UFC 294 title fight gets surprise back up fighter

The UFC has announced the fighter who could step in if something happens to either Charles Oliveira or Islam Makhachev before UFC 294.

By: Tim Bissell | 2 months ago

UFC 294 has a surprising back-up fighter in place

Later this month UFC 294 will go down at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. The main event is expected to be Islam Makhachev defending the UFC lightweight title against Charles Oliveira (the man he beat to claim the vacant belt in in 2022).

However, just in case something funky goes on, and either man is ruled out of this UFC 294 championship match-up, the promotion has a back-up plan in place.

According to MMA Fighting Mateusz Gamrot is on deck to fill in should Oliveira or Makhachev be unable to make it to the Octagon.

Should he get the fight at UFC 294, this would be a quick turnaround for Gamrot. He featured at the UFC APEX two weeks ago in a main event against Rafael Fiziev. He got his hand raised in that bout after Fiziev went down with a knee injury in the second round.

Islam Makhachev defends his belt at UFC 294 next. MMA: UFC 280-Oliveira vs Makhachev Oct 22, 2022; Abu Dhabi, UAE; Islam Makhachev (blue gloves) celebrates with the title belt after defeating Charles Oliveira (red gloves) during UFC 280 at Etihad Arena. Abu Dhabi UAE, EDITORIAL USE ONLY PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xCraigxKidwellx 20221022_jla_ooo_491
Islam Makhachev after beating Charles Oliveira at UFC 280. IMAGO/USA TODAY/Craig Kidwell

In case you’ve forgotten, here’s how Stephie Haynes summed up the end of that fight during her live play-by-play.

“Right lands for Gamrot. Front kick by Fiziev is caught by Gamrot and turned into a takedown. Gamrot now has his back as Fiziev works his way back up. Gamrot super heavy on Fiziev as he finally regains his footing. Gamrot with knees in the clinch. Fiziev spins out and throws a big right kick to the body and collapses as his left knee gave out. Gamrot will win by injury TKO.”

Stephie Haynes

Mateusz Gamrot is jumping the line at 155 lbs

Mateusz Gamrot gets the call for UFC 294 despite being ranked sixth in the UFC’s lightweight division. He’s ranked below Michael Chandler, Beneil Dariush, Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje.

Chandler seems to be waiting for a fight with Conor McGregor (which some have called delusional). Dariush has a win over Gamrot and is coming off a TKO loss to Oliveira in June. Gaethje and Poirier fought each other in July, with Gaethje scoring a highlight reel head kick KO on Poirier.

Gamrot has fought eight times in the UFC since jumping over from KSW in 2021. He lost his debut fight against Guram Kutateladze, but has won each fight since then (other than the bout versus Dariush).

His Octagon wins have come via close decisions over Jalin Turner and Arman Tsarukyan and stoppages versus Carlos Diego Ferreira, Jeremy Stephens and Scott Holtzman.

In KSW Gamrot held the lightweight and featherweight titles and was undefeated in 13 appearances.

UFC 294 is expected to take place on October 21 in Abu Dhabi. In addition to the lightweight title fight, Paulo Costa vs. Khamzat Chimaev and Magomed Ankalaev vs. Johnny Walker are also on tap.

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About the author
Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

Tim is also BE's lead (only) sumo reporter. He blogs about that sport here and on his own substack, Sumo Stomp!

Email me at tim@bloodyelbow.com. Nice messages will get a response.

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