Makhachev vs. Volkanovski 2: UFC 294's Last-Minute Main Event Change – What's Next?

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Makhachev vs. Volkanovski 2: UFC 294’s Last-Minute Main Event Change – What’s Next?

When was UFC 294?, Why did Oliveira pull out?, Why is Oliveira out of UFC 294?

As one rematch fell through, another one emerged from the shadows.

The highly anticipated rematch between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev at UFC 294 was poised to be a headline-grabber, but fate had other plans. Oliveira, who had previously faced Makhachev at UFC 280 and suffered a defeat, was set to lock horns with the current lightweight champion once again. However, an unfortunate training injury resulting in a severe cut above his eye forced Oliveira to withdraw from the main event rematch scheduled for October 21.

In a surprising twist, Alexander Volkanovski has stepped into the octagon to fill Oliveira’s shoes, agreeing to face Makhachev for the 155-pound title on just 11 days’ notice. Volkanovski, no stranger to Makhachev, had previously engaged in a grueling five-round battle with him at UFC 284 in February 2023.

This sudden main event switch has left fans and pundits pondering the implications for both fighters. Marc Raimondi delves deep into the repercussions of this title change, raising the question of whether it puts Makhachev or Volkanovski at a disadvantage in their second showdown.

Is it a mistake for Volkanovski to accept this fight on such short notice? While it’s undoubtedly a risk, labeling it a mistake might be too harsh. Volkanovski’s confidence is unwavering, and he’s already experienced the intensity of a five-round battle with Makhachev. Unlike a first-time encounter, he knows what he’s up against – Makhachev’s strength, wrestling prowess, and power. Nonetheless, Volkanovski’s willingness to take this fight without a proper training camp displays immense courage. A loss at UFC 294 could potentially cast doubt on his future prospects for the lightweight title.

Is it a mistake for Makhachev to enter this bout with only 11 days’ preparation? This is an intriguing question, as convention dictates that a fighter stepping in on short notice without a training camp is at a disadvantage. However, some coaches argue the opposite perspective – the fighter who has been training for an extended period might struggle when facing a “fresh” opponent with no prior preparation. Ultimately, though, it’s not a mistake for Makhachev. He holds a size advantage, has already defeated Volkanovski, and retains the wrestling and grappling skills necessary to nullify his opponent.

What’s next for Charles Oliveira? Oliveira’s priority will be healing his eye injury and biding his time. There’s a possibility that he could secure a title shot in Brazil next year. However, he must keep a watchful eye on Justin Gaethje, who’s a potent contender in the lightweight division. While Oliveira remains the top contender, the UFC’s rapidly changing landscape means he may have to prove himself once again to secure another shot at the title.

Why was it Volkanovski and not one of the other lightweight contenders? The choice of Volkanovski is a straightforward one – he represents the biggest fight, perhaps even more significant than Oliveira. ESPN ranks Volkanovski as the pound-for-pound No. 1 fighter globally, with Makhachev at No. 2. This matchup, according to Dana White, is one of the most anticipated rematches in lightweight history, underscoring the division’s prominence. Although the UFC explored other options, including Mateusz Gamrot and Dustin Poirier, Volkanovski emerged as the best possible candidate.

If Volkanovski wins, what’s next for the featherweight division? Ilia Topuria stands as the clear No. 1 contender in the featherweight division. However, if Volkanovski secures the UFC lightweight championship, questions will arise about Topuria’s next fight and its timing. Volkanovski has expressed confidence in defending titles in two weight classes, potentially indicating a quick return to featherweight. Alternatively, the UFC might opt for an interim title bout, much like they did when Volkanovski initially faced Makhachev. A showdown between Topuria and Max Holloway for interim gold could be a tantalizing prospect. Before recent developments, negotiations were already well underway for a bout between Volkanovski and Topuria at UFC 297 in January, as per insider sources.

If Volkanovski loses, what’s next for the featherweight division? In the event of a loss, Volkanovski would likely return to the featherweight division to defend his title at some point. The possibility of an interim title fight remains on the table, irrespective of the outcome. Ultimately, the timing of these decisions will depend on various factors that unfold in the fast-paced world of the UFC.

Reference:

https://www.espn.in/mma/story/_/id/38628880/islam-makhachev-alexander-volkanosvki-2-ufc-294-new-main-event-just-days-sparenow-what

https://www.cbssports.com/mma/news/ufc-294-fight-card-islam-makhachev-vs-alexander-volkanovski-2-set-after-charles-oliveira-forced-to-withdraw/

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