Oliveira, Costa Out of UFC 294, Volkanovski, Usman Step In

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While it is not uncommon for a UFC fight card to see some bouts fallout of the marque, it is rare for both the main event and co-main event to fall through. In the case of UFC 294, it hit that unique mark and landed on its feet somehow.

Major Swaps for UFC 294

The main event of Islam Makhachev defending his lightweight title against Charles Oliveira in a rematch of their UFC 280 bout was highly anticipated. For now, though, the combat sports gods have decided it needed to wait. After being rumored for hours, UFC CEO Dana White could confirm it at his Dana White Contender Series media scrum.

“Round five of sparring before he (Oliveira) was supposed to jump on a plane, splits his eyebrow wide open. Had it stitched up and obviously you can’t fly out there with that.”

The replacement for fan favorite Oliveira was another fan favorite and a different rematch for Makhachev in the form of Alexander Volkanovski. The current UFC featherweight champion is coming off another impressive victory at UFC 290 over Yair Rodriguez. While he did get his momentum back, Volkanovski is also coming off hand surgery that he underwent in July on his elbow.

At the time Volkanovski was worried about his recovery timetable to be fit enough for UFC 294 so he had set his eyes on a January bout. Fortune favors the bold and the Australian as he gets his rematch and the reigning lightweight champion gets a chance to silence doubters from the first bout.

Paulo Costa Steps Out, Former Champion Usman Steps In

Not to be forgotten in the main event chaos, the co-main event had its own curveball. Paulo Costa went on The MMA Hour on Monday and cleared up rumors about his fight status at the time. Fast forward 72 hours, Costa was removed from the card and a more than suitable replacement in the form of former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman stepping in.

Usman is coming off back-to-back losses for the first time in his MMA career with both being to Leon Edwards. With the former champion at the back of the line at welterweight, the move up to welterweight was already a possibility but now the right opportunity is also present.

An added bonus for the bout was announced by Dana White to Yahoo’s Kevin Iole when he shared that the UFC CEO said the winner of the bout would be the number one contender for Sean Strickland’s middleweight title.

With UFC 294 nine days away, more changes could happen but for now, fight fans can enjoy the thought of two legendary bouts on a loaded card.

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