After a highly competitive title fight in February, Alexander Volkanovski gets his rematch against Lightweight Champion Islam Makhachev on eleven days’ notice. Former title holder Charles Oliveira was scheduled to face Makhachev at UFC 294, but an injury sustained during sparring this weekend has forced him out of the fight. UFC president Dana White broke the news at a press conference last night following the Contender Series. White stated, “Volkanovski and his team are absolute studs man…One phone call and I would have announced it hours ago, except I was waiting for the guys to wake up in Abu Dhabi to let them know”.
Arguably this rematch is even more anticipated than the original title fight. Many fans were excited to hear the news that Volkanovski was going to fill in. When asked about how such a great matchup was made so quickly Dana White said “This is how we do it, brother, one fight falls out and we end up making a fight that’s one of the most anticipated rematches ever in that weight class”.
In their first contest, both fighters had significant moments but Makhachev would win a very close fight by split decision. Alexander Volkanovski had never competed at 155 pounds in the UFC before that fight. Makhachev also ended Volkanovski’s 22-fight unbeaten streak. When the first fight took place, Volkanovski was getting the better of the striking exchanges. Makhachev weathered the storm over five rounds and implemented his dominant ground game to outpoint the Featherweight champion. It will be interesting to see how Volkanovski handles a shortened weight cut, with only 11 days to make weight.
UFC 294 will take place in Abu Dhabi but the Co-Main event between Chechnyan superstar Khamzat Chimaev and Paulo Costa may be in jeopardy as well. Cost recently had surgery to help a hand injury that he suffered in training camp. Dana White said that he would let the media know in the coming days whether the fight will proceed. The rest of UFC 294 is filled with potentially entertaining matchups including:
#1 Magmomed Ankalaev (18-1-1) vs. #5 Johnny Walker (21-7)
#15 Said Nurmagomedov (17-3) vs. Muin Gafurov (18-5)
Ikram Aliskerov (14-1) vs. Walley Alves (14-6)
#11 Tim Elliott (19-12) vs. #9 Muhammad Mokaev (9-0)
Sedriques Dumas (9-1) vs. Abu Azaitar (14-3-1)
Bruno Silva (23-9) vs. Sharabutdin Magomedov (11-0)
Javid Basharat (14-0) vs. Victor Henry (23-6).
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