Covid-19 cancels Holly Holm vs Irene Aldana – New main event added
As the UFC is once again in operation, hosting weekly events both in the United States and in Abu Dhabi, one can forget about the ongoing pandemic. However, the UFC remains the only major sports league still hosting sporting events, on account of Covid-19 putting a stop to most sports. Despite this, the UFC has been dealt several blows, this continues as Covid-19 now cancels the UFC on ESPN+ 31 main event between Holly Holm and Irene Aldana.
Mexico’s Aldana tested positive for Covid-19, forcing her to withdraw from the bout. The UFC scrambled to find a replacement, though the promotion ended up postponing the bout instead of finding a new opponent for Holm. Aldana recently took to social media to post a statement on the matter.
“I deeply thank all the fans and all the media for their messages of support and the interest shown in the news of the postponement of my fight in 1st. August vs. Holly Holm,” Aldana wrote.
“We are going through a very complicated world situation and my country is no exception: COVID-19. Despite the fact that we made a camp in total isolation and with the health measures recommended by the authorities, unfortunately I had some symptoms and in the pertinent examinations it was positive.
“I am still recovering: the first days were complicated in terms of symptoms, but I am much better. You know my professionalism and my interest in a commitment of this size. My enthusiasm and preparation is and will be total.
“I deeply thank the UFC, its president Dana White, Mick Maynard and my opponent and her team for the understanding shown, we will be ready for the new date that the company assigns us within the next few months.
“Once again thanks for your understanding and support always.”
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This is not the first high-profile bout to be directly affected by Covid-19. The UFC 251 main event between welterweight champ Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns was altered as the latter contracted the virus and was forced out of the title fight. Jorge Masvidal ended up stepping in on just six days notice to replace Burns.
A new main event has been found, however, as a middleweight bout between Derek Brunson and Edmen Shahbazyan will duke it out in the new headliner for UFC on ESPN+ 31. Brunson, an eight year UFC veteran with over 15 bouts in the promotion, is no stranger to testing young prospects. Aside from wins over established veterans like Lyoto Machida and Uriah Hall, he has also defeated young talents like Elias Theodorou and Ian Heinisch. Meanwhile, undefeated Shahbazyan has taken the division by storm, winning four straight bouts. In his last outing, he dispacthed veteran Brad Tavares via TKO in the first round.