According to the report, Perez was tested for COVID-19 in Las Vegas and was cleared to travel to Abu Dhabi. Shortly after his arrival, he was informed that his test came back positive, which led to his withdrawal from the fight.
Perez has not addressed his current status at the time of this writing.
The UFC are reportedly looking for a short-notice replacement to take on Almeida, who is set to make his return to the Octagon after a little more than two years on the sidelines. The former bantamweight standout last competed at UFC 220 in January 2018, where he was knocked out by a head kick and punches from Rob Font in the second round.
The loss to Font put Almeida on a two-fight losing streak, and he hoped to get back on track in his next outing. He was briefly linked to a matchup against Marlon Vera at UFC 235 last year, but withdrew after he needed eye surgery that pushed back his eventual return.
Perez is also on the end of a two-fight losing streak, dropping an unanimous decision to Cody Stamann at the aforementioned UFC 235 and getting finished by Song Yadong at UFC 239. Perez had not competed since his last fight, and it now looks like he will have to wait a little longer to return.
At this time, there is no word on who the replacement for Almeida will be.
UFC on ESPN+ 37 features a main event showdown between bantamweight contenders Marlon Moraes and Cory Sandhagen.