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Charles Oliveira out of UFC 294, Alexander Volkanovski will fight Islam Makhachev

Charles Oliveira Alexander Volkanovski Islam Makhachev UFC 294

Feb 12, 2023; Perth, WA, AUSTRALIA; Islam Makhachev (red gloves) fights Alexander Volkanovski (blue gloves) during UFC 284 at RAC Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasmin Frank-USA TODAY Sports

Alexander Volkanovski Islam Makhachev UFC 294
Feb 12, 2023; Perth, WA, AUSTRALIA; Islam Makhachev (red gloves) fights Alexander Volkanovski (blue gloves) during UFC 284 at RAC Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasmin Frank-USA TODAY Sports

Charles Oliveira out of UFC 294, Alexander Volkanovski will fight Islam Makhachev

Former UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliviera has pulled out of his rematch with Islam Makhachev. UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski will step in on just ten days’ notice to fight Makhachev in the UFC 294 main event.

The news was first reported by the OverDogs Podcast. It was then confirmed by ESPN Deportes reporter Carlos Contreras Legaspi.

At Dana White’s Contender Series Season 7, Episode 10 post-fight press conference, UFC CEO Dana White confirmed the news as well.

“(Charles Oliveira), in round five of sparring last night, he was supposed to jump on a plane today, splits his eyebrow wide open, and had it stitched up last night,” White said. “Obviously, can’t fly out (to Abu Dhabi) with that.”

Volkanovski and Makhachev’s UFC 294 main event will serve as a rematch as well. The pair first fought at UFC 284 and fought to a razor-close decision in an outstanding fight.

This will go down as a massive risk with historic rewards for Volkanovski. The reigning featherweight champion is skipping the lightweight title queue of Oliveira and Justin Gaethje. This gives him an immediate opportunity at the belt. If he wins, he will be the fifth similatious UFC double champion. At the same time, he is taking the most difficult fight possible on ten days’ notice. If he loses, that would be his second to Makhachev and he may never be given a trilogy bout.

Makhachev deserves credit for taking this bout on short notice as well. The risk will not be as high for him, but he is still facing a massive stylistic change with minimal time to prepare.

Thankfully for both parties, the pair have experience fighting one another and will have familiarity with their UFC 294 opponent.

As for Oliveira, he is being forced to walk away from a legacy-altering fight. With Gaethje and several other fighters bidding for a lightweight title shot, he is not guaranteed that his next fight is for the belt.

***

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