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The first
Ultimate Fighting Championship
card of 2021 lost a key
matchup.

On his Instagram page on
Friday, Anthony
Hernandez
(7-2, 1 NC) posted that he contracted COVID-19 and
his bout with Rodolfo
Vieira
(7-0) needed to be rescheduled. The middleweight pairing
originally slated for
UFC on ABC 1
on Jan. 16 has been pushed to UFC
258
on Feb. 13.

“Happy New Year,” Hernandez wrote. “Good news is
that #teamFluffy is safe and gear goes out next week. Bad news is
the fight’s delayed – 2020 left me with the COVID. I’m good
[though] – and rescheduled for 2/13.”

Hernandez will be looking to bounce back from his first career
knockout loss, which Kevin
Holland
handed to him in 39 seconds in May. “Fluffy” has
overcome some adversity leading into and throughout his UFC career,
as he began his ascent on Dana White’s Contender Series by knocking out
Jordan
Wright
in 40 seconds. The victory was overturned when Hernandez
failed a post-fight drug test, but the promotion still brought him
aboard to face fellow ex-Legacy Fighting Alliance champ Markus
Perez
in his debut. Perez submitted him with an anaconda choke,
and “Fluffy” rebounded by becoming the first fighter in UFC history
to ever win and lose bouts by anaconda choke, as he tapped out
Jun
Yong Park
a few months later with one.

Facing Hernandez a few weeks later will be Vieira, who has yet to
taste defeat as a professional – or even reach the judges. All
seven of his wins by finish, six of those came by submission. His
organizational debut in 2019 was a successful one, as he tapped out
Oskar
Piechota
with an arm-triangle choke. In 2020, Vieira met
Saparbek
Safarov
, and he too handed Safarov a defeat from an
arm-triangle choke. In victory, “The Black Belt Hunter” became one
of a small number of fighters to ever grace the Octagon that have
landed multiple submissions of this type – Vieira is the first
among them to achieve this in his first two bouts.

UFC 258 goes down tentatively at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi,
United Arab Emirates, although there is a chance it could take
place instead at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Feb. 13. The
pay-per-view card will be topped off by a welterweight championship
match as Kamaru
Usman
takes on Gilbert
Burns
. The co-main event sees Kelvin
Gastelum
face Ian
Heinisch
at middleweight, while another featured bout on the
main card also comes at 185 pounds when Chris
Weidman
runs it back with Uriah
Hall
.

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