A few hours after being left fight-less for a fourth consecutive time, Huntington's Matt Frevola indeed will enter the UFC's octagon and compete against another person on Saturday night.
Frevola now will face Arman Tsarukyan in a lightweight bout on the UFC 257 prelims after his original opponent, Ottman Azaitar, was removed from the card for violating the UFC's health and safety protocols before Friday morning's weigh-ins in Abu Dhabi.
"UFC is aware of a recent violation of the health and safety protocols involving Ottman Azaitar. As such, Azaitar has been removed from the safety zone," the promotion said in a statement. "The organization continues to keep the health and safety of all participants as the top priority and will take action against anyone that does not adhere to the strict measures put in place."
Azaitar later was cut from the UFC's roster, UFC president Dana White said.
Frevola still made weight at 155.5 pounds, hoping to be a backup fighter in case anyone else missed weight and couldn't otherwise fight on Saturday. Nasrat Haqparast was pulled from his fight with Tsarukyan "due to illness," the UFC said, giving Frevola an opportunity to fight. Tsarukyan missed weight (157 pounds) and will forfeit 20% of his purse.
"We came here to fight, don't matter who," Frevola texted Newsday on Friday afternoon.
"The SteamRolla" Frevola (8-1-1), who last fought in October 2019, said earlier this week how happy he was to finally get to fight again after having three bouts last year all get canceled.
The timing of Friday's removal of Azaitar also is somewhat familiar to Frevola. One bout last year was canceled during fight week and another was scrapped the day before the fight.
White said someone from outside the "Fight Island" bubble got inside using a wristband from someone on Azaitar's team.
"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," White told MMA Junkie. "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."