Oliveira out, Volkanovski in to face Makhachev


The UFC’s next pay-per-view main event fell apart Tuesday, only for the promotion to put together arguably an even bigger fight.

Former UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira is injured and out of the UFC lightweight title main event at UFC 294 on Oct. 21 in Abu Dhabi, UFC president Dana White confirmed Tuesday night in a news conference after Dana White’s Contender Series.

In Oliveira’s place, UFC 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,” White said.

White said Oliveira sustained 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. Obviously, the cut was serious enough that it needed stitches and forced Oliveira from the bout.

Makhachev and Volkanovski fought back 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 ranked 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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