Islam Makhachev will not be headlining UFC Vegas 14 against Rafael dos Anjos this Saturday night.
Makhachev was set to headline his first UFC event but according to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, that will not be the case as the Russian was forced to withdraw from the bout. According to the report, the UFC is actively searching for a replacement opponent for Makhachev.
It is no doubt disappointing for Makhachev who was set to fight a former UFC lightweight champion and get the biggest named opponent of his career. If he could go out there and beat RDA, he would’ve likely gotten a top-10, if not top-five opponent next. However, that will not be the case now.
Islam Makhachev is riding a six-fight winning streak and is 18-1 as a pro including being 7-1 inside the Octagon. He has not fought since UFC 242 last September when he defeated Davi Ramos by decision. Makhachev was expected to fight dos Anjos at UFC 254 but the Brazilian had tested positive for COVID-19 leaving the fight to be postponed until this Saturday.
The UFC also no doubt needs to find a headliner for the card and dos Anjos seems keen on staying on the card and remaining at lightweight as he called out Michael Chandler.
— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) November 9, 2020
“I wish @MAKHACHEVMMA a speed recovery. Looking for a new partner to dance. Looks like @MikeChandlerMMA is ready to go. Your move!,” dos Anjos tweeted.
Rafael dos Anjos is making his return to lightweight after going 4-4 at 170. The Brazilian is on a two-fight losing streak and is 1-4 in his last five. If he were to fight Michael Chandler, it would be a big name and a tough test for the former Bellator lightweight champion’s UFC debut.
UFC Vegas 14 is now as follows:
- Rafael dos Anjos vs. TBD
- Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Khaos Williams
- Julian Marquez vs. Saparbek Safarov
- Eryk Anders vs. Antonio Arroyo
- Daniel Rodriguez vs. TBD
- Kay Hansen vs. Cory McKenna
- Miranda Granger vs. Ashley Yoder
- Alex Morono vs. Rhys McKee
- Louis Smolka vs. Jose Quinonez
- Randa Markos vs. Kanako Murata
- Geraldo de Freitas vs. Tony Gravely
- Don’Tale Mayes vs. Roque Martinez
Cole Shelton covers MMA for BJPenn.com, MMANews, and MyMMANews.com while also being the lead MMA odds writer for Sports Betting Dime