Last minute changes to UFC 294 have fans in a frenzy

UFC 294 will take place on Saturday the 21st of October as it returns to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and fans are just hoping to get to fight night without any more changes.  


The very anticipated rematch between UFC Lightweight Champion Islam Makhachev and former Champion Charles Olivera has been on since July. Unfortunately for the Oliveria and Brazilian fans, he suffered a nasty cut right on his eyebrow which left him unable to make it to Abu Dhabi because the long flight may result to him suffering a blood clot, so Charles was forced to step out of the fight. 

 Luckily for the fans, there was someone who had wanted a rematch with Makhachev since their last bout. The Pound for Pound number 1 in the world, Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski got the call from the boss Dana White and without hesitation said yes. As much as the fan wanted to see Oliveria get a second chance at the belt, the first meeting between Volkanovski and Machachev was unbelievable. Volkanovski took the fight on 11 days’ notice, revealing when he got the call, he weighed in at 181 pounds, meaning he is currently cutting 26 pounds in 11 days to get to the 155-pound weight to fight, and capture the double champion status. As unhealthy as that might be, no one can deny Volkanovski is an absolute savage and always ready for war. The fight is very 50/50, considering Machachev was preparing for a very skilled Ju-jitsu fighter in Oliveria. Volkanovski is very skilled both standing and on the matt. It will be interesting to see in these next few days how the game plan shifts for machachev, because Volkanovski is coming to avenge what many people call was a robbery in the first fight.  


But the main event was not the only fight that had to be changed for Saturday. The Co-main event Between the very explosive and dangerous 12-0 Khamzat Chimaev was scheduled to go head-to-head with a very experienced kickboxer Paulo Costa. The two had been jawing at each other for a long time that the fight just had to happen. Chimaev, who has had trouble making weight on welterweight decided to go up to middleweight and fight costa and try find a new groove in a new weight class where he feels more comfortable in. However, like Oliveria, the Brazilian native costa was forced to pull out of the fight because of an elbow injury. Costa has already had surgery on the elbow in camp but was told by doctors that he will need two more, one being on Friday before the fight. A remarkably interesting challenge for the undefeated Chimaev was called off and fans were getting worried about the strength of this card. The history between costa and Chimaev was notable through video footage of them going back and forth in a gym not too long ago.

But someone lurking in the back, who has also been on Chimaev radar, the former Welterweight champion and considered the greatest welterweight of all time, Kamaru Usman stepped up the same day as Volkanovski to face Chimaev at middleweight, a 15-pound jump from welterweight. Although Usman has had back-to-back losses to Leon Edwards, the man who defeated Usman for the belt and then defeated again in his first defense, Dana White announced that the winner of the bout will fight the middleweight champion, Sean Strickland. On paper, it looks like Usman may not deserve a shot at a title right now, but Dana White holds the former champions savagery highly, and taking on a guy who many have turned down. It is worth knowing that Chimaev had his last fight in September of last year and has been in camp for about a year now. While Usman, having a champions mentality, has kept in shape, but not had a camp as to what Chimaev has had. This will be a great test for both fighters and will be a war.  


How Dana White and the UFC match makers made something of nothing will not go unnoticed by fans. UFC 294 in many eyes got better between the 48 hours that the main and co main events were in jeopardy. The future of the two fighters who were forced to sit the card out is unknown. Hopefully, we will see them fight for contention soon, but for now, all anyone in the MMA world can think about is Saturday night, fight night, in Abu Dhabi.