The UFC 294 event recently found itself in a tumultuous situation with both the headliner and co-main event being forced out due to injuries. Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, originally in talks to face Ilia Topuria, has now agreed to step in on short notice for a rematch against Islam Makhachev.
Oliveira sustained an injury during a sparring session that led to a nasty cut above his eyebrow, rendering him unfit to compete. As a result, the promotion had to find a replacement for him.
Paulo Costa is also under a question mark. Costa recently underwent elbow surgery, necessitating a minimum two-week recovery period without training. The uncertainty still looms over Chimaev’s participation, but the UFC acted swiftly to secure an alternative for Makhachev.
Volkanovski is no stranger to Makhachev; the two previously crossed paths when Volkanovski moved up to the lightweight division in February. Their encounter resulted in a highly competitive match, culminating in a unanimous decision victory for Makhachev. However, the scoring of that fight stirred controversy, with many fans believing it to be contentious. This led to clamors for a rematch, with Volkanovski being the sole fighter who appeared capable of pushing Makhachev to his limits.
Now, with Volkanovski’s decision to step in on short notice, questions have arisen about his chances against Makhachev. Yet, the UFC featherweight champion exudes confidence in his abilities. Following his match against Yair Rodriguez in July, Volkanovski expressed his readiness for an October rematch.
He stated, “It makes it a lot better opportunity for me to step in there [against Islam Makhachev]. I’m not ruling that out. It’s funny. These people want extra time off, and here I am telling you I’m going to get surgery and I’ll probably turn out there in October. That’s what I’m showing you.”