Alexander Volkanovski replaces Charles Oliveira at UFC 294 against Islam Makhachev

Alexander Volkanovski replaces Charles Oliveira at UFC 294 against Islam Makhachev

Two of the UFC’s pound-for-pound top fighters will be stepping into the octagon on short notice at UFC 294. Lightweight star Charles Oliveira and number six ranked middleweight Paulo Costa are out. Their replacements are underdogs on UFC betting sites. Alexander Volkanovski will step in for Oliveira, and Kamaru Usman will step in for Costa. Here are the details and a preview of the main event for the lightweight title, a fight between two of the UFC’s top three ranked pound-for-pound fighters and two champions.

Quick Take

  • Volkanovski and Kamaru Usman step in on short notice
  • Volkanovski the underdog against Makhachev
  • Champ vs Champ

Fight details

Islam Makhachev will defend his UFC lightweight championship against Alexander Volkanovski in a rematch at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi on October 21. Their first fight was at UFC 284 in February. Makhachev is the betting favourite on Bodog. He has -225 odds to win the fight. Featherweight champion Volkanovski is the underdog with +185 odds to win the fight. The odds for this fight to go the distance are -145. And the odds are at +110 for the fight to end in a stoppage. Makhachev won the first fight by unanimous decision.

Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski

Volkanovski is the underdog heading into this fight. He is currently the number two ranked fighter on the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings list. He is coming off a KO/TKO victory over former interim featherweight champion Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290 in July. This is his second opportunity at the lightweight title, which would make him the champion of two divisions. His loss against Makhachev was the first in his professional career. Volkanovski struggled with defending Makhachev’s takedowns in the first fight and is heading into this fight on short notice.

On paper, there are not a lot of reasons to back Volkanovski in this fight because he is taking the fight on short notice. It is tough to know how well prepared he will be for this fight or if he has enough time to develop a game plan to stop Makhavchev. But he has been a dominant champion and fought some of the best the UFC has to offer. Volkanovski fought Max Holloway three times, Jose Aldo, The Korean Zombie, Brian Ortega, and more. One thing to note, the three fights between welterweight champion Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman were drastically different. Although it may be hard to imagine Volkanovski defending Makhachev’s takedowns on a consistent basis throughout this fight, a second fight can change everything.

Islam Makhachev

Makhachev was originally scheduled to have a lightweight title rematch with Charles Oliveira. Oliveira pulled out of the fight because of an injury, a cut, sustained while sparring, according to the UFC and Oliveira. Now, Makhachev will defend his title against another fighter he has defeated in Volkanovski. He was able to take Volkanovski down in the first fight and had success in the striking department. Makhachev dropped Volkanovski in the first round of the fight.

Makhachev has a lot going for him in this one. Although he was not preparing to fight Volkanovski, he was preparing to fight at UFC 294. Volkanovski is taking the fight on short notice. Makhachev has already defeated Volkanovski although the first fight was competitive. Makhachev’s only loss in the UFC was a KO/TKO defeat in 2015. Volkanovski has only five KO/TKO victories in 15 UFC fights. If Volkanovski does not stop Makhachev from taking him down, this fight could look a lot similar to the first fight, especially because this fight was put together at the last minute.

The rest of the card

#1 Kamaru Usman vs #4 Khamzat ChimaevMiddleweight Bout
#2 Magomed Ankalaev vs #7 Johnny WalkerLight Heavyweight Bout
#11 Ikram Aliskerov vs Warlley AlvesMiddleweight Bout
Said Nurmagomedov vs Muin GafurovBantamweight Bout
#10 Tim Elliott vs #11 Muhammad Mokaev Flyweight Bout
Mohammad Yahya vs Trevor PeekLightweight Bout
Javid Basharat vs Victor Henry Bantamweight Bout
Abu Azaitar vs Sedriques DumasMiddleweight Bout
Mike Breeden vs Anshul JubliLightweight Bout