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UFC Vegas 9: Brian Kelleher to face Kevin Natividad after COVID-19 test forces Ricky Simon out

Brian Kelleher to face a promotional newcomer on short notice at this weekend’s UFC VEGAS 9.

UFC featherweight Brian Kelleher was supposed to face fellow Ricky Simon at this weekend’s UFC Vegas 9 event. However, Simon has been pulled from the card due to a positive COVID-19 test on one of his cornerman.

Simon announced the news via twitter this weekend.

A fighter being pulled from a bout because of COVID-19 complications is a weekly occurrence now. With most of the past UFC APEX events featuring short notice replacement fighters often harvested from the Contender Series and regional circuit.

For Kelleher he draws a UFC newbie in the form of Kevin ‘Quicksand’ Natividad (per MMA Fighting). Natividad is a 9-1 veteran of LFA who is currently on a five fight winning streak. His last bout was a TKO win over Kyle Estrada at LFA: 85 in July.

Kelleher’s pro record currently stands at 21-11. At UFC 250 in June the 34-year-old lost to Cody Stamann via unanimous decision. That loss came off the back of back-to-back stoppage victories. He KO’d Hunter Azure in May and submitted Ode Osbourne in January.

UFC Vegas 8 features heavyweight action in the main event with Alistair Overeem taking on Augusto Sakai. Also on the card, Ovince Saint Preux goes back to light heavyweight to take on Alonzo Menifield (in a fight that was shuttled over from UFC Vegas 7 due to a positive COVID-19 test).

This card was to feature a fight between Nicco Montano and Julia Avila, but that was canceled after Montano tested positive for COVID-19.