- The Khamzat Chimaev vs Leon Edwards bout has been rebooked for January 20, 2021 at Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.
- It was originally set to take place on December 19th in Las Vegas but Edwards tested positive for COVID-19.
- Edwards has not fought since July 2019 while Chimaev will be fighting for the third time at Fight Island.
Less than two weeks after the Khamzat Chimaev vs Leon Edwards showdown on December 19th was called off after Rocky tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, UFC President Dana White already has a new date for the matchup.
In an interview with TSN, White revealed that they are targeting that fight to headline the UFC’s January 20, 2021 ( Wednesday ) event at the Flash Forum in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi:
Dana White outlines the plan for three events at the start of 2021. pic.twitter.com/FtEz2IBbEx
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) December 10, 2020
“In a perfect world, if I can pull this thing off, we go to Fight Island again and it’s like an international fight week. We’re doing all kinds of cool things that week for people to fly in, hang out, party, watch fights Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday.”
The new date means that it will be Chimaev’s third appearance at Fight Island in four UFC assignments and it will be Leon Edwards’ first bout in 18 months. Last month, Edwards opened as a -175 betting favorite to Chimaev’s +150 underdog status. But that was short-lived as the odds flipped almost as immediately as it was posted. Borz took over as the -180 odds on favorite when the betting money started coming in. Meanwhile, Edwards was demoted to a +150 underdog despite being the higher ranked fighter between the two, adding to what has been a tough year for the British fighter.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) December 1, 2020
2020 has been a tough year for Leon Edwards. He was supposed to fight Tyron Woodley last March but that event was cancelled at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, he was offered several fights by the UFC but he turned them down, including a title fight against Kamaru Usman.
Rocky admitted to being offered a crack at Kamaru Usman at UFC 251 at Fight Island. He rejected the fight due to the COVID-19 situation. The title shot was then offered to Gilbert Burns, who in turn got COVID-19. Jorge Masvidal went on to fight and lose to Usman in Abu Dhabi. Most recently, Edwards was offered Stephen Thompson but he declined the offer saying fighting Wonderboy “does nothing” for him.
It was then that the UFC removed him from the ranking due to inactivity since he had not fought since beat Rafael Dos Anjos in July 2019. Almost immediately after that, Edwards agreed to fight Khamzat Chimaev at UFC Fight Night 183 this coming December 19th. However, Edwards tested positive for COVID-19 and the bout was postponed.
Chimaev Hype Train
“He is the most special fighter I’ve ever come across.”
“He might fight before Maia and then fight Maia, too!” ?
Dana White has a first-class ticket for the Khamzat Chimaev hype train ? pic.twitter.com/0BZZVKkvk5
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) September 20, 2020
The 26-year old Russian-Swedish mixed martial artist is one of the hottest commodities in the UFC today and much has been said about the Khamzat Chimaev hype train. In fact, even UFC President Dana White has a first class ticket for that ride. You can’t blame Uncle Dana though.
Chimaev has taken the UFC by storm after his record-setting two wins in 10 days performance during the first Fight Island Series. Imagine a fighter making his UFC debut at middleweight and then fighting 10 days later at 170 pounds. Less than two month later, he moved up to middleweight again and smashed Gerald Meerschaert with his first punch of the fight. I mean if you’re not buying into the Chimaev hype, you have to be kidding me.
Chimaev’s 3-0 record with three stoppages in a little over two months time had everyone glued to him. He started calling out everybody from Donald Cerrone to Israel Adesanya, and even Conor McGregor. With nobody interested in him, the UFC booked him a Top 5 opponent in Edwards. Unfortunately for him, Borz will have to wait until next month to “smesh” Rocky.