UFC 294 Preview

Published on 15 October 2023 at 16:30

The UFC returns to Abu Dhabi with a few changes added to the main event and co-main event on 21st October. Alexander Volkanovski has replaced Charles Oliveira to headline the PPV in a rematch against Islam Makhachev for the UFC Lightweight Championship; whilst Kamaru Usman replaces Paulo Costa to fight the undefeated Khamzat Chimaev. With plenty of back-and-forth action to look forward to, it's time to check out the fights that will occur at UFC 294.


Preliminary Card

Shara Magomdeov vs Bruno Silva - Shara is currently undefeated with 11 wins as he makes his UFC debut. With 10 wins by KO/TKO, he will look to add another one to his career and make an impressive start into the company.

Silva looks to bounce back from his first round Submission loss at UFC Jacksonville. With 23 wins in his MMA career, 20 of those have come by KO/TKO as two knockouts artists collide to start off the event.


Viktoriia Dudakova vs Jinh Yu Frey - Dudakova at 24 years old is undefeated with seven wins in her career. Her most recent fight ended in just 34 seconds by TKO (injury) as she looks to make a bigger statement in the Strawweight division.

Jinh Yu Frey has not been very lucky after losing her last three fights. A win at UFC 294 will not only redeem her UFC career, but will make Jinh become the first fighter to defeat Dudakova in the first female bout of the event.


Nathaniel Wood vs Muhammad Naimov - Wood is currently on a three-fight winning streak after his most recent victory came in his hometown, London. 'The Prospect' will want a victory in Abu Dhabi to get closer to the Featherweight rankings.

Naimov made a very impressive debut at UFC Vegas 74 after getting a second round TKO victory. He is one of very few Tajikistan fighters in the UFC and will try to get his second victory in the organisation.


Mike Breeden vs Anshul Jubli - Breeden is still searching for his first UFC win after losing his first three fights in the MMA organisation. Mike has 10 wins with eight of them coming by way of KO/TKO and may need a knockout victory to redeem himself at UFC 294.

Jubli is an undefeated Indian fighter who made a magnificent debut after winning by TKO in the second round at UFC Vegas 68. Anshul looks to continue his good run of form and make himself a bigger potential contender in the Lightweight division.


Abu Azaitar vs Sedriques Dumas - Azaitor has not fought since 2021 at UFC 260 when he lost by TKO late in round three. Abu has not been an active fighter with only two fights in the UFC and one win which came in 2018, he may become more active with a win in Abu Dhabi.

Dumas did not have a great start to his UFC debut after being finished for the first time in his career by Submission at UFC Fight Night 221. After achieving a redeeming Unanimous Decision victory at UFC Jacksonville, he will look to continue a winning streak to make a statement in the Middleweight division.


Javid Basharat vs Victor Henry - Javid is currently undefeated with 14 wins on his MMA record. Basharat has never got a finish in the UFC despite having six submission victories and five knockout wins in his career; as his three UFC fights have all ended by Unanimous Decision. That could change in Abu Dhabi on 21st October.

Victor has never been finished in his career. With three fights in the UFC he has two decision wins and one decision loss as he not only will try to snap Basharat's unbeaten record, but start a winning streak in the UFC Bantamweight division.


Mohammad Yahya vs Trevor Peek - Yahya makes his debut at UFC 294. He previously fought in Bellator, competing twice and achieving a first round TKO victory but a second round Submission loss. Mohammad is on a five-fight winning streak and looks to increase it to six on his debut.

Trevor had an unfortunate last fight after losing his unbeaten record with a Unanimous Decision loss at UFC Jacksonville. Every victory has ended by KO/TKO for Peek as he looks to keep his 100% finish rate in Abu Dhabi.


Tim Elliott vs Muhammad Mokaev - Tim is a former Flyweight title challenger who has had plenty of experience in the division. His last fight ended successfully with a Unanimous Decision win at UFC Vegas 74 as he currently stands as the #10 Flyweight contender.

