The coronavirus has claimed another fight in 2020, as the UFC on ESPN 18 main event between Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis has been cancelled after Blaydes tested positive for COVID-19.
ESPN broke the news that Curtis Blaydes was forced out of his main event against Derrick Lewis mere minutes before the weigh-in. There are rumblings that the fight will be rescheduled for December, but this has not been finalized.
Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis were both eager to make a case for top contendership with a win Saturday night. A victory for Blaydes would have been his fifth consecutive win following victories over Justin Willis, Shamil Abdurakhimov, Junior dos Santos, and Alexander Volkov. Derrick Lewis has also been streaking with three consecutive wins. Most recently, Lewis knocked out Alaksei Olenik in August.
Aside from Jon Jones, who has yet to officially debut in the heavyweight division, there would be no one else who would be ahead of the Blaydes/Lewis winner for a shot at whoever comes out of Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou as champion. Here’s hoping that the bout is swiftly rescheduled so the two heavyweights can have a chance to make their arguments.
With this cancellation, the new main event is expected to be Anthony Smith taking on Devin Clark. The main card will air on both ESPN2 and ESPN+, and the main card will air exclusively on ESPN+.
The updated card for UFC on ESPN 18 is as follows:
MAIN CARD (10:00 PM ET)
Anthony Smith vs. Devin Clark
Josh Parisian vs. Parker Porter
Miguel Baeza vs. Takashi Sato
Bill Algeo vs. Spike Carlyle
PRELIMINARY CARD (7:00 PM ET)
Norma Dumont vs. Ashlee Evans-Smith
Martin Day vs. Anderson dos Santos
Gina Mazany vs. Rachael Ostovich
Kai Kamaka III vs. Jonathan Pearce
Malcolm Gordon vs. Su Mudaerji
Nate Maness vs. Luke Sanders