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Ion Cutelaba positive for COVID-19, UFC 252 rematch with Magomed Ankalaev off

UFC Fight Night: Cutelaba v Ankalaev Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

The rematch between Ion Cutelaba and Magomed Ankalaev will again have to wait.

The light heavyweight matchup has been pulled from UFC 252 on Saturday after Cutelaba tested positive for COVID-19, his manager Tiago Okamura confirmed to MMA Fighting after an initial post from reporter Igor Lazorin.

Cutelaba is now in quarantine after testing positive for the virus on Sunday, Okamura wrote via text.

“Just got to make sure he doesnt get sick these next few days,” the manager wrote, adding the current plan is to rebook the matchup for the promotion’s Aug. 29 fight card.

It’s unclear at this time whether a preliminary card matchup will be moved to the main card of Saturday’s pay-per-view event at UFC APEX in Las Vegas.

It’s the second time the matchup between Cutelaba and Ankalaev has been postponed after an initial rebooking at UFC 249 was scratched when the coronavirus pandemic postponed the event.

The light heavyweights’ first meeting at UFC Norfolk ended in controversy after the referee called a TKO for Ankalaev, who appeared to rock Cutelaba with a punch. Cutelaba, though, immediately protested and said he was setting a trap for his opponent so he could counter.

Cutelaba appealed his loss, but the overseeing athletic commission found no basis to do so, and Ankalaev preserved the win. Still, he welcomed a rematch, and the promotion moved to book it before more challenges got in the way.

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