UFC Fight Night: Mounir Lazzez withdraws after testing positive for coronavirus

Dubai-based Tunisian fighter was scheduled to take on David Zawada on October 18

Dubai resident Mounir Lazzez has had to withdraw from his second UFC appearance later this month after testing positive for Covid-19.

The Tunisian, one of the breakout stars at the inaugural Fight Island in July, was slated to take on David Zawada at UFC Fight Night on October 18 – the penultimate event in the promotion’s second residency in the capital.

However, a recent positive test means Lazzez will have to wait to feature in the UFC again. Despite the incredibly unfortunate development, sources close to the fighter said he is focused on getting healthy and hopes to make a return to the promotion at a later date.

A former Desert Force welterweight champion, Lazzez debuted in the UFC on July 16, prevailing by unanimous decision against the returning, but experienced, Abdul Razak Alhassan. The performance earned Lazzez a "fight of the night" bonus, with the promotion quickly seeking to book him a second bout.

As present, his professional mixed martial arts record reads 10-1. Zawada, meanwhile, has competed in the UFC three times previously. His overall pro record stands at 17-5.

Speaking to The National during Fight Island 1, UFC president Dana White praised Lazzez’s display on debut, saying he could serve as a catalyst for more regional talent to emerge.

"Look at what happened: Arab talent is actually starting to win," White said. "Lazzez won a legit fight against a very, very tough opponent. They ended up being Fight of the Night.

“So now, after us being in this market for 10 to 12 years, you're starting to see real talent coming out of here now too, which is just another indicator of how big the possibilities are here in the Middle East."

The October 18 event is headlined by featherweight contenders Brian Ortega and Jung Chan-sung, the latter more popularly known as “The Korean Zombie”. Jessica Andrade, the former strawweight champion who also competed at Fight Island this summer, is expected to take on Katlyn Chookagian at flyweight.

“Return to Fight Island” continues this Sunday with a UFC Fight Night headlined by Marlon Moraes and Cody Sandhagen, with the series concluding on October 25 with UFC 254.

The card, which for the first time in five years features six bouts at the top of the show, is headlined by lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov's unification encounter with interim belt-holder Justin Gaethje.

“Return to Fight Island” began on September 27, with UFC 253.