Charles Oliveira's last minute pull out put quite some pressure on matchmakers as it's a tough job to find an ideal opponent, especially when the match is just 10 days away. No one can do it better than the UFC; they seem to be the best at last-minute replacements.
The UFC 294 event has only got better.
Islam Makhachev reacts to Alexander Volkanovski replacing Charles Oliveira: "I am happy, because after the last fight we had many questions, but all answers are going to be in Abu Dhabi." pic.twitter.com/ooNMYDqXJO — Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) October 11, 2023
The lightweight champion Islam Makhachev will fight Alexander Volkanovski for the rematch. Very interestingly, Islam recently revealed that Justin Gaethje was contacted first, but he couldn't confirm his arrival as he was far off the weight limit.
Volkanovski is ready for the challenge and looks forward to getting vengeance on 21st October.
Islam Makhachev on opponent replacement
In a recent interview with TSN, Islam Makhachev shared his thoughts on finding out about Charles Oliveira pulling out and explained how he is ready to fight anyone.
"My manager Ali [Abdelaziz] sent me a message 'your opponent pulled out' and I just gave him a message back 'fight someone, it doesn't matter who it's going to be' just that I want to fight in Abu Dhabi, Because I'm already close to the weight and the last three months training so hard and I want to beat someone,".
Makhachev said, as quoted by mmafighting.com. "It's hard to pick someone 10 days [before the fight], I heard they called [Justin] Gaethje but Gaethje said 'I cannot make weight because [it's 10 days' notice].' We don't have many opinions.
Makhachev on finding out who his opponent is: "Of course I don't want to fight with someone out of the rankings. But I said find someone because I'm the best in the world. When the UFC calls me and gives me someone, I never say yes, no or choose someone.
I just sign the contract and that's it. When they said it's going to be Volkanovski, it's not a big surprise for me because this guy take fights on 10 days' short notice, he will come, he don't put his belt [on the line], he just make money. This is it".