According to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Makhachev is out of the fight and the UFC is actively looking for a short-notice replacement to face dos Anjos.
As Okamoto mentions this is the second time the fight has been canceled. The two were supposed to fight at UFC 254 on Fight Island but dos Anjos tested positive for COVID-19.
This was a massive opportunity for Islam Makhachev as he was set to headline his first UFC event. If he could get past dos Anjos, who is a former UFC lightweight champion, a top-10 or top-five opponent would’ve likely been next for him. The Russian is on a six-fight winning streak and is 18-1 as a pro.
Rafael dos Anjos, meanwhile, is set to return to lightweight after mixed results at welterweight. The Brazilian made the move to 170 in 2017 and went 4-4 with notable wins over Robbie Lawler, Kevin Lee and Neil Magny. However, he did lose to the top guys in Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington, Leon Edwards, and Michael Chiesa.
Whether or not a replacement will be found on such short notice is uncertain at this point. Any unranked lightweight or someone in the 10-15 range will likely be all over this matchup.