Sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then stream the UFC live on your smart TV, computer, phone, tablet or streaming device via the ESPN app.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship can’t catch a break when it comes to COVID-19.
On Thursday, AdjaraSport reported that Cody Stamann (19-3-1) has tested positive for COVID-19, and that he was forced to pull out of his matchup with Merab Dvalishvili (12-4). The two were set to square off at the UFC event on Dec. 5, and Dvalishvili confirmed his opponent’s withdrawal on his Facebook page. Subsequent reports have claimed that Stamann himself did not contract COVID-19, conflicting with what Stamann’s former foe claimed. The promotion is currently searching for a replacement opponent, and Dvalishvili is asking for a top-ranked opponent to fill the void.
“My fight with Cody Stamann was cancelled and we are looking for a new opponent,” Dvalishvili wrote. “Cody got coronavirus and while there’s six weeks still left, he doesn’t want to fight for now. Hopefully UFC will give me top-15/top-10 guy. I am ready for whoever.”
Dvalishvili is looking to keep his lengthy win streak intact, as the Georgian fighter has not lost a fight since April 2018. Since then, “The Machine” has captured five consecutive unanimous verdicts, most recently topping John Dodson in August to spell the latter’s release. The Serra-Longo fighter has gone the distance in 12 of 16 career bouts, with his lone stoppage defeat a literal last-second submission loss when Ricky Simon put him to sleep with a guillotine choke at the 5:00 mark of the third round.
Stamann was looking to bounce back from the second decision loss of his career, which he suffered in July to Jimmie Rivera. The setback snapped a three-fight unbeaten streak that included wins over Brian Kelleher and Alejandro Perez along the way. After rattling off a trio of decision wins – like Dvalishvili, each of Stamann’s UFC wins have come on the scorecards – to begin his UFC career, “The Spartan” suffered his first stoppage loss when Aljamain Sterling landed an unorthodox Suloev Stretch kneebar on him at UFC 228 in 2018.
The Dec. 5 UFC card goes down at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, with a middleweight headliner between Jack Hermansson and Darren Till sitting atop the lineup. Although there is no official co-main event announced, other bouts scheduled include a fun heavyweight scrap between former light heavyweights Gian Villante and Jake Collier, and Bethe Correia takes her final walk against Yanan Wu at women’s bantamweight.