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Editor's Note: The article has been updated at 12:45 p.m. on Feb. 25 to reflect additional information.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has lost a thriller of a matchup days before it was set to go down.
First reported by MMA Junkie on Thursday, William Knight (9-1) vs. Alonzo Menifield (9-2) at light heavyweight has been scratched from the UFC Fight Night 186 lineup. The Feb. 27 event saw the bout fall through when Menifield tested positive for COVID-19, and the news has since been confirmed by other outlets. The promotion intends on rebooking the match at an upcoming event, and not scuttling the pairing altogether. Per MMA Fighting shortly after the news broke, the two will instead be squaring off at UFC 260 on March 27.
A potential slugfest will have to wait, as Knight was looking to extend his overall win streak to four while searching for his second inside the Octagon. Initially signed to a developmental deal from the third season of Dana White's Contender Series, Knight looked to gain more experience in other organizations like CES MMA and Cage Fury Fighting Championships. Along the way, “Knightmare” wound up losing to future UFC rostermate Tafon Nchukwi to delay his UFC hopes. A rebounding win and another victorious appearance on the Contender Series led to his signing in 2020, and he made good on his debut on a few weeks’ notice to hand Aleksa Camur his first career defeat.
When the matchup comes to fruition, fellow hard-hitting Menifield will look to right the ship after suffering two consecutive losses to Devin Clark and Ovince St. Preux in 2020. Prior to these setbacks, “Atomic” sported a perfect 9-0 record with a 100 percent finish rate all in 5:32 or less. His two UFC losses both went beyond that margin, including his first-ever third round when facing Clark. This is not the first time COVID-19 affected a bout for Menifield, as his 2020 meeting against St. Preux was delayed when “OSP” fell victim to the coronavirus.
UFC Fight Night 186 carries on at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Feb. 27, with a major heavyweight headliner pitting Jairzinho Rozenstruik against Ciryl Gane. The co-main event comes in the form of a potential light heavyweight brawl as Nikita Krylov comes to blows with Magomed Ankalaev.