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Ion Cutelaba tests positive for COVID-19, pulled from UFC 252 rematch with Ankalaev

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Because of COVID-19, light heavyweight Ion Cutelaba was forced out of his rematch against Magomed Ankalaev at UFC 252.

TUF Finale Weigh-in Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Ion Cutelaba was eager to get back at Magomed Ankalaev at UFC 252 this weekend. But because of COVID-19, these plans are now off the table.

It was revealed on Tuesday that the 26-year-old Moldovan fighter tested positive for the virus and was subsequently pulled from the card. Russia’s TASS first reported the news via Instagram, which Cutelaba’s manager Tiago Okamura later confirmed with ESPN.

According to Okamura, Cutelaba tested positive before leaving Moldova this week. The light heavyweight is now in quarantine and reportedly shows no symptoms of the virus.

Cutelaba fought Ankalaev in February at the UFC’s event in Norfolk and lost via first-round TKO, a stoppage he vehemently disputed. As he later explained in the post-fight interview, he was merely playing possum as part of the overall game plan.

Team Cutelaba later appealed to have the decision reversed, but the request was denied by Virginia’s regulating body.

Cutelaba and Ankalaev were originally booked to face each other again for UFC 249 in April, but Russia’s travel ban hindered the fight from pushing through.

The rematch is pushed back for a second time, and will now take place on the August 29th card scheduled for the UFC APEX in Las Vegas.