Oliveira out, Volkanovski in to face Makhachev at UFC 294

Oliveira out, Volkanovski in to face Makhachev at UFC 294

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Oliveira out, Volkanovski in to face Makhachev at UFC 294
#Oliveira #Volkanovski #face #Makhachev #UFC,


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.

In Oliveira’s place, featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski will step in to fight lightweight champ Islam Makhachev on 11 days’ notice.

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.

On social media, Oliveira acknowledged it was a deep cut from a head-butt.

“In my last training session here in Brazil, I ended up suffering a head-butt. It opened a very deep cut. I had eight or nine stitches, I don’t really know,” Oliveira said. “It’s a very deep cut to be able to fight, to recover in the little time I have and put on a great fight. So my team, together with the UFC, decided to pull out of the fight so I could be 100% ready for the next one.

“Everyone knows the importance of this fight. It’s not just a fight, it’s a title fight, so there are big things involved, and we couldn’t just go and fight anyway. I know a lot of people will judge, but it’s a very important fight for us. We couldn’t go into it when we were 80% ready. We have to be 120% ready for it.”

On Wednesday, Makhachev told Daniel Cormier, of ESPN’s “DC & RC,” that he wasn’t surprised that Oliveira withdrew from their fight, and that he is not changing his game plan for Volkanovski.

“New opponent, same goal. … I respect him, because he took this fight,” Makhachev said. “This guy is really tough. If you want to stop him, you have to choke him or knock him out. This guy is going to fight five rounds.” But he added, “I am the best fighter in the world. … You have to show people who is best, doesn’t matter who is coming at you.”

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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Oliveira out, Volkanovski in to face Makhachev at UFC 294

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