The future of the UFC Lightweight championship has finally been decided. After much deliberation and potential match making the UFC finally announced today that current champion Islam Makhachev will be rematching former champion Charles Oliveira this October at UFC 294.
First fights official for #UFC294 and they are HUGE!
🎟️ Tickets on sale this week!
— UFC (@ufc) July 20, 2023
The fight will come almost a year to the day after the first contest between the two. Makhachev would beat Oliveira in a fairly dominant performance at UFC 280 where he would pick up the submission win in the second round. This would allow him to be crowned Lightweight champion after the title had been vacated by Oliveira during a previous defence against Justin Gaethje where he had narrowly failed to make weight.
Since winning the belt Makhachev has defended his title once, against Featherweight champ and pound for pound number one Alexander Volkanovski. Makhachev would do enough in the eyes of the judges to pick up the unanimous decision win over Volkanovski in the Featherweight champion’s home turf of Australia. This time the Dagestani will be fighting on home soil as he takes on Oliveira once again in Abu Dhabi, a city where he enjoys a huge amount of support. The match will take place in not only the same city but the exact same arena where Makhachev defeated Oliveira in back in 2022. He will be hoping to replicate the same this October.
Oliveira will be hoping to regain the title which he technically never lost. His reign has been fondly remembered by fans when he won the belt against Michael Chandler defended against Dustin Poirier and then took part in a title fight against Justin Gaethje where he was unable to actually win or retain the belt due to missing weight.
Throughout these three fights, Oliveira finished each man inside the third round. These fights were always intense back-and-forth affairs with Oliveira often coming back from the brink of defeat to snatch a victory. Many fans consider his time as champion to be among the most entertaining reigns in UFC history. After unceremoniously being defeated by Makhachev, Oliveira was forced to prove his worth and that he was still capable of fighting in the title picture.
The poor performance against Makhachev was shown to be a once off rather than the start of a decline as he totally obliterated fellow contender Beneil Dariush in a manner that no one had ever done before. This ended an eight win streak that Dariush had been enjoying that was almost certainly about to result in a title shot. Oliveira will certainly be looking for revenge this October at UFC 294.