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Andre Ewell out of UFC Vegas 18 due to positive COVID-19 test, Cody Stamann to face replacement Askar Askar

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Cody Stamann (pictured) fights short-notice replacement Askar Askar at UFC Vegas 18 this Saturday
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Cody Stamann has a new opponent for this weekend.

MMA Fighting confirmed with sources with knowledge of the change that Stamann (19-3-1) will now fight Askar Askar (11-1) in a bantamweight bout at UFC Vegas 18 on Saturday, following the withdrawal of Stamann’s originally scheduled opponent Andre Ewell due to Ewell testing positive for COVID-19.

The new matchup was first reported by Bloody Canvas.

According to a statement from Ewell’s manager Matt Dodge, the fighter has since tested negative in back-to-back tests, but has to quarantine for 10 days in accordance with UFC health and safety protocol. That time frame forced his removal from Saturday’s card.

“Andre is healthy and has not shown any symptoms at all,” Dodge told MMA Fighting. “He plans to compete as soon as possible following this unfortunate situation.”

Stamann fights for the first time this year following a 2020 campaign in which he went 1-1. He defeated Brian Kelleher by decision in a featherweight bout in June and then fought again at 145 pounds five weeks later, losing a decision to Jimmie Rivera. Stamann is 5-2-1 in the UFC.

Askar, 26, makes his UFC debut coming off of a decision win over Kevin Wirth at LFA 92 in October. He won his first 10 pro bouts since beginning his pro career in 2015, winning five by knockout.

UFC Vegas 18 is headlined by a heavyweight bout between Alistair Overeem and Alexander Volkov.

See the updated card below (bout order to be determined):

Alistair Overeem vs. Alexander Volkov

Cory Sandhagen vs. Frankie Edgar

Marion Reneau vs. Macy Chiasson

Alexandre Pantoja vs. Manel Kape

Cody Stamann vs. Askar Askar

Diego Ferreira vs. Beneil Dariush

Michael Johnson vs. Clay Guida

Mike Rodriguez vs. Danilo Marques

Timur Valiev vs. Martin Day

Devonte Smith vs. Justin Jaynes

Molly McCann vs. Lara Procopio

Seung Woo Choi vs. Youssef Zalal

Karol Rosa vs. Joselyne Edwards

Ode Osbourne vs. Denys Bondar