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Artem Lobov’s return to MMA delayed after Arena Fight 2 canceled due to numerous positive COVID-19 tests

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UFC 202 Weigh-ins Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Artem Lobov will have to wait until a later date to make his return to action.

The former UFC and BKFC fighter was originally scheduled to face Ylies Djiroun in the main event at Arena Fight 2 in France on Saturday but the entire card has now been postponed after several staff members for the promotion tested positive for COVID-19.

The promotion made the announcement in a press release circulated on Tuesday.

“This postponement follows the detection last weekend of six COVID-19 cases within the teams of the group,” promotion officials said on Tuesday. “We have therefore put in place measures to ensure the continuity of our operations such as the isolation of positive people and contact cases, the implementation of teleworking for all team members and the obligation to carry out PCR tests on Monday, December 7th for all our employees.

“Following this wave of tests, we regret to say that we have almost 20 positive cases within our organization and are still waiting for some results. The rest of the employees are de facto contact cases, which prevents us for obvious health and ethical reasons from maintaining AFC2 at the risk of contaminating our fighters, our service providers, our partners and, by ricochet, their families and friends.”

The Arena Fight 2 card featured several prominent names including UFC veterans Fabio Maldonado and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, who were also scheduled to compete on Saturday.

As for Lobov, he was making his return to action after last competing in a bare knuckle fight in BKFC in 2019. His main event bout at Arena Fight 2 was his first appearance in MMA since losing a unanimous decision to Michael Johnson in the UFC in 2018.