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Movsar Evloev vs. Ilia Topuria removed from UFC 270, Topuria wants Dan Ige as replacement

UFC 270 loses an intriguing featherweight battle. 

Ilia Topuria celebrating his first-round KO of Ryan Hall at UFC 264.
Ilia Topuria celebrating his first-round KO of Ryan Hall at UFC 264.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

A highly anticipated fight between undefeated featherweight prospects is off.

Movsar Evloev and Ilia Topuria were scheduled to meet next weekend at UFC 270, the first pay-per-view event of the year. Unfortunately, Evloev announced on social media that he tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to withdraw from the event.

“I got sick with the new coronavirus,” wrote Evloev (translation via Google). “Unfortunately, the infection caught up with me in the final stages of my three month training camp just before the fight. It is necessary to heal the disease, and then undergo rehabilitation to restore the respiratory capacity of the lungs. All is the will of the Almighty.

“The most annoying thing for me is that I could not please all those who were waiting for this fight. I promise to do everything to quickly return to the Octagon. I will train even harder.”

Evloev expressed interest in having the fight rescheduled soon, but it appears as though the Russian may have to wait a while for that to happen. According to Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting, the promotion has plans to keep Topuria on the card and has begun searching for a short-notice replacement for Evloev.

For Topuria, an ideal replacement would be Dan Ige, the No. 9 ranked featherweight. However, Ige told Cole Shelton of BJPenn.com that he will not be filling in for Evloev, so Topuria still needs an opponent. The Georgian has received call-outs from Charles Jourdain and former Professional Fighters League (PFL) featherweight champion Andre Harrison.

Topuria was in action this past July and extended his unbeaten streak to 11-0 with a first-round knockout of Ryan Hall at UFC 264. ‘El Matador’ has also defeated Damon Jackson and Youssef Zalal since joining the UFC in 2020.

UFC 270 is headlined by Francis Ngannou vs. Ciryl Gane in a heavyweight title unifier.