UFC 297 had potential with inclusion of Islam Makhachev vs. Charles Oliveira 2
The UFC is reportedly preparing to return to Canada with a pay-per-view event in January. Several fights were already announced, but the event had yet to add the standard pair of championship fights that we come to expect from these line-ups. That was until Friday when Diego Ribas of AG Fight reported that one of them would include Mayra Bueno Silva vs. Raquel Pennington to crown a new bantamweight champion after Amanda Nunes‘ retirement.
The other one? According to Ariel Helwani, that was Islam Makhachev vs. Charles Oliveira II, the highly anticipated rematch we missed out on this past October. The rematch was originally scheduled for UFC 294, but ‘Do Bronx‘ was forced to withdraw after suffering a gruesome gash during his final sparring session in Brazil. Makhachev accepted a short-notice fight against fellow UFC champion Alexander Volkanovski, who he ultimately defeated via first-round finish. And with that, all eyes were on Makhachev vs. Oliveira II again.
But is it actually happening at UFC 297? Not according to what their respective teams are saying.
Makhachev and Oliveira pump breaks on UFC 297
For his part, Charles Oliveira, the former UFC lightweight champ could neither confirm nor deny the rumored bout.
“We just heard this from in the locker room, you know?,” Oliveira said via interpreter at the UFC Sao Paulo post-fight show this Saturday. “People started asking us on the messages, but this is the first time we hear about it. But that’s the timeline, January maybe. So who knows?”
Oliveira’s ambivalent, wait-and-see was a big contrast from Islam Makhachev’s response via his manager Ali Abdelaziz’ twitter (sorry X.com) account.
Dana White responded via ESPN reporter Brett Okamoto and also denied that UFC 297 would see the lightweight title fight.
What other title fight should be added to UFC 297?
The other men’s title fight that fans have been anticipating for this card would involve featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski defending his belt against red-hot contender Ilia Topuria. Unfortunately, that fight likely got nixed when Volkanovski stepped up on extremely short notice to rematch Makhachev for the lightweight title at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi.
Volkanovski’s chances to fight are now at the mercy of medical professionals who will have to clear him to fight so soon after being knocked out.
One other possibility is an interim title fight between the undefeated Topuria and former featherweight champ Max Holloway. The Hawaiian is riding a two-fight winning streak including a 3rd round KO win over The Korean Zombie Chan Sung-Jung in August on a Singapore fight night card.
What other options does the promotion have to fill out the 297 card?
Thank you for reading this article. Please consider subscribing to the Bloody Elbow Substack to enjoy our daily premium content. Your paid subscriptions are helping build our new site and keeping hope alive that our staff will remain intact. If you haven’t already, please pledge with a paid subscription today.
Join the new Bloody Elbow
Our Substack is where we feature the work of writers like Zach Arnold, John Nash and Connor Reubusch. We’re fighting for the sport, the fighters and the fans. Please help us by subscribing today.
About the author