Most of the major sports organizations, including the UFC, had to bear the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.
However, the Dana White-run company was also the first in the world to resume live sports action after being closed for nearly two months. The UFC slowly revitalized the martial arts world by hosting events in arenas closed to the public.
It took well over a year for the promotion to announce the return of a full audience at one of their events, namely UFC 261: Usman vs. Masvidal 2.
In 2021 there were a number of fights that kept fans thoroughly entertained, while some exciting fights never came to fruition thanks to Covid-19.
In this article, we take a look at five such fascinating battles that never ended due to the deadly virus that has swept most of the world
# 5. Raoni Barcelos versus Raphael Assuncao (UFC Vegas 20)
Raoni Barcelos was due to face Raphael Assuncao at UFC Vegas 20 in February. While Barcelos had established himself as one of the most exciting bantamweight fighters, Assuncao struggled to climb the ranks after losing three of his previous bouts.
The Brazilian duo never had a chance to share the octagon, however, as Assuncao tested positive for COVID-19 five days before their scheduled fight. Had the fight been successful, MMA fans could have had a potential fight of the night in their hands.
Barcelos, best known for his explosiveness and crisp punch, had a winning streak of nine fights at the time. The 34-year-old possesses the ability to relentlessly increase the pace of fights, which usually exhausts his opponents.
However, if he had an exchange of blows with someone like Assuncao, who is very durable with an endless gas tank, it would probably have been different for him.
Since joining the UFC in 2012, 13 of Assuncao’s fights have overcome the distance. He holds victories over Marlon Moraes, Rob Font, Aljamain Sterling, Pedro Munhoz, Jorge Masvidal and TJ Dillashaw.