On Friday afternoon, UFC CEO Dana White took the opportunity to speak to the press regarding the last minute changes made to the co-main and main event of this weekend’s UFC 294 card.
The news broke just 10 days prior to the event that Charles Oliveira would need to back out of his fight for the lightweight title versus Islam Makhachev due to a cut he suffered in sparring. Stepping up to fill in for Oliveira was the current featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, who lost a narrowly scored decision to Makhachev back in February.
Additionally, Paulo Costa was also pulled from the co-headlining bout versus Khamzat Chimaev, and will now be replaced by former 170-pound champ Kamaru Usman.
“But look at the buzz and excitement,” White said. “You know what I mean? The energy, what does that tell you? It tells you they made the right choice, and this is the type of stuff that we, as fight fans, love, and get excited about.”
“So, yesterday, when I posted the video of the announcement, it had 10 million views in like 10 hours,” White said. “That answers all the questions [about the excitement].”
Despite some last minute changes, UFC 294 is set to be just as exciting, if not more, than originally planned.
The action is set to kick off at 10:30 a.m. ET this Saturday, and will take place at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. The prelims, airing live on ESPN+, will feature eight bouts, followed by a five fight main card on PPV.