The UFC will be unable to make it to the United Kingdom for UFC Fight Night 171 next week. A number of countries have been placed on a travel ban over the last week, the UK included. That means the UFC will be unable to travel to England, but it does not mean the event is off. UFC president Dana White has made it clear he does not want to cancel events, so instead he is looking for new venues. Unfortunately, that meant that one half of the main event would be unable to show up. That half being England’s own Leon Edwards as he revealed on his Instagram that he was forced to withdraw.
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Last night I went to sleep still with some hope that UFC London would continue next week. I woke up this morning to the news that it won't be. We have been working with the UFC on possible solutions to keep the fight alive, but unfortunately with such a short window of time, nothing was viable. Myself and my team are all fathers, husbands, sons and brothers, and not all of us can leave our families right now. I wish we could have found a way for the fans, I truly do. I have been dreaming of headlining a UFC show in my home country since I started this sport. This cancellation is truly heartbreaking. I have never worked harder and never been more prepared for the biggest moment in my career. But I know that the whole world is hurting right now and this is bigger than me, this is bigger than sports. All I can hope for is that all of you stay safe and look after each other as we get past this and move forward. I am humbled by the thousands of messages of support I have received in the hours since the announcement, I truly appreciate you all and feel a lot of love right now. I look forward to this event being rebooked when it is safe to do so, so Tyron and I can put on the show that you all deserve. Please take care, we will all get through is. Rocky
Scheduled to face off against Edwards was former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. Woodley had a successful run as champion, taking the belt from Robbie Lawler and then defending it against Stephen Thompson, Demian Maia and Darren Till. He would end up losing the title to current champion Kamaru Usman and has been hungry to return to the top ever since. Nearly a year after he lost his title, Woodley was hungry to compete again and climb back towards the top. Unfortunately now he may have to do so against a new opponent.
Leon Edwards forced to withdraw from UFC London Main Event
Coming into this fight, Edwards was on an eight fight win streak, a streak that started after he suffered a unanimous decision loss to Kamaru Usman. Since the loss to Usman, Edwards has looked very impressive, picking up notable wins over Vicente Luque and Bryan Barberena.
Edwards competed in his first UFC main event after he put together five straight wins. At UFC Fight Night 132 he would face off against former lightweight title challenger Donald Cerrone. He took Cerrone the distance, defeating him by unanimous decision before getting a co-main event slot in London against Gunnar Nelson. He defeated Nelson that night by split decision, awarding him his second main event. This time he would face off against former UFC lightweight champion and former interim welterweight title challenger Rafael dos Anjos. Edwards would be given the unanimous decision win after another hard fought five rounds.
The win over dos Anjos undoubtedly put him in the title picture, and one more win would have assured him a title shot. Unfortunately he will have to be patient as he waits for the virus to pass and a new opponent to emerge. As for Woodley, he has not been removed from the card as of now. The plan, according to Ariel Helwani, is to find Woodley a replacement opponent. Woodley has yet to agree on a new opponent for the still venue-less card.
Woodley’s involvement on the card in the yet-to-be determined city is still TBD. They have begun talking about replacement options but still haven’t finalized where this card is happening yet and he hasn’t agreed to a new foe. They are still hell-bent on going through with it.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) March 15, 2020
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