At UFC 281, which will take place on November 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, the two lightweight combatants will face each other. The bout is taking place 22 months later than it was originally scheduled to take place, which was at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi.
The UFC implemented COVID-19 guidelines, one of which included a testing bubble, in January of 2021. UFC employees saw Azaitar and his squad sneak out of the bubble in order to collect a bag, and they were able to catch them in the act. After some time, the promotion decided to cancel the bout.
Initially, UFC president Dana White expressed his displeasure with the violation of safety regulations and stated Farah Hannoun that Azaitar will never fight in the UFC again.
“He and his team cut their wristbands off and got them to people on the outside, one guy,” White said. “This guy got inside the bubble, went in through a room, shimmied down four balconies, went in through (Azaitar’s) balcony, and dropped off a bag of we don’t know what. Then he changed his clothes and went back outside of the bubble. We got everything on camera, we saw the whole thing, and how it all went down, pulled his fight and cut him.”
White finally came to a different conclusion, and Azaitar was not allowed to be freed.
Fight fans have been speculating about what was in the bag in the weeks that have followed the event due to the odd nature of the circumstance. Ali Abdelaziz, who is in charge of Azaitar's operations, revealed the truth about the potatoes at some point.
Since the incident, Azaitar, who holds a record of 13-0 in MMA and 2-0 in the UFC, has not competed. The most recent fight he participated in took place in September of 2020. Both of his victories in the UFC to this point have come through first-round knockout against Teemu Packalen and Khama Worthy. Eleven of his professional triumphs have come at shorter distances, giving him a total of 13.
Frevola (9-3-1 MMA, 3-3-1 UFC) got his winning streak back on track in January by knocking out UFC newcomer Genaro Valdez four times before finishing the fight with strikes in Round 1. This victory came after Frevola had lost his previous two fights in a row. Frevola first advocated for a contest against Paddy Pimblett in the months that followed, but he eventually modified his position and advocated for a fight to take place in the state of New York, which is Frevola's home state. The fulfillment of his second wish has occurred.