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The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s July 15 card has been thoroughly ravaged by the coronavirus.
MMA Fighting first reported on Friday that one of Marina Rodriguez’ corners tested positive for COVID-19. This positive test, despite Rodriguez’ own coming back negative, has made the UFC pull her from her fight with Carla Esparza. The two were set to come to blows on the UFC Fight Night card on July 15, with the bout taking place on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. It is unclear if the promotion will seek a replacement, or if the match will be relocated to a future card.
Potentially unaware of this news, Rodriguez posted on her Instagram after the report came out to claim that she was “in the game” after days spent quarantined in a Brazilian hotel. Rodriguez responded to a request about her fight being scratched by saying it was “fake news.” Should this bout indeed be off, it would be the third bout from this card on Friday to be axed due to positive tests. Both Anderson dos Santos and Vinicius Moreira Castro tested positive for COVID-19 and were forced out of their bouts.
Rodriguez (12-0-2) has yet to taste defeat as a pro, although in her 14 career fights, she has fought to a draw on two separate occasions. Most recently, Rodriguez engaged with Cynthia Calvillo to produce a majority draw on the scorecards in December. Her promotional debut in 2018 was the same way, drawing with Randa Markos. All four of the Brazilian’s bouts inside the Octagon have gone the distance.
Inaugural strawweight champ Esparza (16-6) is riding a three-fight win streak, where she earned the unusual distinction of taking unanimous, majority and split verdicts one after the other. This winning three-bout stretch is her longest since she joined the UFC in 2014. Throughout her career, “Cookie Monster” holds wins over former champ Rose Namajunas, the aforementioned Calvillo and Michelle Waterson.
The July 15 event will be headlined by a featherweight tilt between Calvin Kattar and Dan Ige, and it will be held on “Fight Island” in the UAE. The co-main event of that evening is a bantamweight scrap pitting Frankie Edgar against Pedro Munhoz.