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Khamzat Chimaev’s ‘lungs did not recover 100%’ from COVID-19

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Lung problems stemming from his positive COVID-19 test forced Khamzat Chimaev out of his fight with Leon Edwards next month.

UFC Fight Night: Chimaev v Meerschaert Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Khamzat Chimaev’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, has released a statement explaining his fighter’s withdrawal from the main event of UFC Fight Island 8 next month.

Chimaev (9-0) was scheduled to fight top welterweight contender Leon Edwards (18-3) in the leading act of the UFC’s Jan. 20th event. Their original booking at UFC Vegas 17 on Dec. 19th was cancelled after both men tested positive for COVID-19.

Abdelaziz revealed in a statement to ESPN that Chimaev’ lungs have not fully recovered since he was diagnosed with the virus at the end of November, which is why he has pulled out of the fight.

“Khamzat had coronavirus and when he went back to gym, his lungs did not recover 100%,” the statement read. “He needs time for his lungs to recover, and right now it’s about taking that necessary time.”

Edwards has insisted that he still wants to fight at UFC Fight Island 8, which will be the second of three events the promotion is holding in a seven-day period on Fight Island. “Rocky” called out Jorge Masvidal after Chimaev’s withdrawal, and middleweight contender Kevin Holland has also campaigned to fill in for “Borz”.