Bantamweight standout Raoni Barcelos needs a short-notice opponent after top contender Raphael Assuncao was scratched from UFC Vegas 20.
Assuncao was taken off the Feb. 27 card due to a COVID-19 positive, he wrote on Twitter after an initial report from MMA Junkie. With three weeks until the event at UFC APEX in Las Vegas, the promotion will need to quickly find a replacement opponent. A person close to Barcelos told MMA Fighting the team is still waiting to hear if the search is underway.
2021 started a bit bumpy for sure… a car accident with nagging elbow/arm injury and COVID unfortunately has forced me out of my Feb 27 fight against countryman Barcelos .
PT is underway intensively, be back sooner than later.
— Raphael Assuncao (@RaphaAssuncao) February 3, 2021
Barcelos has lost three opponents while in the UFC, most recently a bout with Merab Dvashvili at UFC Vegas 16 this past December due to a medical suspension he received in a previous fight. The Brazilian has won five straight bouts at 135 pounds, outpointing Khalid Taha in his previous appearance at UFC Vegas 13.
Assuncao, meanwhile, is on the rebound after a knockout loss to ex-champ Cody Garbrandt at UFC 250. The setback was his third straight after an 11-1 run in which his only loss came to future champ T.J. Dillashaw.
UFC Vegas 20 is currently headlined by a heavyweight fight between Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Ciryl Gane.