UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev was scheduled to defend his title against No. 1 ranked Charles Oliveira in the main event at UFC 294.
However, Oliveira has been forced to withdraw from the event due to an injury that he sustained during training. The Brazilian suffered lacerations to his eyebrow, requiring stitches.
Oliveira will now be replaced by Alexander Volkanovski.
The five-round title bout will take place on Saturday, October 21, at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
For the latest details and tips on the new match up, head over to our Islam Makhachev vs Alexander Volkanovski betting preview.
Odds To Win
Sat, 21 Oct, 2023 - 2pm ET
Makhachev (24-1) defeated Oliveira with a second-round arm-triangle choke last year to capture the lightweight belt.
The Russian posted a unanimous decision win over featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski in February for his 12th straight victory and has not tasted defeat since a setback to Adriano Martins in 2015.
Oliveira (34-9, 1 NC) rebounded from an embarrassing title loss to Makhachev with an impressive first-round TKO win over Beneil Dariush in June. The Brazilian has won 12 of his last 13 fights, including eight via submissions and three knockouts.
In the co-main event, No.4 ranked Khamzat Chimaev returns to the Octagon against No. 6 ranked Paulo Costa in an intriguing middleweight bout.
Chimaev (12-0) scored an opening round submission 11 months ago against Kevin Holland at UFC 279. The Chechen-born fighter is undefeated in the UFC with three submissions, two knockouts, and a unanimous decision.
Costa (14-2) earned a unanimous decision win over Luke Rockhold 10 months ago to snap a two-fight losing skid. The Brazilian has posted a 6-2 record in the UFC, with his only losses coming against Marvin Vettori and Israel Adesanya.
Makhachev (-333) was the favorite to retain his title against Oliveira (+260), per BetMGM New York sportsbook.
The Russian is an elite grappler with high-level takedowns and submissions. However, the Combat Sambo fighter also possesses above-average striking skills.
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Makhachev is a high-level grappler who is a more measured striker. The southpaw likes to feint his jabs, prefers kicking to striking, and uses his power and athleticism to cause havoc before shooting for incredibly accurate single-leg takedowns.
The 31-year-old has connected on 59% of his significant strikes while landing 2.35 strikes per minute. He is an outstanding grappler who succeeds in taking down opponents at a 62% clip and averages 3.24 takedowns every 15 minutes in the Octagon.
Oliveira possesses a fighting style that is both dangerous and effective. The submission game is his bread and butter, and he is one of the top submission artists in the UFC. But the former champion has a formidable stand-up game that favors lots of forward pressure, and he is an excellent finisher who does not mind brawling.
The 33-year-old has a significant strike accuracy of 53% and lands 3.54 hard strikes per minute. His takedown accuracy is lacking at 40%, and he averages 2.32 takedowns while successfully defending 55% of opposing takedown attempts.
Despite losing his first encounter in dominating fashion to Makhachev, Oliveira believes his previous loss will have little bearing on this fight.
"I've fought there against the same opponent, but what has happened has happened,' Oliveira told Arab News. "I'm just going to focus on the future. I want to put on a great show, and what's in the past is in the past."
UFC Bantamweight Champion Sean O'Malley thinks a rejuvenated Oliveira will be more competitive in the rematch.
"He seems fired the f*** up, motivated, ready to go," O'Malley said. "Islam's coming off a very controversial win over Alexander Volkanovski. Charles coming off a dominating win over Beneil Dariush. Very interesting fight. That's what I wanna see next. I don't really care to see anyone else."
UFC betting is available with odds for this highly-anticipated lightweight championship fight live on New York's popular sportsbooks prior to the fight being cancelled, including BetMGM, PointsBet and FanDuel. All have Makhachev listed as the favorite.
The most common bet type for this UFC fight is the moneyline, a wager on who will win the fight outright.
Considering how the current champion dominated Oliveira at UFC 280 to capture the lightweight belt and his streak of 12 consecutive victories, we agree with the bookies on this occasion and Makhachev would have been our pick had the fight gone ahead.
A $100 wager on Makhachev at odds of 3/10 would net a total payout of $130.
While a bit more risky, a $100 bet on Oliveira at odds of 13/5 would deliver payout of $360 should the Brazilian emerge victorious on the night.
The Over/Under bet is another popular type, where you wager on the number of rounds the fight will last.
Given that Makhachev has won three of his previous four contests in two rounds or fewer and that Oliveira's last three fights have ended in the first or second round, we might not expect the bout to last three complete rounds.
Betting Under 3.5 rounds, or even possibly under 2.5 rounds at good odds, would be our suggested pick.
Although it would have been competitive, we’d have expected Makhachev to have the fight sewn up before the final bell, so we’d also be inclined to bet against the fight going the distance.
The five-round lightweight championship fight was due to take place on Saturday, October 21, at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Makahchev will now face Alexander Volkanovski instead due to the withdrawl of Oliveira.
UFC fans in New York can watch the fight live on ESPN+ pay-per-view.
UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev is the favorite to notch his second victory over No. 1-ranked contender Charles Oliveira. Makhachev is the 3/10 betting favorite, while Oliveira is the 13/5 underdog, per WynnBet.
Two of the most popular fighters in the middleweight division, #6 Paulo Costa (14-2) and #4 Khamzat Chimaev (12-0), will face off in the co-main event.
Light heavyweight title contenders #2 Magomed Ankalaev (18-1-1) and #7 Johnny Walker (21-7-0) will clash in an exciting matchup, while #11 Nassourdine Imavov (12-4) will battle Ikram Aliskerov (14-1) in a middleweight contest.
A pair of bantamweights, Said Nurmagomedov (17-3) and Muin Gafurov (18-5) will be looking to move up in the division with a decisive win.
Bets can be placed during the fight as it is happening with live UFC odds that are constantly changing based on what's happening in real time inside the Octagon.
The most popular types of in-play bettings are moneyline wagers representing the odds for who will win the fight outright. Other live betting types include the method of victory and how long the fight will last.
Mixed martial arts fans can place wagers on this exciting Lightweight championship bout at all the top New York sportsbooks, including BetMGM, WynnBet, FanDuel and DraftKings.