This weekend’s upcoming UFC Vegas 14 fight card is suddenly without a headliner. For the second straight time, the pairing between Rafael dos Anjos and Islam Makhachev has been called off.
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto first broke the news on Sunday. MMA Fighting later confirmed the report, citing Makhachev is out due to undisclosed reasons.
Breaking: Islam Makhachev (@MAKHACHEVMMA) out of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night main event, per sources. UFC looking for a short-notice replacement to face Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) on Saturday.— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) November 8, 2020
Makhachev vs. Dos Anjos was originally planned to be part of UFC 254. That ended up falling through after the latter tested positive for COVID-19.
Upon hearing the news, TUF 27 alum Luis Peña expressed willingness to step in on a week’s notice and take on the biggest fight of his career.
Shit I’ll fight RDA— Luis Antonio Pena (@violentbobross) November 9, 2020
The former lightweight champion, however, has another name in mind.
I wish @MAKHACHEVMMA a speed recovery. Looking for a new partner to dance. Looks like @MikeChandlerMMA is ready to go. Your move!— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) November 9, 2020
Chandler signed with the UFC in September and was immediately slated as the backup fighter for either Khabib Nurmagomedov or Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. The three-time Bellator champion has yet to finalize his debut, but if it were up to him, a fight with either Gaethje or Tony Ferguson would be the ideal way to kick off his UFC run.
UFC Vegas 14 happens on Saturday, November 14, at the APEX Facility.