UFC 294 is set for the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi on October 21st. The event will be headlined by a rematch with Islam Makhachev putting his lightweight title on the line against Charles Oliveira.

The two men first met at UFC 280 last year. Makhachev submitted Oliveira in the second round to win the lightweight title in Abu Dhabi, at the same venue which will host the rematch.

Makhachev (24-1) would go on to beat Alex Volkanovski by decision at UFC 284 in Perth to defend the belt. He is the protege of Khabib Nurmagomedov who held the lightweight title himself and retired undefeated.

At UFC 289 last month Oliveira stopped Beneil Dariush in the opening round. The Brazilian holds the promotion’s record for most finishes, most submission and most bonuses.


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Middleweight debut

The card will also feature the middleweight debut of Khamzat Chimaev (12-0). Having missed weight by nearly 10lbs at UFC 280 he has moved up a division and will be taking on Paulo Costa (14-2).

The third fight to be confirmed today is also in the middleweight division. Nassourdine Imavov (12-4-0-1) has been matched with Ikram Aliskerov (14-1).

Imavov and Costa had been booked to fight one another at UFC 291 next week. That fight appears to have been cancelled with both men facing different opponents in October instead.

Officially confirmed

The first to be officially confirmed for this card was a flyweight fight pitting Tim Elliott against Muhammad Mokaev. The latter was born in Dagestan but represents England having lived in the country since a young age.

He is no stranger to competing in the Middle East, this will be his fourth fight in the region. Mokaev was also on the UFC 280 card in Abu Dhabi last year and scored a submission win over Malcolm Gordon that night.

In his most recent fight the Englishman scored a submission win over Jafel Filho at UFC 286. Mokaev is currently ranked #11 and will be looking to crack the top ten with another win in Abu Dhabi.

In 2016 Elliot challenged for the UFC flyweight title. He dropped a decision to Johnson that night but has been on the UFC roster ever since and is coming off back to back decision wins.


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Big fights

Abu Dhabi first hosted a UFC card in 2010. But the country really established itself as a major destination for the promotion during the pandemic with multiple events taking place there in 2019 and 2020.

Among the fight cards to have been held at the Etihad Arena was UFC 257 in 2021. That was headlined by a featherweight rematch between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier and reportedly generated over 1.5 million pay per view sales.

The same venue also hosted Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement fight. He beat Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in an event that didn’t do quite as well at the box office but will go down in history none the less.

UFC 294, Abu Dhabi, October 21st
Islam Makhachev vs. Charles Oliveira (For lightweight title)
Khamzat Chimaev vs. Paulo Costa (Middleweight)
Nassourdine Imavov vs. Nassourdine Imavov (Middleweight)
Tim Elliott vs. Muhammad Mokaev (Flyweight)