A light heavyweight clash targeted for Oct. 3 will not proceed as planned. According to a report by Combate, Santos is out of his scheduled fight against Glover Teixeira at UFC on ESPN 16. “Marreta” allegedly tested positive for COVID-19 and he won't be able to travel to Yas Island.
Santos (21-7) was supposed to make his long-awaited return after a hiatus that lasted more than a year. The last time he competed, he challenged former divisional kingpin Jon Jones at UFC 239. “Bones” emerged victorious via split decision after a back-and-forth battle, but “Marreta” fought to the bitter end. That loss snapped Santos’ four-bout winning streak that included victories over Jan Blachowicz and Jimi Manuwa.
UFC vet Teixeira (31-7) is currently living experiencing a resurgence. After dropping a decision in front of Corey Anderson back at UFC Fight Night 134, the former 205-pound title contender scored a series of three straight victories at the expense of Karl Roberson, Ion Cutelaba and Nikita Krylov. In his latest fight, he smashed Anthony Smith via TKO at the 1:04 mark of the fifth round in their UFC Fight Night 171 encounter.
Given both fighters’ recent performances, it wouldn't have been too much of a surprise if the winner of the Santos-Teixeira clash had gotten a title shot at the 205-pound belt. The matchup should have taken place already on Sept. 12, but it was rescheduled due to a COVID-19 positive from Teixeira.
UFC on ESPN 16 will take place at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi. Headlining the lineup will be a women’s bantamweight affair between former divisional champion Holly Holm and Irene Aldana. On the same bill, former interim UFC welterweight champion Carlos Condit will lock horns with Court McGee.