UFC 294 has gone through a major change
UFC 294 went through a major change this past Tuesday. Following a report from the Overdogs podcast, UFC CEO Dana White confirmed that its original headliner ― Islam Makhachev vs. Charles Oliveira II ― was off. The reason? Oliveira suffered an injury in his final sparring session.
“Round five of sparring last night, before [Charles Oliveira] was supposed to jump on a plane today, splits his eyebrow wide open,” said White during the post-fight press conference (video provided by MMA Fighting). “Had it stitched up last night. Obviously, can’t fly out there with that. It would be one thing, too, if we — they didn’t call us. We’d have had him go to a plastic surgeon that would have sewed it from the inside out and get that thing done the right way.
“These guys never call us like they should when something happens,” continued White. “They call us after they get it stitched up. But, on the flip side, too, I can see him not wanting to risk it. Getting a shot like this and then, you know.”
Oliveira earned his second championship opportunity against Makhachev with a first-round finish of Beneil Dariush at UFC 289 this past June. That now has to wait, as ‘Do Bronx‘ needs time to recover from his injury.
Charles Oliveira out of UFC 294 due to a gruesome cut
Shortly after Dana White confirmed his withdrawal from UFC 294, Charles Oliveira posted a video of himself discussing the injury. As the former UFC lightweight champion goes through what happened, you can see two photos of the gruesome cut sat atop his right eye.
Warning: Photos below are graphic. Please proceed with caution.
“Some of you already know that I’m out of the upcoming UFC Abu Dhabi card,” said Oliveira (translation via Guilherme Cruz of MMA Fighting). “In my final training in Brazil before traveling, I clashed heads in training and suffered a deep cut that needed eight or nine stitches, something like that, I don’t know for sure. It’s a cut too deep to be able to fight, to recover in such a short time and be able to put on a great fight.
“Everybody knows about the importance of this fight,” continued Oliveira. “It’s not just a fight, it’s a title fight, so there were great things involved. We didn’t want to go there unprepared. I know many people will judge, many people will talk, but it’s an important fight for us and we couldn’t be there at our 80 percent, we had to be 120 percent ready for it.”
At this time, there is no word on whether Oliveira gets the next fight against Islam Makhachev after his newly scheduled defense.
New UFC 294 headliner already announced
After it was reported that Islam Makhachev vs. Charles Oliveira II was off, UFC CEO Dana White also confirmed that the promotion had already saved its headliner. Stepping in for Oliveira on short notice is Alexander Volkanovski, the current UFC featherweight champion who turned in a ‘Fight of the Year‘ candidate with Makhachev at UFC 284 in February.
Recently, the ‘Great‘ successfully defended his championship against Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290 in July. After finishing ‘El Pantera,‘ Volkanovski shifted his focus to other challenges, which included a rematch with Makhachev.
“We all know I want that lightweight belt,” said Volkanovski at his UFC 290 post-fight press conference. “We all know I want that rematch. I want that Islam fight. I think, not only for me to get that belt, for me to get that win back, but I think it is a massive fight for the UFC as well. I think it’s a fight everyone wants to see. It was literally that type of fight. It was that close. It was a cracking fight. Everyone enjoyed it.
“It was very, very high-level,” continued Volkanovski. “It was No. 1 and No. 2 [on the pound-for-pound list] going at it, and we showed out. It really was that. He lived up to the hype. I lived up to the hype. That fight lived up to the hype. We just need to see five to ten.”
Volkanovski got his wish, and we could see five to ten in a few days‘ time. UFC 294 is set for Sat., Oct. 21, live from the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.
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