UFC 256 line-up suffers more COVID-19 casualties

December 11, 2020

The UFC 256: Figueiredo vs. Moreno fight card has suffered more hits this week as COVID-19 continues to ravage UFC fight cards.

Mirroring the increase in COVID-19 cases across the United States, the UFC’s final events of 2020 have seen an uptick in bout cancellations because of the disease caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.

Just last week, UFC Vegas 16 lost its main event on the day of weigh-ins and two more bouts on fight day because of COVID-19. A third bout was nixed on the day of the event, but that was because a non-COVID related medical issue.

UFC 256 has now lost at least three match-ups because of COVID-19

Karl Roberson and Dwight Grant both posted to their respective Instagram accounts on Monday, revealing that they had COVID-19, which would force them off of this Saturday’s UFC 256 pay-per-view event at the Apex in Las Vegas.

Roberson said he was “safe, healthy, and good to go.” His middleweight bout opposite Dalcha Lungiambula has been pushed back a week. It is now expected to take place on the UFC Vegas 17 fight card on Dec. 19. UFC Vegas 17 is the promotion’s final event of 2020 before a three-week break.

Grant also sounded as if his case of COVID-19 won’t be a major setback for him.

“My last Covid-19 test came back positive, but luckily the symptoms haven’t been severe. This news hit especially hard because of all the hard work and excitement I have for this fight. It’s out of my control so I’m not going to try not to dwell on it too much, but to call it disappointing is an understatement,” Grant wrote.

“So now I’m focusing all my energy on getting better. I’m going to quarantine and, by the grace of God, be able to fight again soon.”

Grant was supposed to have faced Li Jingliang at UFC 256, but has been removed from the fight card. It was unclear at the time of publication of the bout would be rescheduled or if UFC officials would try to keep Jingliang on the card.

Prior to Roberson and Grant announcing their positive COVID-19 tests, Angela Hill on Sunday revealed that she was out of her rematch with Tecia Torres.

“Tested positive for Covid and won’t be fighting next week,” Hill tweeted. “Tried to stay as safe as possible during fightcamp but with mma training there’s virtually no social distancing.”

[UPDATE] Shortly after publication, MMAFighting on Tuesday reported that LFA standout Sam Hughes had signed to face Torres, keeping her on the UFC 256 fight card.

Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Kevin Holland UFC 256 bout also formed by COVID-19

Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza is scheduled to face Kevin Holland at UFC 256. That wasn’t always the case, however.

Holland was initially supposed to face Jack Hermansson in last week’s UFC Vegas 16 main event. After Holland tested positive for COVID-19 a week before the event – again a mild case – UFC officials swapped him with Jacare’s initial opponent, Marvin Vettori.

Vettori went on to score the most crucial victory of his career, defeating Hermansson in the UFC Vegas 16 main event, immediately skyrocketing into middleweight title contention.

Now, barring any further changes, Holland will face Jacare on the pay-per-view main card on Saturday.

UFC 256 has also lost three championship fights

UFC 256 is currently slated to feature flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo making a quick return to face No. 1 contender Brandon Moreno for the second defense of his belt.

Figueiredo notched his first title defense just three weeks ago at UFC 255 with a first-round finish of Alex Perez. Moreno is in the same bout, however, having also fought at UFC 255, defeating Brandon Royval in the first round of their featured preliminary bout.

The UFC’s initial plan was for UFC 256 to feature welterweight champion Kamaru Usman defending against Gilbert Burns, women’s double-champ Amanda Nunes putting her featherweight belt on the line opposite Megan Anderson, and bantamweight champ Petr Yan facing Aljamain Sterling.

In the midst of signing Yan vs. Sterling, the Usman vs. Burns bout fell off the card when Usman indicated that he would not be physically ready to compete on the Dec. 12 fight card.

Nunes vs. Anderson was then elevated to main event status. That lasted only a few days before Nunes withdrew because of undisclosed medical issues.

That left Yan vs. Sterling as the likely UFC 256 main event, but even that fight was a bust.

UFC 256 loses heavyweight bout on day of weigh-ins

[UPDATED Dec. 11, 2020] COVID-19 consumed another UFC 256 bout the day prior to the weigh-ins.

A heavyweight preliminary bout between Serghei Spivac vs. Jared Vanderaa was nixed on Thursday after Vanderaa tested positive for COVID-19.

Injury cancels UFC 256 women’s flyweight bout

[UPDATED Dec. 11, 2020] A non-COVID related injury captured another UFC 256 bout when No. 11 ranked flyweight Andrea Lee was forced out of her bout with No. 12 ranked Gillian Robertson.

Robertson will now face Dana White’s Contender Series: Brazil veteran Taila Santos on UFC Vegas 17: Thompson vs. Neal on Dec. 19, the promotion’s final event of the pandemic plagued 2020.


UFC 256 Main Card

  • Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno
  • Tony Ferguson vs. Charles Oliveira
  • Mackenzie Dern vs. Virna Jandiroba
  • Kevin Holland vs. Ronaldo Souza
  • Junior dos Santos vs. Ciryl Gane

UFC 256 Preliminary card

  • Cub Swanson vs. Daniel Pineda
  • Renato Moicano vs. Rafael Fiziev
  • Gavin Tucker vs. Billy Quarantillo
  • Sergey Spivak vs. Jared Vanderaa
  • Chase Hooper vs. Peter Barrett

Dana White addresses increase in COVID-19 cancellations and UFC fighter cuts

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