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COVID-19 has claimed another thrilling Ultimate Fighting Championship matchup.
Mexican outlet Milenio first reported on Friday that Alejandro Perez (21-8-1) has been forced to withdraw from his bantamweight battle against Thomas Almeida (21-3) after testing positive for COVID-19. The two were set to square off at UFC Fight Night 179 on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Oct. 10. It is not clear if the promotion will elect to replace Perez or simply reschedule the match for a later date.
Perez was looking to snap a two-fight skid from 2019, where he dropped a decision to Cody Stamann and was later knocked out by Yadong Song. This current layoff of nearly 15 months and counting is the longest of the Mexican fighter’s 15-year career. The loss to Stamann halted a seven-fight unbeaten streak where Perez defeated the likes of Eddie Wineland and Iuri Alcantara, as well as fighting to a draw with Albert Morales.
Almeida was looking to get back in action for the first time since January 2018, when Rob Font starched him with a head kick and follow-up punches. Like Perez, Almeida has also lost two fights in a row, and it is the first time in his 24-fight career that he had ever suffered consecutive setbacks. The Brazilian burst on to the scene in 2015, rattling off a trip of knockout wins over Yves Jabouin, Brad Pickett and Anthony Birchak to earn a title eliminator match with Cody Garbrandt. “Thominhas” lost that match by first-round knockout.
UFC Fight Night 179 goes down on Oct. 10 at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi, and it will be capped by a bantamweight thriller between Marlon Moraes and Cory Sandhagen. The co-headliner comes in the form of a featherweight tilt between Makwan Amirkhani and Edson Barboza, while Ben Rothwell and Marcin Tybura square off on the main card at heavyweight.