UFC on ESPN 8 receives short-notice shakeup after Mike Davis is forced to withdraw from event

Giga Chikadze, UFC
Image via Giga Chikadze on Instagram (photographer not listed)

Giga Chikadze will face a new opponent after a short notice shakeup surrounding this Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 8 event in Jacksonville.

Mike Davis has withdrawn from his UFC featherweight debut against Chikadze over medical issues not relating to COVID-19. This news was first reported by Giorgi Kokiashvili of Adjara Sport. 

It was subsequently revealed that Titan FC bantamweight champion Irwin Rivera will fill in for the featherweight matchup. Rivera confirmed the news on Twitter and thanked his manager Ali Abdelaziz for making the matchup happen.

Chikadze is riding a four-fight winning streak. His last loss was a third-round submission against Austin Springer on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2018. After securing a few victories at Gladiator Challenge, the 31-year made his UFC debut in September 2019 where he secured a split decision win over Brandon Davis. He achieved another split decision win over promotional newcomer Jamall Emmers this year at UFC 248, improving his UFC record to 2-0.

Meanwhile, Rivera will make his UFC debut riding high of the success of his Titan FC campaign in 2019. After achieving a knockout first-round victory against Lazar Stojadinovic at featherweight at Titan FC 53, “The Beast” captured and defended the promotion’s bantamweight title with finishes over Danny Sabatello and Matt Wagy. With the fight coming together on less than 48 hours notice, Rivera is yet to confirm if he has already been tested for COVID-19.

UFC on ESPN 8 will be headlined by a heavyweight matchup between Walt Harris and Alistair Overeem and Claudia Gadelha will face Angela Hill in a strawweight bout in the co-main event

All the action will take place at the YvStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. Stay locked to BJPENN.com for everything you need to know about the card.