Ahead of Saturday’s rematch at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Cutelaba (15-5 MMA, 4-4 UFC) was removed from the fight following a positive COVID-19 test. As a result, Cutelaba is currently in quarantine.
A person with knowledge of the situation informed MMA Junkie of the situation after an initial report by TASS. The person asked to remain anonymous as the promotion has yet to make an official announcement.
No replacement will be sought to face Ankalaev (13-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC), but the fight “will likely” be rebooked for Aug. 29, according to one source.
The original fight between the two light heavyweight competitors took place at UFC on ESPN+ 27 in February. After a sequence of brain-rattling kicks and punches from Ankalaev, referee Kevin MacDonald waived off the fight. The stoppage came despite Cutelaba still being on his feet and throwing back, which got a protest out of the Moldovan fighter as well as many fans and media members.
The fight was immediately rebooked for April 18, however, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the event to be canceled.
UFC 252 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN/ESPN+.
With Cutelaba’s removal, the latest UFC 252 lineup includes:
- Champ Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier – for heavyweight title
- Sean O’Malley vs. Marlon Vera
- Junior Dos Santos vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
- John Dodson vs. Merab Dvalishvili
- Livinha Souza vs. Ashley Yoder
- Felice Herrig vs. Virna Jandiroba
- Jorge Gonzalez vs. Ike Villanueva
- Herbert Burns vs. Daniel Pineda
- Chris Daukaus vs. Parker Porter
- Kai Kamaka III vs. Tony Kelley