Unfortunately Covid-19 has struck again, this time nixing a fight between Pedro Munhoz and Jimmie Rivera, which was set to feature on this weekend’s UFC 258 main card.
At this time the promotion is staying quiet on which of the two fighters actually tested positive for Covid, but their hope is to reschedule to the match-up for some time in the near future.
This is a significant blow for the UFC as the pay-per-view show was already coming under fire from some fans for being weaker than usual, aside from a strong main event match-up between welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns.
For example, although she’s an exciting young prospect, it was something of a surprise to see a fight between the 10th ranked bantamweight Maycee Barber and No.15 placed Alexa Grasso being chosen as the co-main event, particularly since ‘The Future’ is coming off a loss.
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Ian Heinisch is a respectable enough card for the occasion, albeit with Gastelum coming off three losses in a row, but Maki Pitolo vs. Julian Marquez feels more like a prelim-worthy bout given that they are both Pitolo has lost three of his four UFC bouts so far and Marquez is coming off a loss too.
So, with Munhoz vs. Rivera now pulled from it’s main card spot, some eyebrows will surely be raised that rather than promoting some familiar faces from the undercard, such as Bobby Green vs. Jim Miller, or Belal Muhammad vs. Dheigo Lhima for instance, the UFC have instead opted to send up a hastily arranged catchweight bout between Andre Ewell vs. Chris Gutierrez.
At this stage the UFC brass will no doubt be nervously keeping their fingers crossed that the main event holds firm, because if either fell fighter was to withdraw at this late stage then it’s hard to see how the PPV card could continue on without them.