Oliveira out, Volkanovski in to face Makhachev at UFC 294
The UFC’s next pay-per-view main event fell apart Tuesday, only for the promotion to put together arguably an even bigger one.
Former champion Charles Oliveira is injured and out of the lightweight title main event at UFC 294 on Oct. 21 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, UFC president Dana White confirmed Tuesday night.
White said it took “one phone call” to get Volkanovski to agree to the fight.
“The Volkanovski crew, him and Israel [Adesanya], these guys are absolute studs, man,” he said in a news conference after “Dana White’s Contender Series.”
White said Oliveira suffered a cut on his eyebrow in his final round of sparring Monday night. He and his team were supposed to fly to Abu Dhabi on Tuesday for the fight next week. The cut was serious enough that it needed stitches and forced Oliveira from the bout.
Makhachev and Volkanovski fought in February at UFC 284, with Makhachev winning a close unanimous decision in one of the best fights of this or any other year. ESPN has Volkanovski ranked as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, with Makhachev No. 2.
“This is how we do it, brother,” White said. “One fight falls out and we end up making a fight — it’s one of the most anticipated rematches ever in that weight class.”
Makhachev (24-1) has won 12 straight fights and has one title defense. The 31-year-old Dagestan native is the longtime training partner of undefeated all-time great Khabib Nurmagomedov, the retired former UFC lightweight champion.
Volkanovski (26-2) rebounded from the Makhachev loss to beat Yair Rodriguez via third-round TKO in a featherweight title fight at UFC 290 in July. The 35-year-old Australian has five successful title defenses and six featherweight title fight wins, the second most in division history.
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