UFC 294 delivered a night of spectacular fights and thrilling finishes at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. In the main event, Islam Makhachev secured a convincing knockout victory over Alex Volkanovski, while Khamzat Chimaev earned a well-deserved decision win over the legendary Kamaru Usman.
In a highly anticipated lightweight title bout, Islam Makhachev left no room for doubt as he faced off against featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski. Their first encounter at UFC 284 ended in favor of Makhachev, and the rematch saw the same result, with Makhachev finishing Volkanovski in the first round with a head kick and ground-and-pound.
Makhachev’s impressive performance was a testament to his well-rounded skills, as he didn’t have to rely on his renowned wrestling abilities to secure the win. Volkanovski, who stepped in on short notice, was aiming to become one of the few fighters in UFC history to hold titles in two weight classes simultaneously. However, Makhachev’s relentless pursuit and a devastating head kick put an end to Volkanovski’s aspirations.
In his post-fight comments, Makhachev praised his opponent’s resilience, stating, “He’s a real champion.” Volkanovski, despite the loss, expressed his intentions to return and continue his career at featherweight, highlighting his sportsmanship and dedication to the sport.
Chimaev Overwhelms Usman
Khamzat Chimaev, known for his relentless fighting style, took on former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in the co-main event. Chimaev displayed a well-controlled and patient approach in this fight, winning by a majority decision with scores of 29-27 (twice) and 28-28.
Chimaev’s domination began with a 10-8 round in the first, where he secured a takedown and threatened Usman with submissions, preventing his opponent from mounting any significant offense. Usman managed to win the second round with strikes, but Chimaev maintained control.
The final round showcased Chimaev’s superior wrestling, as he held Usman down for the majority of the period. Chimaev’s impressive victory places him in contention for a title shot, and he expressed gratitude to UFC CEO Dana White and the organization for their support.
No-Contest in Ankalaev vs. Walker
In a highly anticipated light heavyweight bout between Magomed Ankalaev and Johnny Walker, an illegal knee brought the fight to a disappointing end. The fight initially lived up to the hype, with both fighters showing their skills, but the bout was marred by an illegal knee delivered by Ankalaev when Walker was a downed opponent.
Referee Dan Movahedi called time to allow the ringside physician to check on Walker, who appeared disoriented and unresponsive to questions. As a result, the fight was declared a no-contest, and a rematch seems likely after both fighters have had time to recover.
Middleweight contender Ikram Aliskerov showcased his devastating skills by dismantling Warlley Alves. Aliskerov secured a first-round TKO victory at 2:07 after delivering a powerful jab followed by a flying knee. Alves was unable to withstand the onslaught, leading to the referee’s intervention.
Nurmagomedov’s Quick Submission
Said Nurmagomedov continued his impressive run in the UFC with a lightning-fast submission victory over Muin Gafurov. Nurmagomedov utilized his guillotine expertise to force Gafurov to tap in just 73 seconds of the first round. Although the tap went unnoticed initially, Nurmagomedov’s awareness led to a quick release of the choke when he realized his opponent was unconscious.
Mokaev Stamps Himself as a Contender
Muhammad Mokaev further solidified his reputation as a top flyweight contender by submitting former title challenger Tim Elliott. Mokaev’s arm-triangle submission secured the win at 3:03 of the third round, showcasing his grappling skills and submission defense.
Mokaev expressed his desire to face a Top-10 opponent, with Kai Kara-France as a potential choice. However, he also emphasized the importance of promoting peace worldwide during his post-fight speech.
UFC 294 featured remarkable performances, memorable moments, and unexpected outcomes, setting the stage for an exciting future in the world of mixed martial arts.