Positive COVID-19 test scratches Brian Kelleher from UFC Fight Island 7 bout with Ricky Simon

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The UFC’s first event of 2021 has lost a bantamweight fight.

Multiple people with knowledge of the promotion’s plans confirmed on Friday to MMA Fighting that a positive COVID-19 test has forced Brian Kelleher to withdraw from his scheduled matchup with Ricky Simon at UFC Fight Island 7, which takes place Jan. 16 in Abu Dhabi. Per sources, Kelleher is not experiencing any symptoms of the virus. MyMMANews.com was first to report that the fight is no longer taking place on the card.

As of now, there is no word on whether the UFC is looking for a replacement for Simon, or if the matchup will be rescheduled.

Kelleher entered 2020 on the final fight of his current contract and submitted Ode Osbourne in the first round at UFC 246, which earned him a new deal with the promotion. “Boom” ended the year 3-1, which also included finishes of Hunter Azure and Ray Rodriguez.

Simon competed once in 2020 and picked up a split decision win over Ray Borg at UFC Jacksonville in May. The victory snapped a two-fight losing streak for the 28-year-old.

UFC Fight Island 7 will be headlined by a featherweight matchup between Max Holloway and Calvin Kattar.

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