UFC Abu Dhabi is OFFICIAL!#UFC294 | @VisitAbuDhabi | @InAbuDhabi | #InAbuDhabi pic.twitter.com/i59hmUXfyfThe only other bout currently booked for the event will see undefeated prospect Muhammad Mokaev, who will be looking for his fifth straight win inside the Octagon. He meets veteran fan favorite Tim Elliott.
‘The Eraser’ was previously scheduled to make his return at UFC 291 on July 29 against Russian standout Ikram Aliskerov. Earlier this week, it was revealed that Costa had withdrawn from the bout with many speculating that a move to UFC 294 was the reason. Costa has not fought since an August 2022 bout against Luke Rockhold at UFC 278. Prior to the unanimous decision victory over Rockhold, Costa found himself on a two-fight losing streak, dropping bouts against middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and perennial contender Marvin Vettori.
UFC President Dana White made two massive blockbuster announcements as it pertains to the promotion’s return to Abu Dhabi this fall.Since then, Makhachev has defended the title once in a UFC 284 superfight with featherweight king Alexander Volkanovski. The bout was an early Fight of the Year contender with Makhachev leaving the land down under with a unanimous decision victory. In June, Charles Oliveira returned and reminded fight fans why he is the most prolific finisher in UFC history, landing an impressive first-round TKO against Beneil Dariush at UFC 289. Next, he will attempt to reclaim the lightweight title and end the Russian’s impressive run a year removed from their last run-in.
Dana White Also Announces Khamzat Chimaev vs. Paulo Costa at UFC 294
— danawhite (@danawhite) July 20, 2023The fight that everyone was waiting for has been finally made. Khamzat Chimaev vs. Paulo Costa goes down at UFC 294. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/lvQOu0JRRF
In the main event of the evening, Islam Makhachev will return to put his lightweight world title on the line against former champion Charles Oliveira. Of course, Makhachev and ‘Do Bronx’ are no strangers to one another, having squared off for the vacant 155-pound crown at UFC 280 last year. The Dagestani destroyer scored a second-round submission against Oliveira to capture his first world championship.
As for Khamzat Chimaev, ‘Borz’ burst into the UFC in 2020, scoring three finishes in less than two months. However, an especially bad bout with COVID-19 briefly derailed his career. Fortunately, he was able to make a full recovery and returned to the Octagon after a year on the shelf. He blasted through Li Jingliang in his comeback bout and has since earned two more impressive victories, defeating Gilbert Burns in a back-and-forth battle before ragdolling Kevin Holland en route to a first-round submission.
Dana White also revealed that Costa’s original UFC 291 opponent, Ikram Aliskerov, will compete at UFC 294 against Nassourdine Imavov. — MMA On Point (@OnPointMMA) July 20, 2023Also announced for UFC 294 is a can’t-miss middleweight showdown as undefeated Chechen monster Khamzat Chimaev makes his long-awaited return to the Octagon. Meeting him in the center of the cage will be one-time UFC title challenger Paulo Costa.