Fans who were looking forward to the rematch between Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira at UFC 294 are going to be disappointed. However, it seems the UFC is providing a major replacement.
UFC 294 sees the promotion returning to Abu Dhabi on October 21st, with the rematch between Makhachev and Oliveira set to main event. Their first fight saw the Dagestani take the title from “Do Bronx,” but since then, Oliveira rebounded with a big win over a surging Beneil Dariush, while Makhachev defended his title against 145lb king Alexander Volkanovski.
Charles Oliveira Out of UFC 294 Fight vs. Islam Makhachev
Unfortunately for those who were looking forward to the championship rematch between these two lightweights, there has been a less than positive development, just says after the co-main event was revealed to be in jeopardy. According to reports, Charles Oliveira has withdrawn from his bout with Islam Makhachev, just 10 days out from their bout at UFC 294.
However, it seems that the UFC is not looking to take a step down in quality for their return to the UAE, despite Oliveira’s withdrawal. While it remains to be made official, it appears that the promotion is hoping to book the rematch between Makhachev and Volkanovski, creating another massive champion vs. champion opportunity.
Can confirm: Charles Oliveira is OUT of his #UFC294 title Fight. UFC working on the rematch between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski as the new main event.
News was first reported by Overdogs podcast on instragam.
— Carlos Contreras Legaspi 🦁 (@CCLegaspi) October 11, 2023
These reports were confirmed with an announcement from ESPN MMA. Here, they officially confirmed the champion vs. champion rematch between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski as official.
Breaking: Islam Makhachev will defend his UFC lightweight title in a rematch against Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 294, UFC announced on Tuesday.
Charles Oliveira, originally slated for the bout vs. Makhachev, pulled out due to an injury. pic.twitter.com/y7Y2poBf0W
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) October 11, 2023
The cause of Charles Oliveria’s withdrawal was also revealed by UFC CEO Dana White in the post-fight press conference for the latest episode of the Contender Series. Here, he explained that the former lightweight champion suffered a cut to his eyebrow during one of his final sparring sessions for the fight.
🚨| Dana White confirms Charles Oliveira is OUT.
Oliveira split his eyebrow in the fifth round of sparring last night and had it stitched up last night.#UFC294 #UFC #MMA pic.twitter.com/FGe3ohAwON
— MMA Orbit (@mma_orbit) October 11, 2023
Although this is clearly not the direction that was originally intended, it is hard to ignore that Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski 2 is a massively exciting alternative main event for UFC 294. Considering how exciting and competitive their first fight was, there is even an argument to be made that this is an upgrade from the already exciting matchup with Charles Oliveira.
Read also: Former Opponent Outlines ‘Key To Beating’ Islam Makhachev Ahead Of UFC 294 Return