The bustling city of Abu Dhabi buzzed with anticipation as fight fans flocked to the Etihad Arena, keen to witness the culmination of an intense rivalry. And UFC 294 didn’t disappoint.
It was a night that etched memories into the minds of many, defining the careers of champions and challengers alike. From the get-go, the electricity in the atmosphere was palpable, and even though some matches left the fans scratching their heads, when the spotlight turned to the main card, they were in for a rollercoaster of emotions.
In the most awaited face-off of the evening, Islam Makhachev defended his lightweight title, demonstrating impeccable finesse against featherweight titan Alexander Volkanovski. The story of their rivalry has been one filled with suspense and strategy. Their first bout in February was a chess match – a nail-biting clash that saw Makhachev edge out a win. But as the final bell tolled, it was evident that Volkanovski had analyzed, adapted, and was ready for a rematch.
However, fate had its twists. With Charles Oliveira bowing out due to an unfortunate eye injury, Volkanovski saw a window of opportunity. Stepping up on short notice, he was all set to rewrite history. The arena was rife with whispers – had Volkanovski found the chink in Makhachev’s armor?
Alas, it wasn’t to be. Volkanovski showed initial promise, foiling Makhachev’s takedown attempts. But the calm before the storm was short-lived. Makhachev, with his tactical prowess, kept his Australian adversary guessing with an array of kicks. And then, in a moment that had the crowd gasping in disbelief, he landed a devastating head kick. Volkanovski crumpled. Makhachev, seizing the moment, rained down a barrage of punches, sealing his victory. The referee’s intervention at the 3:06 mark was a mere formality.
Volkanovski, in his post-fight address, candidly mentioned his intention to return to featherweight. “My job at lightweight is done,” he remarked, signaling his intent to go back to his home turf.
The co-main event too had its share of drama. Former welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, was faced with the formidable Khamzat Chimaev. With Usman stepping in as a late replacement for Paulo Costa, the stakes were high. Chimaev, however, had other plans. In a stunning display, he dominated the first round, pinning Usman to the mat. Although Usman showed glimpses of his championship pedigree in the latter rounds, a potential hand injury seemed to impede Chimaev’s attack. Nevertheless, in the dying moments, Chimaev pulled off a decisive takedown, securing a majority decision victory and setting his sights on the middleweight crown.
UFC 294 also saw its share of unexpected turns. Magomed Ankalaev and Johnny Walker’s bout was declared a no contest due to an accidental foul. On the other hand, fighters like Said Nurmagomedov and Muhammad Mokaev showcased their submission artistry, forcing their opponents to tap out. But the event wasn’t just about submissions and knockouts. Boxers like Trevor Peek and Sedriques Dumas displayed their tactical brilliance, outpointing their adversaries in unanimous decisions.
UFC 294: Makhachev vs Volkanovski 2 Results
• Islam Makhachev defeated Alexander Volkanovski at 3:06 of Round 1.
• Khamzat Chimaev defeated Kamaru Usman with scores of 29-27, 29-27, 28-28.
• Ikram Aliskerov defeated Warlley Alves at 2:07 of Round 1.
• Said Nurmagomedov defeated Muin Gafurov at 1:13 of Round 1.
• Muhammad Mokaev defeated Tim Elliott at 3:03 of Round 3.
• Trevor Peek defeated Mohammad Yahya with unanimous scores.
• Sedriques Dumas defeated Abu Azaitar with unanimous scores.
• Mike Breeden defeated Anshul Jubli at 3:00 of Round 3.
• Muhammad Naimov defeated Nathaniel Wood with unanimous scores.
• Viktoriia Dudakova defeated Jinh Yu Frey with unanimous scores.
• Shara Magomedov defeated Bruno Silva with unanimous scores.