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Leon Edwards vs. Khamzat Chimaev main event scrapped from UFC card on Dec. 19

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UFC on FOX 17 Weigh-ins Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The highly-anticipated welterweight showdown between Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev will have to wait.

The main event fight has been scrapped from the upcoming UFC card on Dec. 19 after Edwards tested positive for COVID-19, which has forced the promotion to move the matchup to a later date.

Sources close to the situation confirmed the news Tuesday following an initial report from ESPN.

The news is devastating for both fighters, with Edwards having faced nothing less than a disastrous year during 2020. He was originally scheduled to headline a card back in March in his native England against former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley but the entire event was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The shutdown in England due to the pandemic then prevented Edwards from competing for most of the year until he was finally able to accept a date and opponent with the Chimaev fight on Dec. 19.

Now it appears he’ll have to wait until sometime in 2021 to make his return as Edwards looks to build on an eight-fight win streak in the division.

As for Chimaev, he’s been one of the fastest rising stars on the entire UFC roster after making his promotional debut back in July. He picked up two rapid-fire wins over a span of just 10 days and then demolished Gerald Meerschaert in September to move his UFC record to 3-0.

The fight against Edwards was supposed to serve as Chimaev’s biggest test to date as he looked to make a quick jump up in the rankings but he’ll have to wait until a later date to make that move.

While losing Edwards vs. Chimaev is certainly a blow to the Dec. 19 card, the UFC had stacked that event with several high-profile fights including another welterweight bout between Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and Geoff Neal that could potentially move into the main event slot as well as former featherweight champion Jose Aldo taking on Marlon “Chito” Vera in a bantamweight contenders’ matchup.