The matchup between Brian Kelleher and Ricky Simon has hit another snag.

Kelleher (22-11 MMA, 6-4 UFC) announced on Friday that his bantamweight bout with Simon (16-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC), which was scheduled for a UFC Fight Night event in Jan. 16 in Abu Dhabi, has been postponed after his pre-departure COVID-19 test came back positive.

At this stage, Kelleher said he’s asymptomatic, and thinks it’s likely a false positive. Nevertheless, extensive precautions must be taken, and that means removing Kelleher from the planned contest (via Twitter):

I think it’s a false positive to be honest.Will find out soon. I’ll be back shortly. Thanks for those who showed concern. All the people I’ve been close proximity with have tested negative. Hope to get this fight rebooked early February. I know you wanna see this fight

Put a lot of work in to peak at a certain time. That’s the hard part. Gotta reset and keep on keeping on. Hoping to get a negative test soon and rebook this fight for early feb. my girlfriend and training partners are negative and I feel no symptoms so Hopefully false positive

The fight between Kelleher and Simon was originally booked for Sept. 5, but was called off the week prior when one of Simon’s cornermen tested positive for COVID-19, thus removing the fighter from the matchup.

The promotion rescheduled the fight once, and now it remains to be seen if Simon will get a new opponent on short notice, or if it will be delayed.

The latest lineup for UFC Fight Night on Jan. 16 now includes:

  • Max Holloway vs. Calvin Kattar
  • Mike Grundy vs. Nik Lentz
  • Jacob Kilburn vs. Austin Lingo
  • Carlos Felipe vs. Justin Tafa
  • Punahele Soriano vs. Dusko Todorovic
  • Anthony Hernandez vs. Rodolfo Vieira
  • Bethe Correia vs. Wu Yanan
  • Christian Aguilera vs. Warlley Alves
  • Omari Akhmedov vs. Tom Breese
  • Ramazan Emeev vs. David Zawada
  • Phil Hawes vs. Nassourdine Imavov
  • Joaquin Buckley vs. Alessio Di Chirico