Adam Catterall offers his insights and predictions ahead of a stacked UFC 294 card in Abu Dhabi, with Islam Makhachev engaging in a rematch with Alexander Volkanovski for the lightweight strap and Khamzhat Chimaev facing off with Kamaru Usman.
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Having first met at UFC 284 in Perth, Australia in February, Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski will once again battle it out for the lightweight title at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
Dagestani fighter Makhachev prevailed by Decision in a contentious, closely-contested first bout which many viewers felt Australian Volkanovski did enough to win.
The latest meeting between the pair will take place amidst a markedly different context, with UFC featherweight champion Volkanovski drafted in at just 10 days notice to take on Makhachev in the main event after Charles Oliveria was forced to pull out due to an in injury in his final sparring session.
Makhachev v Volkanovski 2 is not the only bout scheduled for UFC 294 to feature a big-name fighter taking on a challenge at 10 days notice, with former UFC welterweight king Kamaru Usman called in to face Khamzhat Chimaev in place of the injured Paulo Costa.
With 12 consecutive wins in the UFC, wowing fans with his dominant style, Chimaev is regarded as one of the rising stars of the UFC, with the winner of his contest with Usman likely to put themselves firmly in contention for a middleweight title shot against Sean Strickland.
Other bouts of interest at UFC 294 include an intriguing light heavyweight showdown between Russia's Magomed Ankalaev and Brazil's Johnny Walker, whilst British duo Muhammad Mokaev and Nathaniel Wood take on Tim Elliott and Muhammad Naimov respectively.