Khamzat Chimaev will have to wait to build upon his breakout campaign on 2020.
Chimaev has been forced out of a welterweight headlining matchup with Leon Edwards at UFC on ESPN 20 on Jan. 20. Multiple outlets confirmed the news on Tuesday following an initial report from Frontkick. A reason for Chimaev’s exit is currently unknown.
Chimaev and Edwards were initially slated to meet at UFC Fight Night 183 before the Englishman withdrew from the contest due to a severe bout with COVID-19 that saw him lose 12 pounds.
UFC on ESPN 20 takes place on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi and also includes a 170-pound clash between Michael Chiesa and Neil Magny. It is unclear if Edwards will remain on the card against a replacement opponent.
Chimaev emerged as one of the rising stars of the sport after compiling a 3-0 campaign this past year. The Allstars Training Center representative turned heads with finishes of John Phillips and Rhys McKee within a 10-day span in July, and he returned to action at UFC Fight Night 178 on Sept. 19, when he knocked out Gerald Meerschaert in 17 seconds. “Borz” is 9-0 as a professional, with all of his victories coming inside the distance.
Edwards has not competed since July 2019, when he outpointed Rafael dos Anjos in the UFC on ESPN 4 headliner. “Rocky” was slated to meet Tyron Woodley on March 21 in London before that event was canceled due to the pandemic. Edwards has been victorious in his last eight Octagon appearances.
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