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Try as it might, the Ultimate Fighting Championship cannot shed COVID-related withdrawals from fight cards.
On his Instagram on Friday, beloved veteran Jim Miller (32-16, 1 NC) posted a video announcing that he has come down with COVID-19. His bout with Nikolas Motta (12-3) at UFC Fight Night 192 inside the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Sept. 18 has been scratched. As of now, it is unclear if the promotion will be able to find a replacement within the week for the Brazilian lightweight.
“There’s a first time for everything,” a disappointed Miller explained. “In the leadup to my 50th professional fight, having never pulled out of a fight before, I tested positive for ‘rona. So, I will not be fighting next weekend unfortunately. I’ve already talked to [UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby], gonna stay on the grind, take a few days, load up on some vitamins and minerals and medicine and get right back into it and potentially even fight as early as Oct. 2.”
Miller continued, “So, I’ll keep you guys posted. And…I’ve never really been the type to get bent out of shape by things I can’t control. So, this is how it always happens, right? You grind for weeks, beating the s--- out of yourself getting ready for a fight, and it’s always in the last two weeks that an illness or injury happens. And this time, it just happened to be corona.”
Miller, already the co-owner of the most UFC bouts in history with 37, was looking to add to that total and take the lead over former foe Donald Cerrone at that event. Miller was aiming to bounce back from a pair of decision defeats to Vinc Pichel and Joe Solecki in August 2020 and April, respectively. Every single win for “A-10” within the last four years has come by first-round submission.
Signing off the 2020 season of Dana White's Contender Series, Motta captured a one-sided decision over Joseph Lowry to earn a contract. As a pro, the man known as “Iron Motta” has notched two-thirds of his career wins by knockout, with the rest coming on the scorecards. This two-decision streak Motta is on, which includes a championship-winning performance over Juan Gonzalez at CFFC 79 in 2019 and the aforementioned Lowry victory is the first such stretch in his career.
UFC Fight Night 192 rolls on at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas with a stuffed card on Sept. 18 capped off by a light heavyweight rumble between Anthony Smith and Ryan Spann in the marquee position. The co-headliner also comes at 205 pounds, when “The Hulk” Ion Cutelaba tries to put hands on NJCAA All-American wrestler Devin Clark. Motta vs. Miller was to serve in that featured position on the main card.