Khamzat Chimaev vs. Leon Edwards has been cancelled for the second time.
The pair were originally scheduled for December 19, but after Edwards contracted COVID-19, the fight was pushed back to January 20, 2021. That booking was expected to be the main event of UFC Fight Island 8. However, Front Kick Online was first to report that Chimaev had pulled out of the bout.
That leaves the card without a headliner. No reason has been reported for Chimaev’s withdrawal. However, interestingly enough, the entire event has been pulled from the UFC’s official website, which currently only lists UFC Fight Island 7 on January 16, followed by the UFC 257: McGregor vs. Poirier card on January 23.
Before any wild rumors get going, that may simply be giving the UFC a chance to retool the card, or a maintenance matter. The promotion has not released an official statement regarding Chimaev’s exit from the fight.
Chimaev (9-0) was arguably the biggest breakout star of 2020, running up a 3-0 mark inside the octagon in fights split between welterweight and middleweight. Edwards (18-3), meanwhile, sat out all of 2020 after UFC London fell through in March. He currently sits on an eight-fight win streak.
With Neil Magny vs. Michael Chiesa booked for the same card, there’s a possibility one of those fighters could be bumped up to the main event.