Watch UFC 294 Countdown video for a deep dive into the UFC’s return to Abu Dhabi on Saturday. The event is headlined by a lightweight title rematch between champ Islam Makhachev and featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski.
Volkanovski, the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings, steps up on 11 days’ notice to rematch Makhachev, who is No. 2 on the pound-for-pound list.
Makhachev originally was set to face ex-champ Charles Oliveira on Saturday at Etihad Arena, but a deep cut to Oliveira ruled him out of the fight, prompting the UFC to scramble for a replacement. Volkanovski, who most recently unified the featherweight title at UFC 290, answered the call to take the rematch he’d coveted since losing a unanimous decision to Makhachev in their first meeting at UFC 284 in February.
The co-main event of Saturday’s fight card features another short-notice booking, this one in the middleweight division. Former welterweight champ Kamaru Usman steps up on short notice to make his 185-pound debut alongside Khamzat Chimaev, who was set to face Paulo Costa before the Brazilian withdrew due to a severe staph infection.
Check out the full UFC 294 Countdown video above.