Jason Witt In Against Takashi Sato After Ramiz Brahimaj’s Corner Tests Positive for COVID-19

By Jay Pettry Jun 26, 2020

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What started as the biggest fear for the Ultimate Fighting Championship is looking become a regular occurrence.

On Thursday evening, the UFC announced that Ramiz Brahimaj (8-2) has been forced out of his bout against Takashi Sato (15-3) at UFC on ESPN 12 on June 27. The reason for his withdrawal was due to one of his cornermen testing positive for COVID-19, which is a similar situation to what Matt Frevola experienced last week. In Brahimaj’s stead will be debutant Jason Witt (17-5), and the bout should still take place in the welterweight division at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

The UFC newcomer Brahimaj confirmed this news on his Instagram on Friday morning, where he expressed his disappointment while remaining resolute that he will compete soon. The promotion stated that it was only one of Brahimaj’s corner, and not the fighter himself, that tested positive. With the proper clearances, the competitor may be able to return to action sooner than later.

The Fortis MMA product was looking to make a splash inside the Octagon, and across his eight career wins, all eight have come by submission. A frequent competitor in Legacy Fighting Alliance, Brahimaj is tied with two other fighters for the second-most submission victories in LFA history.

Sato will be looking to rebound from a resounding submission loss to Belal Muhammad at UFC 242 in September 2019. The welterweight from Japan made his triumphant company debut at UFC Fight Night 150, where he finished Ben Saunders in the second round with strikes. Sporting a finish rate of 80 percent, each of Sato’s last six victories have come by knockout within two rounds.

Witt’s appearance will hinge on passing medicals and his own COVID-19 test. As he is taking the fight on extremely short notice and will need to go through the proper testing protocols, his weigh-ins will be overseen by the commission separately. Witt has won each of his last four, including a tapout of Ashkan Morvari at LFA 50 in 2018. Throughout his career, “The Vanilla Gorilla” – not to be confused with UFC heavyweight Chase Sherman – holds wins over the likes of Isaac Vallie-Flagg and Bellator MMA competitor Zak Bucia, and is the only man to hand Mark Lemminger a defeat.

Brahimaj’s full statement on Instagram reads as follows:

”Hello everyone, unfortunately due to circumstances far out of my control I will not be competing this weekend. I am extremely gutted. However I am no stranger to adversity or trying times and I will make it through this and I will continue to push forward as I always do. Thank you for the love and support everyone has been showing me. Thank you to the UFC for all that they continue to do, and ensuring everyone’s safety. I look forward to competing and I cannot wait to represent all of you when I fight. Best of luck to everyone competing on the card this weekend. See you all very soon. God bless.”

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