Well, this is bittersweet. We've got some major UFC 294 news that we need to discuss. This event was too good to be true, but the card held up very well just until news broke last night. Looking to get his belt back from Islam Makhachev, the man who took it from him, Charles Oliveira got cut in his last round of sparring before he would fly out to the United Arab Emirates.
So, what is the UFC going to do about this? Thankfully, we've got champions like Alexander Volkanovski who is willing to step up on 11 days notice. Volk is the featherweight champion who made the move up to 155lbs just two fights ago to challenge Makhachev. Islam left with the win, but the fight was very close.
Though Volk would probably prefer the luxury of a full training camp, opportunity knocks at inconvenient times and it's risks like this that truly make great athletes. Additionally, Makhachev deserves a lot of credit, too; much like Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223, he was ready for anyone who would show up.
The co-main event has also fallen through with Paulo Costa having recently undergone surgery on his elbow. We've got an idea on who will try to step up and face Khamzat Chimaev and save the co-main slot for UFC 294, but nothing is official as of now.
UFC 294 News: Makhachev vs Volkanovski 2 – Our New, But Still Familiar, Main Event
Really, we all knew this rematch would happen at some point. The first fight was too close to not run this one back. Though the circumstances aren't great, at least we're maintaining a headline fight that's worthwhile. It's worth noting that Makhachev ran through Oliviera in their first match, but he had moments where he struggles against Volkanovski.
On paper, this is a closer fight, but that whole 11 days' notice thing will be looming large over any and all conversation for this bout, before and after. We're all a bit torn on the UFC 294 news; sure, it's exciting, but it's ultimately not the best in terms of keeping things moving along super smoothly.
Charles Oliveira shocked a lot of us with how he defeated Beneil Dariush. It's heartbreaking to see someone like ‘do Bronx', someone heralded as the lightweight GOAT(up for debate), having to miss this opportunity to fight for gold due to a last minute injury.
It felt like we were just moment away from Alexander Volkanovski vs Ilia Topuria becoming official and moving the featherweight division along. Topuria will now be sidelined for a bit longer. Unless the UFC wants to bless us with Max Holloway vs Ilia Topuria for an interim title.
Paulo Costa is Out – Rumors of a Former Champion Stepping Up
A lot of people speculated that this fight would've fallen through and we hate that they were right. Maybe the overly-critical fans manifested this, so we'll put the blame there. Khamzat Chimaev isn't known for being a flaky fighter, but his last fight, which was over a year ago, saw him missing weight by 7.5lbs, causing the main and co-main events to go off of the rails, a little similar to this event now.
This time, it's not ‘Borz', but a surgery of Costa's that has derailed an expected fight. Paulo Costa is a series threat in the middleweight division, but the former title challenger has not fought more than once in a year since 2017. A win here would've done one of two things: prove that Chimaev, who is also gunning for the welterweight title, can hang with the top guys at middleweight, or it would've proved that Paulo's hunt for gold is far from over.
The injury bug is the bane of MMA. It's to be expected, but the let down of big fights falling through never gets any easier. Khamzat Chimaev has made it abundantly clear that he will fight anyone, anywhere and at any time. So, who could we see him face if the UFC is able to put something together?
The front runner, per sources, seems to be the former welterweight champ, Kamaru Usman. However, there are many names that are interesting here. Dricus du Plessis, Robert Whittaker, and someone who isn't in the rankings but has been calling for this fight, Bo Nickal. We'll keep you posted as the UFC 294 news unfolds.