Khamzat Chimaev out of UFC Fight Island 8 headliner; Kevin Holland offers to step in

The UFC Fight Night headlining bout between Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev has been canceled for the second time in two months.

Edwards and Chimaev were initially scheduled to headline UFC Vegas 17 on Dec. 12, but the bout was sidelined after Edwards contracted a serious case of COVID-19. He lost 12 pounds during his bout with the illness.

The fight was re-scheduled for UFC Fight Island 8, which is set to take place on Wednesday, Jan. 20, in Abu Dhabi. That bout – the second of three events over an eight-day span on the island – has now been nixed with Chimaev withdrawing because of undisclosed reasons. News of the cancellation was first reported by FrontKickOnline.

Chimaev rocketed to stardom with his move from Brave CF to the UFC in 2020, finishing all three of his opponents in the Octagon.

Edwards, however, suffered through a frustrating year. He hasn’t fought since July of 2019. His first scheduled bout of 2020, opposite former welterweight champ Tyron Woodley, was a COVID casualty.

Having spent much of 2020 on lockdown in England and having limited opportunities because of travel restrictions, Edwards then suffered through his bout of COVID-19, which nixed the Dec. 12 date.

Now that Chimaev is out of the UFC Fight Island 8 headliner, it is unclear whether or not the UFC will seek a new opponent for him or once again reschedule the Chimaev bout.

If officials opt to try and keep Edwards on the Jan. 20 fight card, Kevin Holland has offered to step in for Chimaev.

Holland has also had a blistering 2020, in which he fought five times, winning all five bouts, four by way of knockout.

All of Holland’s most recent bouts have taken place at middleweight, while Edwards vs. Chimaev was slated for welterweight. Edwards is also the No. 3 ranked welterweight in the UFC, so it is unlikely he would want to fight at middleweight or a catchweight.

Edwards vs. Holland has all the makings of an exciting fight. It might not be the best option for Edwards to advance his career; though he might consider it since he will soon be creeping up on two years without a fight if he doesn’t get in the cage soon.

Another option could be for officials to pull either Neil Magney or Michael Chiesa from their UFC Fight Island 8 bout to face Edwards in the headliner.

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