Yesterday UFC 294 got a new headliner and today a replacement opponent has been drafted in for the co-main event. Paulo Costa has withdrawn with a staph infection and been replaced by Kamara Usman.
Usman (20-3) is a former welterweight champion and will be making his middleweight debut on very short notice. The Nigerian is coming off back to back losses to Leon Edwards in title fights.
Chimaev (12-0) was forced to move up to middleweight after coming in nearly 10lbs over the welterweight limit at UFC 280. He is undefeated and recently switched allegiance from Sweden to UAE.
🚨 Breaking News 🚨
Paulo Costa is officially out of #UFC294.
Kamaru Usman will step in to face Khamzat Chimaev in the co-main event.
Full Story ➡️: https://t.co/mslpERGAws
— UFC News (@UFCNews) October 11, 2023
Meanwhile Charles Oliveira will no longer be fighting at UFC 294. In his place steps Alex Volkanovski who will rematch Islam Makhachev in the main even of next week’s card in Abu Dhabi.
No reason was given for Oliveira’s late withdrawal. Fortunately the UFC had a ready made replacement in the wings to headline the event at the Etihad Arena.
Volkanovski (26-2) is the reigning featherweight champion. He dropped a decision to Makhachev in a lightweight title fight at UFC 284 earlier this year which was his first and only loss in the octagon.
Makhachev is the protege of Khabib Nurmagomedov who held the lightweight title himself and retired undefeated. He won the lightweight title by beating Oliveira at UFC 280 in Abi Dhabi.
THIS IS NOT A DRILL 😱
— UFC (@ufc) October 11, 2023
Mohammad Yahya has signed with the UFC and will debut in Abu Dhabi next month. The reigning UAE Warriors lightweight champion will become the first fighter from the country to compete inside the octagon.
Yahya has been booked to face Trevor Peek at UFC 294. The event is set for the Etihad Arena on October 21st and the Emirati should get good support from the fans in Abu Dhabi.
Meanwhile Said Nurmagomedov is heading to the city where his namesake finished his career. The Russian bantamweight will be competing at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi on October 21st.
Khabib Nurmagomedov’s final two fights both took place in Abu Dhabi. He submitted Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje before walking away from the sport with a perfect professional record.
Nurmagomedov has been matched with Muin Gafurov at UFC 294 . The ONE Championship veteran previously fought in Abu Dhabi at UAE Warriors 15 but was defeated on his UFC debut earlier this year.