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Ever since he coughed up his title to Islam Makhachev last year, Charles Oliveira has been single-minded in his pursuit of a rematch and reclaiming that top spot. Unfortunately, the Brazilian will have to wait, as recent reports reveal that Oliveira has been forced to withdraw just 11 days prior to his UFC 294 main event match up versus Makhachev, which was scheduled to take place next weekend (Sat. Oct. 21, 2023) in Abu Dhabi (h/t Overdogs Podcast).
Oliveira suffered a cut over his eye during sparring (read full statement here).
This leaves the promotion in need of an opponent for one of its most dominant champions on very short notice. That’s not an easy sell — remember what happened to Bobby Green when he stopped up on to face Makhachev without a training camp? — but UFC believes it’s found a solution in Featherweight kingpin Alexander Volkanovski. Volkanovski is not yet signed, but he’s expected to replace Oliveira and step up to do battle with Makhachev once more.
While a last-second main event cancelation is less than ideal, this is about as good an outcome as one could hope for. The first battle between Makhachev and Volkanovski took place in February of this year, and it was both highly controversial and highly exciting. It was one of the most high-level and competitive fights of the year, so there’s definitely demand for a rematch. Makhachev has yet to fight again, whereas Volkanovski demolished Yair Rodriguez over summer for year another 145-pound title defense.
While the intrigue is definitely high, it remains a huge ask of Volkanovski. The Featherweight king isn’t likely going to get another shot at Lightweight gold if he comes up short, and he’s sacrificing a training camp and opportunity to bulk up to save the card against an absolutely world-class opponent. That’s extremely ballsy, and Volkanovski more than deserves whatever bonus pay comes with taking that gamble.
Anyone favor the Aussie to pull it off this time, even with little time to prepare?
Jake Collier’s transition from decent Middleweight prospect to underwhelming Heavyweight was a strange one.
❌ Fighter removed: Jake Collier— UFC Roster Tracker (@RosterTracker) October 9, 2023
Being good at cartwheels — two handed, one-handed, and even no-handed — is a great accessory skill for grappling of all kinds.
Judo is really easy, just land on your feet pic.twitter.com/QQ8WStAm24— T. P. Grant (@TP_Grant) October 10, 2023
A pair of recent fight bookings:
This entire thread of old school Josh Koscheck wrestling clips is worth reading, but if you haven’t the time, his double leg against Georges St. Pierre is certainly a highlight. “Kos” had an all-time great blast double!
But now we can get to a showing against a fellow member of “MMAs finest wrestlers and freaky as fuck athletes” club: GSP— Nak Muay Strickland (@DiamondElbows) October 9, 2023
Shouldn’t have to say much. They’re super athletic and really really good at wrestling pic.twitter.com/o8U7yob6I8
Russia press conferences continue to be the single greatest source of content for this column.
bro if small woman did that to me, id never show my face again pic.twitter.com/uo5Kw0gSNj— Dovy (@DovySimuMMA) October 8, 2023
Slips, rips, and KO clips
No poker face in sight, but I have empathy for his suffering.
Random street fighter tries to mess with trained athlete, but this time it’s Muay Thai! Ends about how one would expect.
“Street Fighter” enters a Muay Thai gym and challenges fighters who actually train pic.twitter.com/TvLeeh5DTY— (@sinoUFC) October 10, 2023
If a fighter is outrageously tall for the division, just blasting kicks at will is pretty solid strategy.
My money is still on the bear, personally.
Midnight Music: Hip-hop, 1997
Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.