UFC 280 is shaping up as one of the biggest UFC cards of 2022. Lightweight division of the UFC commands a lot of attention – which is why there’s plenty of guys willing to be the backup in case the main event between Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira were to fall through for any reason.
Alexander Volkanovski’s admission that he is the official backup caught Beneil Dariush by surprise. Dariush shares a manager with Makhachev and believed he was to be the backup. Dariush will be facing Matheus Gamrot further down the card in the same division.
Volkanovski explained to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour on Wednesday,
“If he’s watching, I’m not playing any games. Maybe they did tell you you could be very early, whether this was a couple of months ago, whether his manager had that conversation saying that you will be, and he just assumed he was and hasn’t looked into it since, I don’t know.”
“But my corners are being flown up. I’m getting paid for this, all that type of stuff. It’s locked in. I’m not playing any games.”
Several days ago Dariush claimed:
‘Honestly, I’m confused,” Dariush told Sirius XM. “I don’t know if he’s playing games or the UFC is playing games, because I was told I’m the fill in.
“That’s the whole point of having another lightweight fight on that card, just in case something goes wrong, so I don’t understand what’s going on here. I’m trying to get to the bottom of it, but ultimately I have one goal and that’s Gamrot. But I really thought I was the fill in, that’s what I was told.”
Despite Makhachev and Khabib voicing their concerns that Oliveira will not show up, he’s landed in Abu Dhabi and was spotted walking a lion. Now all that’s left is for both of them to make weight and the main event will be official.