Dana White brings clarity: Khamzat Chimaev to fight Paulo Costa at UFC 294

UFC President Dana White has some good news about a high profile action bout between Khamzat Chimaev and Paulo Costa.

By: Zane Simon | 2 months ago

Finally it seems like we have some solid answers, at least provided that the UFC president isn’t just doing that thing where he leans on fighters by announcing bouts before they’re finalized.

Paulo Costa and Khamzat Chimaev have been circling each other for almost a year now, with a whole lot of talk about the fight that they might have, and even a heated confrontation at the UFC performance institute, but no actual official date when both men planned to face one another across the Octagon. Earlier this year multiple sources revealed that the UFC’s new plan was to do Chimaev vs. Costa in Abu Dhabi, but when fight announcements finally came down the pipeline, Chimaev was nowhere to be seen.

Instead the UFC announced Costa would be taking on Dagestani newcomer and heavily hyped Islam Makhachev training partner Ikram Aliskerov at UFC 291 in Salt Lake City. Chimaev was, supposedly getting set to face former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.

UFC president Dana White.
UFC president Dana White. IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

Paulo Costa removed from Aliskerov bout

Earlier this week, all that changed and the rumor mill started spinning again. News broke that ‘Borrachinha’ had been removed from his fight at UFC 291, although no reason for his exit was given and rumors that Roman Dolidze would fight Aliskerov quickly turned out to be false.

Shortly afterward, another rumor surfaced, that Costa vs. Chimaev had finally been booked. The obvious fight that seemed like the most exciting bout for everyone involved was going to get made, at UFC 294, just like had been originally intended. Of course, MMA being what it is, both men were quick to issue cryptic statements on social media that sounded like they were headed to anything other than a fight against one another.

Dana White makes Costa vs. Chimaev official

Far be it from me to take anything UFC president Dana White says as gospel, but at the very least his voice lends credibility to the idea that the promotion actually intends to have Costa and Chimaev fight one another on October 21st. The rumor mill didn’t have to spin for long before White came forward with several fight announcements for their big Abu Dhabi PPV event, including a title fight rematch between Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira.

Along with the lightweight main event, came the announcement of the middleweight action bout.

Alongside the official news that Chimaev and Costa was finally really on (for real this time, guys). The UFC also has a new official booking for Aliskerov. The AKA talent won’t be facing Dolidze as originally suggested, instead he’s got a bout booked against no. 13 ranked contender Nassourdine Imavov.

Imavov will enter this bout fresh off back to back disappointing performances. Most notably, a loss to Sean Strickland in the main event of the UFC’s January 14th Fight Night card, followed by a no contest due to head clash against Chris Curtis back in June. This fight will mark Aliskerov’s second trip to the Octagon, after defeating Phil Hawes on the prelims of UFC 288.

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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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