It’s heartbreaking for me not to be there fight week in Vegas but thankfully my covid 19 symptoms haven’t been too bad so far. Wishing you all love and safety during this pandemic. pic.twitter.com/g7YSELZYuH— Aiemann Zahabi (@Aiemannzahabi) December 17, 2020
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The year-end Ultimate Fighting Championship event keeps taking hits on fight week.
Aiemann Zahabi (7-2) posted on Twitter on Thursday to announce his withdrawal from UFC Fight Night 183 on Dec. 19, stating that a positive COVID-19 test is the reason for him pulling out. He was originally slated to face Drako Rodriguez (7-1) at bantamweight, but the matchup has been scuttled altogether, per TSN.
“Hey everyone,” Zahabi said on Twitter. “I’ve got some pretty devastating news for myself and for those who wanted to watch me fight on Saturday. For my pre-flight COVID-19 test, I ended up getting a positive result and I ended up getting sick for a couple of days. So I was not able to fly out to Las Vegas to compete this Saturday, Dec. 19. But, please guys, enjoy the show, I’m gonna hopefully get this COVID-19 out of my system soon and get a quick turnaround for the fight. And I really appreciate if you guys can stick with me for the upcoming fight that I will have after this one. Thank you.”
Zahabi was aiming to make his first appearance in over 19 months, as he last competed at UFC Fight Night 151 in May 2019 against Vince Morales. The loss to Morales was his second in a row, as he was previously knocked out in 2017 by a spinning back elbow from Ricardo Ramos. Before the setbacks, Zahabi started his career off at a perfect 7-0. He brought six victories into his signing with the promotion, with six first-round stoppages to his credit. Since then, all three of his bouts have reached the third round.
Rodriguez will have to wait a while longer to make his UFC debut, as he earned a contract on Dana White's Contender Series in September. His performance a first-round technical submission of Leomana Martinez, “The Great Drakolini” advanced his career finish rate to 86 percent with the win. Before his DWCS appearance, Rodriguez spent the entirety of his pro career in the King of the Cage organization.
UFC Fight Night 183 will be held at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Dec. 19, where it will be capped off by a welterweight battle between Stephen Thompson and Geoff Neal. Drawing the co-main assignment is Jose Aldo against Marlon Vera at bantamweight, and another key main card bout is a 170-pound sure-fire banger between Kalinn Williams and Michel Pereira.