Christos Giagos, Aiemann Zahabi is now off the Fight Night card.
News of Glenn’s withdrawal broke yesterday, and it apparently stemmed from a positive COVID-19 test. Now, per a report by MMA Fighting, it’s Giagos (17-8) who will step in to take his place. “The Spartan” has not fought since August 2019 at UFC 241, where he lost a unanimous decision Drakkar Klose.
Giagos will be facing Glenn’s original opponent, Carlton Minus. “Clutch” sports a professional record of 10-2 but will be looking for his first UFC win on Saturday. That’s after dropping his debut against Matthew Semelsberger back in August.
Just when you thought it might be smooth sailing until Friday’s weigh-in, however, UFC Vegas 17 (UFC Fight Night 183) has hit another speed bump. On Thursday, Aiemann Zahabi announced he was out of his fight against Darko Rodriguez.
Once again, a positive test for COVID-19 is to blame. Zahabi revealed the news in a video address on social media.
It’s heartbreaking for me not to be there fight week in Vegas but thankfully my covid 19 symptoms haven’t been too bad so far. Wishing you all love and safety during this pandemic. pic.twitter.com/g7YSELZYuH
— Aiemann Zahabi (@Aiemannzahabi) December 17, 2020
Per a report by MMA Fighting citing UFC officials, a replacement for Zahabi is not available, and the fight has been removed from the UFC Vegas 17 card.
The event takes place Saturday, December 19 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Currently, a welterweight match-up between Stephen Thompson and Geoff Neal is expected to headline.