Replacing Vanderford in his scheduled middleweight bout with Daniel Madrid (17-6) will be a returning Pat Casey (6-2). MMA Fighting confirmed the fight with people with knowledge of the new booking following an initial report by MMA Junkie.
According to a post Vanderford made on Instagram, it is the second positive test he has had for the coronavirus.
“Unfortunately, I won’t be able to compete for Bellator next weekend,” Vanderford wrote. “I tested positive for COVID (a second time now). To say it’s a bummer is a serious understatement. But I’m going to rest up and recover now. I’ll be ready to go ASAP. Stay Healthy and safe.”
Vanderford (9-0) is unbeaten in three appearances for Bellator since making his debut for the promotion in February 2019.
This will be Casey’s fourth fight for Bellator. Casey (6-2) has competed sporadically for the promotion, most recently stepping into the Bellator cage in February 2019 when he lost by third-round submission to Nekruz Mirkhojaev. Earlier this year, he fought at a Premier Fighting Championship show in Massachussetts in February, losing to Yu Ji.
Madrid (17-6) makes his Bellator debut on the strength of four consecutive wins. In his previous two appearances for the Legacy Fighting Alliance, Madrid defeated both Chris Harris and UFC veteran Seth Baczynski by first-round submission. He has 15 submission victories in his pro career.
Bellator 246 takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. on Sept. 12. It is the second of back-to-back shows for the promotion this upcoming weekend. Both events will air on Paramount Network and the DAZN streaming service.