Boxing / UFC / MMA

Boxing / UFC / MMA News

Leon Edwards vs. Khamzat Chimaev latest UFC main event canceled by COVID-19

The UFC’s final event of the year is the latest casualty in a string of main event cancellations or changes. UFC Vegas 17, slated for Dec. 19, on Tuesday lost its headliner after Leon Edwards was pulled from his bout with Khamzat Chimaev after he tested positive for COVID-19.

UFC broadcast partner ESPN on Tuesday reported that Edwards was out of the bout with a severe case of COVID-19. He apparently hasn’t been able to train at all for the bout with Chimaev and has lost 12 pounds in four days.

Chimaev, who made his UFC debut in July and has reeled off three straight victories in the Octagon, had hoped to use Edwards as his stepping stone to the top of the welterweight division.

No. 3 ranked Edwards last fought in July of 2019. He had hoped to return to face former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in March, but the nearly global lockdown forced the event’s cancellation.

UFC’s final leg of 2020 plagued by COVID-19 cancellations

Every one of the UFC’s final six events of a pandemic plagued 2020 has suffered a change to its main event or outright cancellation. Most have COVID-19 to blame.

UFC Vegas 14 on Nov. 14 was originally slated to feature former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos returning to the 155-pound division opposite Islam Makhachev. Paul Felder stepped in to face dos Anjos on short notice when Makhachev withdrew because of a staph infection.

UFC 255 on Nov. 21 was supposed to feature Deiveson Figueiredo’s first flyweight title defense opposite Cody Garbrandt. That bout was nixed after Garbrandt fell out because of COVID-19. Figueiredo instead successfully defended his belt against Alex Perez.

The following week’s UFC Vegas 15 heavyweight main event between Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis was canceled the morning of the weigh-in when Blaydes tested positive for COVID-19. Co-main eventers Anthony Smith and Devin Clark were elevated to headlining status.

This week’s UFC Vegas 16 main event between Jack Hermansson and Kevin Holland shifted gears after Holland tested positive for COVID-19. Holland was moved to the Dec. 12 UFC 256 fight card to face Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. Jacare’s opponent, Marvin Vettori, has been enlisted to fight Hermansson in the UFC Vegas 16 main event in a swap of opponents.

UFC 256 has undergone several changes, though none were COVID-19 related. Having gone through several championship main event cancellations, UFC 256 finally landed on Figueiredo making a quick return to defend his belt for the second time. Barring any more changes, he will headline the card opposite No. 1 contender Brandon Moreno, who also fought and won at UFC 255.

With Edwards vs. Chimaev nixed, UFC Vegas 17 may now feature a welterweight bout between Stephen Thompson and Geoff Neal, two ranked contenders that were already inked for the Dec. 19 fight card. UFC officials, however, have not confirmed the new main event yet.

TRENDING > Colby Covington calls out LeBron James after YouTuber Jake Paul KOs former NBA star

Trending Video > YouTuber Jake Paul after KOing former NBA star: ‘Conor McGregor and I will happen for sure’

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YouTuber Jake Paul claims he’s in talks to fight Conor McGregor

A couple days after YouTube sensation Jake Paul knocked out former NBA player Nate Robinson on the Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. undercard, he claimed that he is in talks to fight UFC superstar Conor McGregor.

Though Paul is most famous for building a multi-million subscribers strong YouTube following, he insists that he’s not playing when it comes to boxing.

“I have been training my ass off for the past year. I am taking this seriously,” Paul said after fighting on the Tyson vs. Jones undercard. “There is a long list of opponents I want, like Conor McGregor and (McGregor teammate) Dillon Danis. I want to knock both of them out. I want to be in this sport for a long time. I’m in love with this so why not?”

Whether in boxing or mixed martial arts, that is a tall order for Paul, who has fought only twice: once against fellow YouTube star AnEsonGib and then against Robinson, who had just three months of training prior to their bout.

In a recent interview with TMZ Sports, however, Paul insists that his team has been in talks with McGregor’s, though he didn’t exactly indicate the fight would happen any time soon.

“The Jake Paul vs. Conor McGregor fight is gonna happen. It’s just a matter of when. It’s gonna be legendary,” Paul said.

“I’m gonna win, too. I’m gonna dedicate my life to winning that fight. I’m not just going in there just to f—ing say I did it. I’m going in there to f—ing f— Conor McGregor up.”

Paul knocked Robinson down several times in their bout, finally sending him crashing face first to the canvas in the second round for the knockout. Whether or not he could ever hope to do that to McGregor or Danis, who each have a lifetime of training, remains to be seen.

TRENDING > Mike Tyson: ‘YouTube boxers saved boxing, UFC was kicking our butt’

Jake Paul says he’s in talks with Conor McGregor’s camp

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Mike Tyson: ‘YouTube boxers saved boxing, UFC was kicking our butt’

It’s no secret that boxing’s popularity has been on the decline for years for multiple reasons. The inability to put together big fights, poor marketing, and the emergence of mixed martial arts were all factors.

As interest in boxing declined, social media networks and online video platforms became a part of everyday life. According to former undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, it was those platforms that saved a dying sport.

“My ego says so many things, but my reality says this, they helped boxing so much. Boxing owes these guys some kind of… they owe these YouTube boxers some kind of respect.

TRENDING > UFC fighters react to Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr.

“They should give these guys some belts because these guys make boxing alive,” Tyson said during the post-fight press conference following his exhibition bout against former four-division world champion Roy Jones Jr. on Saturday.

On the fight card, boxer, actor, and YouTube personality Jake Paul scored a second-round knockout win over former NBA player Nate Robinson. Paul’s YouTube channel has 20.2 million subscribers. Tyson credited Paul as one of the “YouTube boxers” that helped the boxing return to popular culture.

“Boxing was pretty much a dying sport. The UFC was kicking our butt,” Tyson said. “Boxing is going back thanks to the YouTube boxers.”

Related Video > Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr | Live Coverage and Commentary

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