Ion Cutelaba tests positive for COVID-19, out of Magomed Ankalaev rematch

Ion Cutelaba
Image via @ufc on Instagram

UFC light heavyweight Ion Cutelaba tested positive for COVID-19 and is out of his rematch at UFC 252 against Magomed Ankalaev.

MMAFighting.com confirmed Igor Lazorin‘s report that Cutelaba tested positive for COVID-19. As a result of the positive test, he is forced to withdraw from his fight this Saturday against Ankalaev. According to Cutelaba’s manager, he tested positive on Sunday and is now in quarantine.

In the report, Cutelaba’s manager Tiago Okamura says the UFC wants to re-book the Cutelaba vs. Ankalaev fight for the promotion’s August 29 card. However, there is still always the possibility the UFC could look to find a short-notice replacement to keep Ankalaev on the card.

Cutelaba and Ankalev first met at UFC Norfolk in February. The fight featured one of the most controversial referee stoppages of the year, as referee Kevin MacDonald stopped the fight after Cutelaba was playing possum. At the moment the referee stepped in, Cutelaba was landing a combo on Ankalaev. It was a highly-controversial stoppage that led to bad blood between the fighters and the UFC has been trying to book the rematch for a while.

Almost as soon as that questionable stoppage happened, the UFC matchmakers put into motion the plan to book the rematch. The UFC had planned on the rematch between Cutelaba and Ankalaev to take place at UFC 249, but the fight fell apart due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is a fight the promotion clearly wants to see play out without any sort of controversy this time.

Cutelaba (15-5, 1 NC) is 4-4 overall in the UFC with notable wins over Khalil Rountree and Gadzhimurad Antigulov. He also has losses in the UFC to the likes of Glover Teixeira and Jared Cannonier. Cutelaba is a very aggressive light heavyweight who is known for his knockout power and nasty ground and pound. While he does have three stoppage wins during his UFC career, he also has thee stoppage losses, but he’s always fun to watch.

Ankalaev (14-1) is 4-1 overall in the UFC with notable wins over Klidson Abreu and Dalcha Lungiambula. The Russian prospect has quickly made a name for himself in the UFC light heavyweight division as he is currently ranked in the bottom half of the top 15. After losing to Paul Craig by last-second submission, Ankalaev hasn’t lost a fight since.

With Ion Cutelaba out, who would you like Magomed Ankalaev fight at UFC 252 if he is kept on the card?