In the fast-paced world of mixed martial arts, few events can compare to the anticipation and excitement surrounding UFC 294. This highly anticipated card was already set to be one of the biggest of the year, but two significant, late changes have only served to further stoke the fires of fan enthusiasm. In the main event, the reigning lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev, is set to defend his title against the fearsome featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, in what promises to be a rematch for the ages. This late development comes as Volkanovski steps in for the injured Charles Oliveira, shifting the narrative of the contest entirely.
Makhachev vs. Volkanovski: An Unforeseen Showdown
What was initially planned to be a rematch of the highly-anticipated battle between Makhachev and Charles Oliveira took an unexpected turn when Oliveira suffered a severe cut, forcing him out of the fight. Their clash was set to be a follow-up to Makhachev’s previous triumph over Oliveira, where he submitted the Brazilian fighter and clinched the vacant lightweight belt. Fight fans were eagerly awaiting the rematch, which was scheduled to take place at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi this weekend. However, fate had other plans, and now Makhachev finds himself pitted against Volkanovski, creating a tantalizing rematch that nobody saw coming.
This unforeseen matchup has stirred up a whirlwind of speculation in the MMA world. Many questions hang in the balance, such as whether Makhachev can replicate his victory over Volkanovski and solidify his status as the lightweight champion, or will the featherweight kingpin seize the moment to dethrone the seemingly invincible lightweight champion?
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Chimaev vs. Usman: Another Curveball
The excitement doesn’t end with the main event. The co-main event features the meteoric rise of Khamzat Chimaev, who is set to square off against the former welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman. This fight has its own set of surprises, as Usman has decided to make his middleweight debut, replacing the injured Paulo Costa, who had to undergo multiple surgeries due to an injured elbow. This unexpected shift to a higher weight class adds an extra layer of intrigue to an already captivating matchup.
UFC 294: Date and How to Watch
For fans eager to witness the excitement of UFC 294, mark your calendars for Saturday, October 21, at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. The preliminary fights are scheduled to kick off at 3 pm BST (7 am PT, 9 am CT, 10 am ET), followed by the main card at 7 pm BST (11 am PT, 1 pm CT, 2 pm ET).
If you’re in the UK, you can catch all the action on TNT Sports, with the convenience of streaming via the broadcaster’s app and website. In the United States, the fights will be streamed live on ESPN+, as well as the UFC’s Fight Pass. For international viewers, a VPN may be required to unblock your streaming app, ensuring uninterrupted access to the thrilling showdown. Always remember to adhere to local regulations and the terms of your chosen service provider when using a VPN.
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The Odds and Full Fight Card
Here’s a quick look at the odds for the main events:
Makhachev (4/9) vs. Volkanovski (9/5)
Chimaev (2/5) vs. Usman (2/1)
The complete fight card, though subject to change, is packed with an array of compelling matchups. Here’s a glimpse of what fans can expect:
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Islam Makhachev (C) vs. Alexander Volkanovski 2 (lightweight title)
Khamzat Chimaev vs. Kamaru Usman (middleweight)
Magomed Ankalaev vs. Johnny Walker (light-heavyweight)
Ikram Aliskerov vs. Warlley Alves (middleweight)
Said Nurmagomedov vs. Muin Gafurov (bantamweight)
Tim Elliot vs. Muhammad Mokaev (flyweight)
Nathaniel Wood vs. Muhammad Naimov (featherweight)
Mohammad Yahya vs. Trevor Peek (lightweight)
Javid Basharat vs. Victor Henry (bantamweight)
Abu Azaitar vs. Sedriques Dumas (middleweight)
Mike Breeden vs. Anshul Jubli (lightweight)
Viktoriia Dudakova vs. Jinh Yu Frey (women’s strawweight)
Shara Magomedov vs. Bruno Silva (middleweight)
The ever-evolving landscape of the UFC delivers yet another unpredictable event with UFC 294. As the fighters prepare to step into the octagon, fans around the world are left to wonder which narrative will emerge. Will Makhachev continue his reign as a dominant champion, or will Volkanovski make history with an unprecedented leap up in weight class? Can Chimaev capitalize on this unexpected opportunity and establish himself as the next big thing in the UFC, or will the experienced Usman prove too much for him in this pivotal middleweight debut?
The answers to these questions and more await at UFC 294, ensuring that this fight card remains a must-see event for MMA enthusiasts. While the anticipation builds, fight fans can only speculate on the outcomes, but one thing is certain – this event will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on the world of mixed martial arts.