Ufc 294 | franchise sports media
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FSM Preview: UFC 294 – Makhachev vs Volkanovski

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In a dramatic turn of events, the UFC returns to Abu Dhabi with a champion vs champion rematch.

Makhachev vs Volkanovski is happening again!

UFC 294 | Franchise Sports Media
Graphic Credit: DiaztwinsMMA

It may not have been the way the UFC would’ve wanted one of their most anticipated rematches to go down, but nonetheless, the day was saved. UFC 294 initially was set to see another rematch in the form of former champion Charles Oliveira challenging Islam Makhachev for the lightweight title. The two previously met at UFC 280, where Islam took the title from Oliveira. But just under two weeks from the fight, Oliveira suffered a cut above his eye in training, which resulted in him needing stitches. Unable to fight, Dana White and the UFC scrambled to find worthy opponents willing to step in on such notice against one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the roster.

A call down under to Australia was answered by Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski (26-2). The featherweight champion is looking to avenge his only UFC loss, when he came up short against Islam at UFC 284 earlier this year. In a close battle, many felt Volk did enough to become a double champion, but the judges gave the victory to Makhachev. Now, on short notice, The King at 145lbs tries his luck again at 155lbs.

 

UFC 294 | Franchise Sports Media
Graphic Credit: DiaztwinsMMA

The two champions do battle again despite the short notice. The buzz and excitement are there as they have shown against each other and others they are the two best in their divisions by a mile. Islam wants to prove how close the first bout went was merely a fluke and that he is the true pound-for-pound great. Volk wants to finish the job as he proves to doubters that despite the size difference, he is more than capable of standing across from anyone and giving them a run for their money.

Can the Aussie great pull off the upset and capture double champ status? Or will the champion from the mountains of Dagestan prevail once again? Due to this fight happening on short notice, a trilogy seems to be inevitable between these two down the road.

If Volk wins, they are tied one win a piece. If Islam wins, well, the fight was on short notice, and we’ve already seen how close the matchup is when given a whole training camp. But that’s to be determined, for now, the war continues between two of the best.

Makhachev vs Volkanovski is more than a hype fight, there is bad blood between them!

The co-main event saw its turbulence also. But now, will The Wolf survive his Nigerian Nightmare?

Makhachev vs Volkanovski is happening in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, October 21st.

UFC 294 | Franchise Sports Media
Graphic Credit: DiaztwinsMMA

Like the main event, the co-main was no exception to last-minute changes. Originally planned was a showdown between Paulo Costa and Khamzat Chimaev. Unfortunately, Costa had surgery on his elbow for a nasty staff infection he suffered. Chimaev, who has not been inside the octagon since last year, needed a new opponent, but like Islam, who would answer the call for such a tough outing on short notice? Former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman said he’ll be the one.

Usman (20-3) is coming off back-to-back losses to current champion Leon Edwards, despite the recent setbacks in his career, having to travel around the globe, making his debut in a new division, and not to mention only taking on one of the fast-rising stars in the promotion. But this is what champions do: they step to the plate, answer the call, and face the challenge put in front of them. Usman is one of the greatest welterweights and fighters of all time. His legacy is already set, but what if he can add to it?

The former champion previously stated he wouldn’t want to move up a new hill to climb at middleweight due to his friend and fellow Nigerian brother Israel Adesanya being the division’s champion. Now that that is no longer the case, the move-up seems reasonable. While not under the best circumstances, hey, anything worth doing isn’t going to be easy.

 

UFC 294 | Franchise Sports Media
Graphic Credit: DiaztwinsMMA

Standing across from the former champion to welcome him to 185lbs is Chimaev (12-0), who has been a wrecking ball in his short stint with the promotion. In his first four fights, Khamzat took a total of two strikes and landed. Four fights, TWO strikes, YIKES. In six fights in the UFC, Chimaev has only been tested once in his bout with Gilbert Burns.

An opponent who also shared the cage with Usman. His aggressive wrestling style, ground-and-pound relentlessness, and his improving stand-up game. The Wolf has made easy work of almost everyone who has stood across from him. At one point, he jumped between divisions, going from fights at 170lbs to 185lbs, but after suffering issues from weight cutting and even missing weight by an astonishing 8lbs, Khamzat looks to make his home now at middleweight.

Will the change of opponent have Khamzat looking past his new challenge? Can he continue his reign of terror no matter who is in his path? Dana White has already implicated that this fight will have title shot aspirations on the line. So a win for either will be huge in possibly getting them a shot at the top of the mountain their next time out.

UFC 294 was already highly anticipated when first announced. A devastating shake-up happened, and somehow, the hype and excitement either stayed the same or, in some cases, rose a few more levels. Come Saturday morning, we are in for a treat as these gladiators go to war and look to further their careers and cement their legacies. The fallout will be exciting, but before that, we will enjoy the fights.

Who is going to win Makhachev vs Volkanovski?

UFC 294 takes place at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi and will air on PPV at 11 a.m. PST.

 

Check out franchisesportsmedia.com/combat-sports-coverage for all your latest MMA, Las Vegas sports news, events, previews, recaps, and my weekly combat sports show with Griffin Kemp, The Main Event.

 

-Kalani Lua – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Kalani on Twitter @klua11

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