It’s official, lightweight champion Islam Makhachev is heading into a rematch against the man he seized the title from, Charles Oliveira in the main event of UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi on October 21st.
There had been talk of this being the fight to make, but Makhachev had thrown in a few curveballs along the way after expressing his disinterest in the fight and talking up other alternatives such as facing the winner of UFC 291’s BMF title fight between Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje, or even as recently as yesterday calling out welterweight champion Leon Edwards.
In the end it’s the rematch that wins out though, and comes after the 31-year-old Makhachev convincingly beat Oliveira in their original fight at the same venue in Abu Dhabi last October, flooring him with a punch in the 2nd round before sinking in an arm-triangle choke finish.
Makhachev then further bolstered his unbeaten record to 12-0 by defending his title against featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski by unanimous decision back in February.
Meanwhile, the 33-year-old Oliveira’s loss to Makhachev snapped his own 11-fight winning streak, but he’s since pushed back to the front of the queue for title contention by TKO’ing Beneil Dariush in the 1st round at UFC 289 last month. The victory extended Oliveira’s UFC record for the most finishes in the history of the promotion to 20, one of several records he currently holds.