Tonight, we received some unfortunate breaking news. OverDogs Podcast was the first to report and the report has since been confirmed that former UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira (34-9) is out of his upcoming rematch against current lightweight champion Islam Makhachev (24-1) at UFC 294.
Per the report that came out this evening, the current plan is for UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski (26-2) to step in on short notice and rematch Makhachev. The two headlined UFC 284 with Makhachev winning a very close decision. However, the fight ended with Volkanovski dominating the fifth and final round.
Of course, nothing is official at this point. Just in the past few days, there were rumors swirling that Volkanovski would be headlining the first PPV of 2024 against top contender Ilia Topuria. However, it appears that the promotion is willing to scrap that fight for now in favor of this rematch between the two champions.
UFC 294 Shakeup
At this time, there’s no word on the seriousness of Oliveira’s injury. All we know is that it’s confirmed that he will not be fighting Islam Makhachev in less than two weeks. On the timeline, I’m shocked that Volkanovski is willing to step in there on less than two weeks’ notice to face the lightweight champion.
Volkanovski truly believes that he can beat Islam Makhachev and he proved back in February that he can hang with him and really touch him up. However, I would think that for a rematch, he would love to fight him having a full training camp. If the fight doesn’t end up coming together, my guess is that’s why.
However, Volkanovski is not one to back down from a challenge. The featherweight champion has jumped at every opportunity that the UFC has given him and with that in mind, the other half of me is not shocked at this development. With the fight less than two weeks away, this is certainly something to watch over the next day or so as we await official word on the replacement for Makhachev.