Another UFC fight has been called off after a fighter tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before the event was set to begin.
The UFC’s Gerald Meerschaert announced Saturday that his matchup with Ed Herman at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night was off after testing positive for the coronavirus. Meerschaert indicated he was not feeling symptoms of the virus and would self-isolate.
Tested positive for Covid so fights off. Feel healthy and will do everything I can to keep it that way and keep those around me safe.
— Gerald Meerschaert (@The_Real_GM3) August 1, 2020
The fight was to be Meerschaert’s debut at light heavyweight. The 32-year-old holds a career record of 31-13, but has lost four of his last six fights.
Oddly enough, Meerschaert’s most recent fight had almost been called off after opponent Ian Heinisch’s cornerman tested positive for the virus, but was put back on the schedule after a second test came back negative. Heinisch ended up beating Meerschaert via first-round TKO.
Withdrawal creates smallest UFC card in years
With Meerschaert vs. Herman off the card, the UFC is facing an unusually thin card for Saturday.
The Fight Night’s previous main event between Irene Aldana and Holly Holm had already been postponed after Aldana tested positive for the same virus. Another withdrawal leaves the event with just nine fights, the promotion’s lowest number since 2015, per ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.
This 9-fight card is tied for the smallest UFC fight card in the last 5 years (UFC 223: Khabib vs Iaquinta in 2018), per @ESPNStatsInfo. The last Fight Night card with 9 fights was UFC Fight Night: Machida vs Romero in 2015.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) August 1, 2020
The fight is the UFC’s first in the United States since late June, as the promotion had held four straight events at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi to work through a growing queue of international fights.
With Aldana out, Saturday’s main event will instead be a middleweight bout between rising star Edmen Shahbazyan and veteran Derek Brunson. Despite the upgrade in status, the fight will remain three rounds. A win could position Shahbazyan for a title fight and a shot at becoming the youngest champion in UFC history.
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