The main event of UFC 294 will feature a clash between two champions, one from each weight class. In a rare champion versus. champion match, Islam Makhachev, the lightweight champion, will take on Alexander Volkanovski, the featherweight champion.
Both boxers are riding tremendous win streaks and have established themselves as top-tier rivals in their weight classes. Who will emerge victorious from this titanic struggle? Find out in Abu Dhabi, at Etihad Arena, on October 21, 2023.
With only a few days to go, UFC 294 now has a new main event: featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski will fight lightweight champion Islam Makhachev. The main event, a rematch between Makhachev and Charles Oliveira, was scrapped since Oliveira was injured in some way and couldn't compete.
Being in Abu Dhabi for The Ultimate Fighter: Team Makhachev vs. Team Oliveira, Volkanovski accepted the fight on short notice and challenged Makhachev for the title.
Volkanovski has defeated former featherweight king Max Holloway twice, with impressive results in both bouts. He won the first by unanimous decision and the second by a contentious split decision. The Australian boxer is 23-1 with 11 knockout wins and 3 submission victories in his career. He's well-known for his constant pressure, hitting variety, and wrestling expertise.
Makhachev has won his last 10 fights, with seven coming via submission and one via knockout. The Russian boxer is 21-1, with his lone defeat coming at the hands of Adriano Martins via knockout in 2015. One of the best grapplers in the world, he has a devastating assortment of chokes and a formidable top game.
The main event of UFC 294 is a fascinating clash of styles, as both fighters are well-rounded and capable of winning in different ways. However, their strengths and weaknesses are also evident and could play a decisive role in the outcome of the fight.
Volkanovski has the advantage in striking, as he is more diverse and accurate with his punches, kicks, elbows, and knees. He also has more power and speed than Makhachev, who tends to rely on his jab and left cross as his main weapons on the feet. Volkanovski can also mix up his attacks with takedowns and clinch work, as he has a strong wrestling background and a high takedown accuracy.
Volkanovski shares his thoughts on facing Makhachev again for the lightweight title on short notice.
Makhachev has the edge in grappling, as he is one of the best wrestlers and submission artists in the UFC. He has masterful control of his opponents on the ground, as he transitions smoothly between positions and applies constant pressure. He also has a deadly arsenal of chokes, such as the rear-naked choke, the arm-triangle choke, and the D’Arce choke, which he can finish from various angles.
Both competitors have a lot riding on the main event of UFC 294: the chance to go down in the books as legends of the sport. With a victory over Makhachev, Volkanovski would join Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier, Amanda Nunes, and Henry Cejudo as the only other fighters in UFC history to simultaneously hold two belts.
Likewise, it would end any debate about his title status and cement his place as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
If Makhachev defeats Volkanovski, he will extend his victory run to 11, matching Khabib Nurmagomedov for the longest active streak in the UFC. That would cement his place as one of the sport's all-time great lightweights and cement his case as Nurmagomedov's rightful heir and protege. The fight with Oliveira would be a potential unification bout for the lightweight title.
The main event of UFC 294 is not just a fight for pride in one's career, but also a fight for the spectators. Both competitors have exciting and interesting fighting styles, and their matchup should be thrilling to watch. This battle will be a spectacle whether it stays on the feet or goes to the ground, whether it ends in a knockout or submission or goes to the judges' scorecards, whether it lasts five rounds or five minutes.
Don’t miss UFC 294: Makhachev vs. Volkanovski 2 for the UFC Lightweight Title, live from Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, October 21, 2023.