The UFC 260 co-main event featuring Brian Ortega challenging featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski has been postponed due to COVID-19 protocols involving the champ. The UFC announced the news during Saturday's UFC Fight Night event, stating the matchup would remain in place for a future date.
Volkanovski vs. Ortega was set to serve as the co-headliner on the March 27 pay-per-view and first title fight of the evening ahead of the heavyweight title main event between champ Stipe Miocic and top contender Francis Ngannou.
Volkanovski retained his title in a rematch with Max Holloway, the man he defeated to win the belt, at UFC 251 this past July. The rematch ended in a controversial split decision and the bout with Ortega was to serve as Volkanovski's chance to reassert his place as the top 145-pound fighter in the UFC.
Volkanovski released a brief statement on the matter shortly after the news was reported by UFC.
"So devastated to share that I've test positive for COVID-19 and my fight is off and will be rescheduled. I tested negative leaving Australia, negative before entering the UFC bubble but my latest test was positive," Volkanovski said. "We have worked so hard getting ready for this fight and I'm absolutely gutted this has happened. We followed every policy and process to remain COVID free but it wasn't meant to be this time. Thanks to everyone here in the State for your support since arriving and to everyone back home and around the world for your positive messages. To my fans, I'm certain I'll be bouncing back stronger than ever before."
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Ortega earned his title shot with a dominant performance against Chan Sung Jung in October. The fight with Jung was Ortega's first since losing a fight against Holloway for the belt in December 2018. A knee injury kept Ortega out of the Octagon for nearly two years before the impressive performance against The Korean Zombie. The loss to Holloway is the lone loss of Ortega's career.