The Fight Night main event clash between Holly Holm and Irene Aldana was canceled after Aldana’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
The bout was originally scheduled for the August 1st event, and it is being reported that it will be rescheduled for a later date.
It was originally reported that Aldana pulled out of the fight for personal reasons, but it did not take long before her diagnosis was released to the public. Holm was removed from the card shortly thereafter, as the UFC did not see any worthy enough competitors to take Aldana’s place.
It is a shame that the fight will not be taking place, as both women are currently at the height of their powers. Holm is ranked second in the UFC’s women’s bantamweight rankings and Aldana is ranked sixth.
The fight was supposedly going to be a No. 1 contender match for Aldana, as she has won two in a row (and five of her last six) leading up to the bout. Her last fight, a match that saw her knockout Ketlan Viera, also won her Performance of the Night honors at UFC 245.
Aldana expressed her sadness for missing the potential golden opportunity in a post on her Instagram last week.
“We are going through a very complicated world situation, and my country is not the exception,” said the 32-year-old Aldana. “Despite the fact that we have made camp in total isolation and with all health measures recommended by the authorities, unfortunately I had some symptoms and the test came back positive.”
At least one positive that can be taken away from the unfortunate situation is that she says her health has improved since the original diagnosis.
“The first days were complicated in terms of symptoms, but I’m much better,” said Aldana. “You know my professionalism and my interest in a commitment of this size. My enthusiasm and preparation is and will be total.”
While Holm is still near the top of the women’s bantamweight division, she has undoubtedly lost some of her shimmer since being an undefeated champion in late 2015. The 38-year-old veteran has an impressive 13-5 record, although she has lost five of her last eight bouts dating back to 2016.
The middleweight matchup between Edmen Shahbazyan and Derek Brunson was moved into the main event slot for the anticipated event. Due to the short notice of the switch, the bout will be a three-round headliner, as opposed to the normal five-round main events.
The event will be held at the UFC Apex Center on Saturday, August 1st, at 8 PM. It will air exclusively on ESPN+.