On the night where everyone should be excited to watch Kevin Holland and Derek Brunson at UFC Vegas 22, the promotion announced some tough news this evening. The UFC announced that the featherweight title fight between Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) and Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC) is off.
The fight was scheduled to be the co-main event of UFC 261 next weekend. According to the promotion, Volkanovski was pulled from the card due to COVID-19 protocol. As of now, the promotion will move forward with the card as is and the featherweight title fight will be booked for a later date.
However, at this time, there’s no word on exactly when the fight will take place. While the news just came out, one of the best targets to watch out for is UFC 262. That event will be held in Houston and is currently scheduled to be headlined by Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira for the vacant UFC flyweight title.
The featherweight title fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega scheduled for #UFC260 has been postponed.
Volkanovski was forced from the fight due to COVID-19 protocols, per tonight's broadcast. pic.twitter.com/JOvtIbZTFX
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) March 21, 2021
As mentioned there is no target date at this time. Given the fact that both men are healthy and ready to go, you’d have to think that the UFC will look to turn this around as soon as possible. I cannot see a situation where this fight gets beyond the date of UFC 262 if both men are healthy.
Volkanovski was looking to defend his featherweight title for the second time. Last July at UFC 251, Volkanovski won a razor thin split decision over Max Holloway. The win was the second straight for Volkanovski over Holloway.
A few months after that title defense for Volkanovski, Brian Ortega made his UFC return. He dominated Chan Sung Jung over the course of five rounds. That win showed everyone the amount he had improved during his time off. Injuries had kept Ortega out of the octagon since his title defeat to Holloway a couple of years prior.
This story is still developing and my guess is that we should get a new date for this fight sometime this week. If I was to put money on it, I would strongly lean towards UFC 262 considering 261 already has three title fights on the card.