UFC On ESPN 18 has suffered a heavyweight blow with the news that Curtis Blaydes has tested positive for Covid-19 and has to withdraw from his main event spot opposite Derrick Lewis.
That’s a nightmare scenario for the UFC as quite frankly this was already an event that was very thin on star power outside of the main event and now doesn’t even have that to fall back on.
With only 24 hours to go until fight night it would be extremely difficult to piece together a new headliner and so it appears that the previous co-main event between Anthony Smith vs. Devin Clark will now be featuring as a five-rounder at the top of the bill.
It’s just as well that former 205lb title contender Smith was on the line-up or else it would have been hard to see how the even could have gone forward with the likes of Josh Parisian vs. Parker Porter Miguel Baeza vs. Takashi Sato and Bill Algeo vs. Spike Carlyle left on the main card.
Even so, this does stand out as one of the weakest headliners in recent memory, with Smith having lost three of his last four fights, while Clark only has a 6-4 record overall in the UFC.
This kind of situation was inevitable though with Covid-19 continuing to spread across the globe, while the UFC presses forward with a gruelling weekly schedule of events.