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UFC welterweight title bout falls through after challenger tests positive for Covid-19

Gilbert Burns was due to take on Kamaru Usman on next weekend’s UFC 251 card in Abu Dhabi.

Gilbert Burns is out of UFC 251.
Gilbert Burns is out of UFC 251.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

GILBERT BURNS (19-3) WILL have to wait a little longer if he is to challenge for the UFC welterweight title.

The 33-year-old Brazilian has been pulled from his clash with champion Kamaru Usman (16-1) after testing positive for Covid-19.

The pair were due to square off in the main event at UFC 251, which is scheduled to take place next Saturday night, 11 July, in Abu Dhabi.

The situation was first reported by MMA Junkie, with Burns appearing to confirm the news on Twitter. He described the development as “devastating”, adding: “Not feeling well but I’m going to win this battle.”

Colby Covington has already taken to social media in an effort to be drafted in as a late replacement to face Usman. Abraham Kawa, the manager of fellow welterweight contender Jorge Masvidal, told ESPN that his fighter is also willing to step in at short notice.

The meeting of Usman and Burns was set to be one of three title fights on next weekend’s card. Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski will defend his belt in a rematch with Max Holloway, while the vacant bantamweight strap will be up for grabs when Petr Yan takes on Jose Aldo.

Burns is riding an impressive streak of six victories, the most recent of which came in May at the expense of former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.

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Paul Dollery

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