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Russia travel ban leaves doubts over UFC 249 rematch between Ion Cutelaba and Magomed Ankalaev

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With a new travel ban put in place in Russia, UFC 249 remains a big task for the promotion to finalise.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Norfolk-Cutelaba vs Ankalaev Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

It’s still unclear whether UFC 249 will actually go ahead, but a recent Russian travel ban has left major doubts over Ion Cutelaba facing Magomed Ankalaev at the event.

With no major sporting events currently taking place around the world due to the global outbreak of the coronavirus, there has been a lot of questioning as to whether UFC 249 on April 18th will go ahead. UFC president Dana White has been adamant that the event will take place, and with no location currently finalised for the event White recently said they have “four or five” places in mind to host the card.

However, no matter where the card takes place a new cross-border travel ban in Russia announced this week has meant getting the Russian native Ankalaev out of his country to compete at UFC 249 will be a major struggle. The ban will be in effect as of Monday, March 30th and will stop people, apart from diplomats and members of official delegations, from leaving and entering the country.

Cutelaba (15-5, 1NC) and Ankalaev (14-1) first fought back at UFC Norfolk in February, with Ankalaev winning by a controversial first-round stoppage, which is why the rematch was booked between the pair.

UFC 249 is expected to be headlined by a lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson.