Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos is in search of a new opponent.
On Saturday, dos Anjos was supposed to face Rafael Fiziev in the pay-per-view co-main event of UFC 272. at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. But the fight has been scratched from the card due to Fiziev testing positive for COVID-19. The news was first reported by Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour and has since been confirmed by the management of both fighters.
Fiziev’s manager Sayat Abdrakhmanov explained on The MMA Hour that Fiziev began feeling sick on Friday with “a fever, high temperature, body pain, bone pain,” and was sent to urgent care the following morning. “Since that time, he’s been very sick,” Abdrakhmanov said. “Actually, today is the first day he doesn’t have a fever.”
Fiziev released a short statement on Twitter after news broke of the bout’s cancellation. He also fired back at dos Anjos.
I’m devastated to announce that I’m out of the fight. I had a great camp and was ready to put on the show, I flew all the way to Vegas from Thailand just to get sick with covid, for 3 days I’m in hotel bed with fever, bones pain and cough.— Rafael “Ataman” Fiziev (@RafaelFiziev) February 28, 2022
I called out RDA and I still want that fight when my health will allow me to compete again. Apologies to him, but saying that I was faking it is complete nonsense. Time will put everything in place— Rafael “Ataman” Fiziev (@RafaelFiziev) February 28, 2022
Later, dos Anjos offered an olive branch.
I was completely shocked when I heard the news. Hope you feel better. https://t.co/jn131gwHmD— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) February 28, 2022
The lightweight bout originally was set to take place as the main event of UFC Vegas 48. However, the bout was postponed to UFC 272 after Fiziev encountered issues with acquiring a visa.
There is no word yet on a possible replacement opponent for dos Anjos, though the former UFC lightweight champion said on The MMA Hour that he does not want to “throw a fight camp away” and would fight “anybody” the UFC can find for him.
Abdrakhmanov said a timetable for Fiziev’s return is still up in the air and will depend on whether the Kyrgyzstan native suffers any long-term effects from COVID-19. He reiterated that Fiziev does hope to re-book the dos Anjos fight in the future.
Abdrakhmanov added that another fighter who has been thrown around as a potential replacement against dos Anjos — lightweight up-and-comer Arman Tsarukyan — is not an option, as it’s too short of notice and Tsarukyan is currently on a medical suspension following his TKO win over Joel Alvarez this past weekend at UFC Vegas 49.
Dos Anjos most recently appeared in the octagon in November 2020, when he outpointed Paul Felder via split decision in his return to 155 pounds after a stint at welterweight.
Fiziev is on a five-fight winning streak that includes a wheel-kick knockout of Brad Riddell this past December.