Mokaev is undefeated with 10 wins on his MMA record. His most recent victory came at UFC 286 where he survived a brutal Knee Bar attempt before winning the fight by Submission. Muhammad will be wanting to rise up the Flyweight rankings and stay unbeaten at UFC 294.


Main Card

Said Nurmagomedov vs Muin Gafurov - Said came up short in his recent UFC fight after a Unanimous Decision loss at UFC Fight Night 221. With six victories in the UFC, Said will look to bounce back most recent fight to achieve seven victories and be a step closer to the Bantamweight rankings.

Gafurov did not have a good UFC debut after losing by Unanimous decision at UFC Vegas 74. Just like Said, Gafurov has never been finished in his career and with 17 finishes from his 18 wins in his MMA career, he looks to add another one in Abu Dhabi.


Ikram Aliskerov vs Warlley Alves - Aliskerov made a very impressive debut after knocking out Phil Hawes in the first round at UFC 288. Ikram has only lost once in his career which was against a recognisable fighter, Khamzat Chimaev, in 2019. Another first round finish at UFC 294 could earn him a spot in the Middleweight rankings.

Nassourdine Imavov was originally meant to be the opponent but after pulling out of the fight, The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3 winner, Warlley Alves, will replace him. Alves has not won a fight since the beginning of 2021, so a win would really boost his career.


Magomed Ankalaev vs Johnny Walker - Ankalaev's most recent fight was at UFC 282 where he competed for the vacant UFC Light Heavyweight title against Jan Blachowicz with the result ending in a Split Draw meaning no one became champion. As the #2 Light Heavyweight contender, Magomed will want to keep his position in the rankings to earn another shot for UFC Gold.

Walker has won his previous three fights to become the #7 Light Heavyweight contender, not forgetting he has 19 finishes out of 21 wins. Just like Ankalaev, a win in Abu Dhabi could earn him an opportunity to fight for the title against the winner of Alex Pereira vs Jiri Prochazka at UFC 295.


Co-Main Event: Khamzat Chimaev vs Kamaru Usman - Khamzat is undefeated with 12 wins, six by KO/TKO and five by Submission, and has not fought since at UFC 279 where he scored a Submission victory against Kevin Holland. Chimaev is no stranger in the UFC Middleweight division as he earned a knockout victory in just 17 seconds at UFC Vegas 11.

Kamaru Usman has stepped up on 11 days notice to fight 'Borz' after Paulo Costa was pulled out of the fight due to injury. The former UFC Welterweight champion has no had very good luck in his last two fights as he lost the Welterweight title against Leon Edwards at UFC 278 and then failed to recapture at UFC 286.

Dana White has revealed that the winner of this fight will most likely face off against the newly crowned UFC Middleweight champion, Sean Strickland, meaning that the stakes have risen for these two competitors.


Main Event: Islam Makhachev (c) vs Alexander Volkanovski - The UFC Lightweight champion looks to increase his winning streak to 13 as he is set to face with Volkanovski in a rematch. Islam's last fight was against 'The Great' as the two squared off in Australia at UFC 284 in a close fight, Makhachev won by Unanimous Decision. At UFC 294, the King of the Lightweights will aim to get the same result against the Australian fighter but possibly with a different ending.

The UFC Featherweight champion made a brave decision to replace Charles Oliveira and fight on short notice. Despite losing the opportunity to become a simultaneous two-divisional champion, Alex has a second opportunity to capture the Lightweight belt. Volkanovski did redeem his loss at UFC 290 as he defeated former Interim UFC Featherweight champion Yair Rodriguez to successfully defend his Undisputed Featherweight belt for the fifth time. 

Will it be Revenge or Repeat for these two fighters as Makhachev wants to beat Alex to gradually become the greatest UFC Lightweight champion in history and rise up the pound-for-pound rankings. Volkanovski will want to avenge his only loss in the UFC and become the fifth fighter to hold two belts simultaneously in the MMA organisation.


With a stacked fight card for Abu Dhabi, who do you think will be victorious at UFC 294? What are your predictions?



Charlie Oxtoby

Instagram - charlie_oxtoby

MMA Instagram - undisputed._.mma

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