Several hours before UFC Fight Island 7 was set to begin, a middleweight fight between Phil Hawes and Nassourdine Imavov was reported to be cancelled. The news was first announced by RT Sport and later confirmed by other media outlets.
More information regarding the cancellation was provided by Ariel Helwani of ESPN, who said Hawes was not medically cleared for the fight.
“Hawes was not medically cleared this morning, but it has nothing to do with COVID, according to his manager Daniel Rubenstein,” wrote Helwani. “Hawes, Rubenstein said, is hoping to land on next week’s UFC 257 card.”
Today’s Phil Hawes vs. Nassourdine Imavov fight has been canceled, per sources. Hawes was not medically cleared this morning, but it has nothing to do COVID, according to his manager Daniel Rubenstein.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) January 16, 2021
Hawes, Rubenstein said, is hoping to land on next week’s UFC 257 card.
The UFC also released a short statement on the fight, revealing that it was cancelled because of an injury sustained by Hawes. There were no details given about the severity of the injury.
Hawes made his first appearance inside of the Octagon after a successful return to Dana White’s Contender Series, where he earned a first-round knockout over Khadzhimurat Bestaev in September of last year. A little over a month later, Hawes met Jacob Malkoun at UFC 254 and earned another first-round knockout, which was finished in just 18 seconds.
The fight with Imavov was going to be his second appearance, but it appears that will have to wait.
Imavov picked up his first UFC win in October at UFC on ESPN 16: Holm vs. Aldana, where he defeated Jordan Williams by way of unanimous decision.