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Mixed Martial Arts: Volkanovski tests positive for COVID-19, UFC title defence postponed

FILE PHOTO: July 12, 2020; Abu Dhabi, UAE; Alexander Volkanovski of Australia celebrates after his split-decision victory over Max Holloway in their UFC featherweight championship fight during the UFC 251 event at Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 12, 2020 on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Alexander Volkanovski’s featherweight title defence against Brian Ortega at UFC 260 has been postponed after the Australian said on Sunday he tested positive for COVID-19.

Volkanovski’s fight with Ortega, originally scheduled to be the co-main event on March 27 in Las Vegas, will be rescheduled due to COVID-19 protocols. The UFC is yet to announce a new date for the bout.

Volkanovski, 32, said he tested negative before leaving Australia and before entering the UFC bubble but returned a positive result in the latest round of testing.

"So devastated to share that I've tested positive for COVID-19 and my fight is off and will be rescheduled," he tweeted here.

“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.”

Volkanovski (22-1) has been the featherweight champion since he defeated Max Holloway at UFC 245 in December 2019. He also beat the Hawaiian in a rematch at UFC 251 in July 2020.

Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill