UFC 294 Report: Makhachev vs. Volkanovski 2 Results
Welcome to POST Wrestling’s coverage of UFC 294 from the Etihad Arena on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Initially, this card was scheduled to be headlined by a rematch between UFC Lightweight Champion, Islam Makhachev, and Charles Oliviera, but Oliviera was forced to withdraw from the fight due to an injury, and on just two weeks’ notice, UFC Featherweight Champion, Alexander Volkanovski, stepped in to face Makhachev. Volkanovski moved up to lightweight to challenge Makhachev for his title earlier this year, in a fight that Makhachev won by unanimous decision, but it was an extremely competitive fight, and there was certainly a great deal of interest surrounding this rematch between arguably the two best fighters in the world today. The co-main event of UFC 294 was also altered when Paulo Costa was forced to withdraw from his fight against Khamzat Chimaev, and in his place, former UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman stepped in to face Chimaev, in a bout that could very well determine UFC Middleweight Champion Sean Strickland’s first title challenger. The commentary team for this card consisted of Jon Anik, Paul Felder, and Daniel Cormier.
- Shara Magomedov def. Bruno Silva by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
- Victoria Dudakova def. Jinh Yu Frey by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
- Muhammadjon Naimov def. Nathaniel Wood by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
- Mike Breeden def. Anshul Jubli by KO at 3:00 of Round 3
- Sedriques Dumas def. Abu Azaitar by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
- Javid Basharat vs. Victor Henry resulted in a No Contest at 0:15 of Round 2
- Trevor Peek def. Mohammad Yahya by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
- Muhammad Mokaev def. Tim Elliott by arm triangle at 3:03 of Round 3
- Said Nurmagomedov def. Muin Gafurov by guillotine at 1:13 of Round 1
- Ikram Aliskerov def. Warlley Alves by TKO at 2:07 of Round 1
- Magomed Ankalaev vs. Johnny Walker Resulted in a No Contest at 3:13 of Round 1
- Khamzat Chimaev def. Kamaru Usman by majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28)
- Islam Makhachev def. Alexander Volkanovski by KO at 3:06 of Round 1 to retain the UFC Lightweight Championship
SHARA MAGOMEDOV (11-0, 186) VS BRUNO SILVA (23-9, 186) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
Magomedov attacked the lead leg of Silva with a variety of kicks throughout the opening minute of the fight. A head kick from Magomedov rocked Silva, and while he was able to recover quickly, it was clear that he was a step behind Magomedov on the feet. Silva attempted to take the fight to the ground, but Magomedov defended the attempt, which prompted Silva to start charging forward, throwing heavy hooks wildly. This led to some success for Silva, but he was leaving himself open for counters as well. An accidental low blow to Silva led to a short break in the action, but it was not long before the fight resumed. The fighters traded hooks, before a heavy combination from Silva caught Magomedov clean against the cage to end the round. 10-9 Silva.
Magomedov defended another takedown to start the second round, before he resumed his attack to the legs and body of Silva, just lighting him up with countless creative kicks. About halfway through the round, Silva successfully took Magomedov down after catching a kick, but it was Magomedov who was doing the better work off of his back, throwing up numerous sharp elbows and heavy hammerfists. Silva was unable to do much from top position, but he did open up a notable cut near Magomedov’s right eye. Still, Magomedov was far more effective from bottom position, and he won this round as well. 20-18 Magomedov.
Silva quickly took the fight back to the ground in the third round. Silva was landing some hard ground and pound strikes, but Magomedov eventually picked himself up along the cage, creating the separation that he was looking for. Magomedov defended a takedown on the feet, before landing a hard elbow. Silva responded by taking him back down, where he continued to throw heavy ground and pound strikes down as he attempted to finish the fight. Magomedov held on, and escaped to his feet just before the final bell, and the fight went the distance. 29-28 Magomedov.
WINNER: Shara Magomedov by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
Magomedov showcased some impressive striking throughout this fight, completely overwhelming Silva on the feet with his varied attack. Silva is no stranger to tough opponents on the feet, going fifteen minutes with Alex Pereira in the past, but did not have much to offer Magomedov here, and instead chose to wrestle with him, which led to some success for Silva throughout the second half of this fight. It will be interesting to see Magomedov against some of the stronger wrestlers in the division, but for now, this was a strong promotional debut for the undefeated fighter.
VICTORIA DUDAKOVA (7-0, 116.6) VS JINH YU FREY (11-9, 116) – STRAWWEIGHT
Dudakova missed weight by 0.6 pounds, and was fined a percentage of her purse as a result.
Frey defended Dudakova’s first takedown attempt of the fight, keeping the fight on the feet early. The fighters traded hooks, before Dudakova pressed Frey into the clinch against the cage. Frey escaped the position without taking much damage, but a clash of heads led to a brief pause in the action while Frey was given time to recover. Dudakova landed a solid knee to the head when the action resumed, but was unable to complete the takedowns that she was looking for. In the final seconds of the round, Dudakova dropped Jinh Yu Frey with a left hand, but there was not enough time left for her to capitalize on the moment. 10-9 Dudakova.
Frey wasted little time in taking the fight to the ground to start the second round. Frey moved into side control, where she spent an extended period of time looking to advance her position, before eventually moving back into Dudakova’s guard, where she landed some solid ground and pound shots. Dudakova eventually escaped to her feet, but only had a minute to make up ground in the round. Dudakova got the better of the action on the feet late, but I did not think that she did quite enough to take the round back. 19-19.
Dudakova fought aggressively to start the final round, attacking the head and body of her opponent with straight right hands. Frey did her best to respond with heavy hooks, but she was falling behind in terms of output. As the round wore on, Dudakova had clearly pulled ahead in the round, and Frey was in need of a big moment to win this fight. She attempted to secure a late takedown, but Dudakova defended the attempt, and won the remainder of this round on the feet. 29-28 Dudakova.
WINNER: Victoria Dudakova by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
Dudakova was the stronger striker, and quickly pulled ahead of Frey on the strike count. Frey did her best to keep up with Dudakova on the feet, throwing some heavy hooks her opponent’s way, but it was Dudakova who scored the big knockdown to secure the first round, before Frey turned to her wrestling to take back round two. By round three, Dudakova knew that the takedowns were coming from Frey, and kept her distance on the feet, working her jab while defending takedowns to secure the final round on the scorecards. It was a solid performance from Dudakova (minus the weight miss), who was a sizeable favorite going into this fight, and she is now 2-0 in the UFC.
NATHANIEL WOOD (19-5, 146) VS MUHAMMADJON NAIMOV (9-2, 145.5) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Naimov rocked Wood with a short right hook in the opening minute, before taking him to the ground with a bodylock. Naimov postured up as he attempted to stack Wood, and he began throwing down hard left hands. Wood defended himself well, and picked himself up along the cage. A low blow to Wood resulted in a pause in the action, but when the fight resumed, Wood dropped Naimov with a straight right hand, before securing a takedown of his own. Naimov scrambled on top, but Wood was able to pick himself up before time expired. 10-9 Naimov.
Another low blow to Wood delayed the start of the second round. When the action resumed, Naimov brought Wood into the clinch, but it was Wood who took the fight to the ground, albeit momentarily, as it was not long before Naimov returned to his feet. Naimov secured a takedown of his own, and he was able to keep Wood down for a considerable portion of the round. Wood returned to his feet before time expired, but this likely went down as another round for Naimov. 20-18 Naimov.
Wood pressured forward in the third round, in need of a big moment to win this fight. Naimov seemed content to work from the backfoot, looking to time a counter, and his strategy eventually paid off, as when Wood finally committed to an attack, Naimov changed levels and took him to the ground. Wood escaped, and found a home for a heavy right hand. Wood started to pour it on as he attempted to force a finish, but time eventually ran out on him, and the fight went the distance. 29-28 Naimov.
WINNER: Muhammadjon Naimov by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
Wood came very close to finishing the fight in its final minutes, but Naimov was able to hold on, and his arm was raised in the end as a result. I thought Naimov did an excellent job of timing his takedowns and making the most of his control time, and while Wood largely did the better work on the feet, it was that control time from Naimov that ultimately won him this fight. Naimov is now 2-0 in the UFC following this win, and a solid win over a fighter like Nathanial Wood in just his second fight in the promotion will do a lot to accelerate his climb up the featherweight ladder.
MIKE BREEDEN (10-6, 159.5) VS ANSHUL JUBLI (7-0, 155.5) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Breeden missed weight by 3.5lbs, and was fined a percentage of his purse as a result.
Breeden pressed forward to start the fight, throwing heavy hooks. Jubli started firing back, and caught Breeden with a solid hook of his own that put Breeden on the retreat momentarily. Jubli started mixing in his attack to the body, while he continued to throw his heavier shots to the head, generating some big reactions from Breeden. A knee up the middle caught Breeden clean, prompting him to flurry forward with a short combination of his own. Both fighters landed some strong shots throughout the round, but Jubli seemed to have the slight edge in terms of damage dealt.
Jubli hurt Breeden with a right hand at the start of round two, and he went on the attack in pursuit of a finish. Jubli landed some heavy strikes, but Breeden was able to weather the storm, and began firing back to relieve the pressure. A straight right hand from Breeden caught Jubli clean, before Jubli responded with a powerful looping right hook. The fighters traded heavy hands at a fairly even rate late in the round, after a lopsided start in favor of Jubli, but this was still a fairly clear round in favor of Jubli, who had opened up a nasty cut near the left eye of Breeden, leaving a flap of skin just dangling off of Breeden’s forehead and into his eye.
Breeden came out firing in the final round, marching forward like a madman while his cornermen were literally barking at him. Breeden rocked Jubli with a combination, and Jubli was looking like an entirely different fighter, frozen in place while Breeden went on the attack. Jubli started attacking the body as he attempted to pull himself back into this fight, but he looked exhausted, and eventually, Breeden stepped forward with a heavy hook, knocking Jubli unconscious.
WINNER: Mike Breeden by KO at 3:00 of Round 3
Jubli was up big heading into the final round, and while this was a competitive fight, it seemed like a formality that Jubli would stay in the driver’s seat, and secure the win in round three. Instead, Breeden came off of his stool for the final round looking like an entirely different fighter, marching forward with heavy hands, all while taunting Jubli, who just seemed frozen by the pressure from his opponent. It was an impressive comeback, and the late knockout earned Breeden the win that he desperately needed to remain in the UFC after missing weight drastically, and losing his first three fights in the promotion.
ABU AZAITAR (14-3-1, 186) VS SEDRIQUES DUMAS (8-1, 186) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
Azaitar caught a kick from Dumas, and landed a heavy right hand in the fights opening minute. Dumas was tripped to the ground in the process, but quickly picked himself up before taking the fight to the ground. Dumas worked from half guard, throwing down some solid right hands as he attempted to advance his position. Azaitar largely did a good job defensively, keeping Dumas from advancing his position, but spent the entirety of the round on his back, clearly losing the opening round on the scorecards. 10-9 Dumas.
Azaitar surged forward with heavy hooks at the start of the second round, knowing that he had the significant advantage in terms of power. Azaitar could not get wild, as the threat of being taken down was very real, but Dumas was not terribly active offensively either, as Azaitar’s power left him hesitant to close the distance. Azaitar secured a takedown of his own after catching a kick towards the end of the round, but Dumas quickly escaped to his feet, and time expired in the round. 19-19.
Azaitar pulled the hair of Dumas near the start of the third round, resulting in a pause in the action as Dumas recovered from the foul. When the fight resumed, a strong jab landed with power for Dumas, who continued to work it throughout the round. Azaitar responded with focused attack to the body, and he was out landing Dumas here, albeit not by a significant margin. Dumas defended a takedown attempt and landed a head kick before time expired. 29-28 Dumas.
WINNER: Sedriques Dumas by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
This was far from the most action-packed fight, with very few big moments from either fighter throughout. After getting taken down and controlled for the entirety of the first round, Azaitar was hesitant to engage, knowing that the first round could very well repeat itself, and Dumas was hesitant as well, knowing that Azaitar’s power was enough to end his night if Dumas made a mistake closing the distance. The fight more or less came down to what was a very close third round, that was likely decided by the head kick that Dumas landed right before the bell. Dumas improved to 2-1 in the UFC as a result of this win.
JAVID BASHARAT (14-0, 136) VS VICTOR HENRY (23-6, 136) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Basharat secured a takedown after a fairly pedestrian start to the fight on the feet. Henry quickly returned to his feet, creating separation, but ate a spinning back kick to the chin for his troubles. Both fighters were throwing a considerable amount of leg kicks, and while both found success with the attacks, it made this round rather difficult to score, as they exchanged them at a fairly even rate. In the end I gave Basharat the edge in round one, but this was a rather uneventful five minutes.
A low blow at the start of the second round floored Victory Henry. Henry was in extreme pain from the shot, writhing in pain on the ground for the better part of five minutes. Eventually, it was determined that Henry could not continue, and the fight was stopped.
Result: No Contest at 0:15 of Round 2
The doctor was in the cage trying to tell Henry that the fight ending low blow was clean, which was hilarious given that Henry was very clearly not acting here, just writhing in pain from Basharat’s kick, to the point that he was unable to continue fighting and had to be carried to the back. It was certainly an unfortunate ending to this fight, but at the same time, I cannot say that I was looking forward to ten more minutes of what we saw in the first round, where neither fighter found much success offensively. I do not imagine that the UFC will run this fight back, but it is not an impossibility either given the unsatisfying result.
MOHAMMAD YAHYA (12-3, 156) VS TREVOR PEEK (8-1, 1 NC, 155.5) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Peek knocked Yahya down momentarily with a right hand, and when Yahya picked himself up, Peek quickly took him to the ground. It did not take long for Yahya to work his way back to his feet, but Peek held him up against the fence, where he landed numerous knees to the body before separating. Yahya landed a straight left hand, before Peek flurried forward, ultimately opting to shoot for another takedown once Yahya’s back hit the fence. Yahya countered with a D’Arce choke, but he could not finish the submission before time expired. 10-9 Peek.
Peek continued to load up with big strikes in the second round, as he attempted to generate another big moment. A leg kick from Peek caused Yahya to stumble momentarily, but he quickly composed himself and caught Peek with a solid counter when Peek attempted to rush forward. A powerful shot to the body found its target for Peek, before he shot for another takedown against the cage. Yahya defended the attempt, but was falling behind in terms of activity, and I thought that this was another round for Peek. 20-18 Peek.
Peek took the fight to the ground in the opening minute of round three. Yahya was able to shake Peek off of him without taking much damage, and the fighters reset in the middle of the octagon. Peek brought him back to the cage after throwing out a flurry of wild standing hammerfists. They wrestled against the cage for a considerable portion of the round, before Peek finally secured a takedown, ending the round in top position. 30-27 Peek.
WINNER: Trevor Peek by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Peek fights wildly, and that pressure overwhelmed Yahya on the feet throughout this fight. Yahya landed some sharp counters throughout the fight, but was not initiating his own offense, and as a result, Peek was consistently leading the action, fighting at his desired pace and range. To Yahya’s credit, he was the closer fighter to finishing the fight, as he had Peek in deep trouble at the end of the first round, but there just wasn’t enough activity from him to justify scoring the fight in his favor. Peek is now 2-1 in the UFC following this win.
TIM ELLIOTT (19-12-1, 126) VS MUHAMMAD MOKAEV (10-0, 1 NC, 126) – FLYWEIGHT
Mokaev landed a short hook early in the fight, but was taken down in the process. Mokaev wasted little time before returning to his feet, where he attempted to secure a takedown of his own. Elliott defended the attempts from Mokaev, but caught Mokaev with an illegal knee to the head in the process. No point was deducted from Elliott, and the fight resumed on the feet. Mokaev successfully brought the fight to the ground on his next attempt, avoiding a guillotine attempt from Elliott in the process, and he ended the round in top position. 10-9 Elliott.
Mokaev immediately took the fight back to the ground at the start of round two, working from the guard of Elliott. Mokaev threw down numerous ground and pound strikes while maintaining his position, dominating the majority of this round. Elliott attempted a triangle choke, but Mokaev just picked him up and slammed him down on his head to relive the pressure. This was a strong round for Mokaev. 19-19.
Mokaev caught Elliott with a head kick at the start of round three, before Elliott dragged Mokaev into the clinch, hitting him with a series of knees to the head. One of those knees came very close to being illegal, and there was a pause in the action as a result, but Jason Herzog ultimately decided to give Elliott back the position after determining that the knee was legal. Eventually, Mokaev escaped the position by taking Elliott down in impressive fashion, and he began to work from top position once more. Mokaev worked his way to Elliott’s side, caught him in an arm triangle, and forced Elliott to submit.
WINNER: Muhammad Mokaev by arm triangle at 3:03 of Round 3
Elliott brought the fight to Mokaev, putting him in some spots of trouble throughout this fight, but in the end, Mokaev had answers to Elliott’s threats, and secured the finish to keep his undefeated record intact. It was an impressive performance from Mokaev against a tricky opponent, and while he definitely puts himself in spots of danger with his style, he has shown an ability to fight out of these situations and emerge victorious regardless. Mokaev is now 5-0 in the UFC, and the next time in which he steps into the octagon, I imagine he will be fighting one of the flyweight’s division’s top contenders. After his win, Mokaev called out Kai Kara France, Amir Albazi, and Manel Kape, which would all be sensible fights coming out of this.
SAID NURMAGOMEDOV (17-3, 136) VS MUIN GAFUROV (18-5, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Gafurov applied forward pressure early, but he ran right into a standing guillotine from Nurmagomedov, who quickly forced Gafurov to submit.
WINNER: Said Nurmagomedov by guillotine at 1:13 of Round 1
Gafurov’s strategy was clearly to overwhelm Nurmagomedov with his pressure, but he was reckless, and quickly found himself trapped in a guillotine choke after shooting for a takedown against the cage. Nurmagomedov has finished numerous professional fights with the guillotine choke, and this counter was perfectly timed, securing yet another one to open up the main card here. Nurmagomedov is now 7-2 in the UFC following this win, and I would not be surprised if he fights a ranked opponent in his next fight.
IKRAM ALISKEROV (14-1, 186) VS WARLLEY ALVES (14-6, 185.5) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
Alves stepped in with a hard leg kick, but was countered by a heavy combination from Aliskerov in the process. A jab from Aliskerov dropped Alves momentarily, and as Alves picked himself up, Aliskerov stepped forward with a flying knee, rocking him further. With Alves hurt, Aliskerov just unleashed with a flurry of strikes until Alves crumbled against the cage.
WINNER: Ikram Aliskerov by TKO at 2:07 of Round 1
Aliskerov was a massive favorite going into this fight, and he made good on those odds with a quick finish here. Alves is a fighter with a lot of UFC experience, and he will always have a win over Colby Covington on his resume, but he has struggled to string together wins throughout the last eight years, and moving up a weight class to fight someone like Ikram Aliskerov was always going be a tough outing. Aliskerov hurt Alves with a jab early, and immediately went in for the kill, finishing the fight in impressive fashion. He is now 2-0 in the UFC, and I do not think it will be long before we see Aliskerov facing ranked opposition at 185lbs.
MAGOMED ANKALAEV (17-1-1, 206) VS JOHNNY WALKER (21-7, 205) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
The fighters traded leg kicks to start the fight. A right hook from Ankalaev found its target, before he landed a hard shot to the body. Walker played possum after taking the body shot, and attempted to explode with a jumping knee after Ankalaev stepped in, but was taken down in the process. Ankalaev landed an illegal knee to the head of Walker, and the action was stopped as the doctor was brought in to check on him. The doctor determined that Walker could not continue fighting, and the fight was called off.
Result: No Contest at 3:13 of Round 1
Walker and Ankalaev were ready to brawl after the fight was stopped, and Walker was pushing around the referee and other officials in frustration. Paul Felder stated that Walker was asked what country he was in when the doctor checked on him, and he was unable to answer, which be a logical reason for the doctor to call for the finish, but we could not hear the audio on the broadcast, so for the time being, it’s impossible to weigh in on the doctor’s decision to stop the fight. What is certain, though, is that Walker was furious with the decision, and the UFC will be running this fight back in the near future. From the short time in which the fight lasted before the illegal knee, it seemed as though Ankalaev was a step ahead of Walker, and he will almost certainly be a heavy favorite going into a rematch, but Walker is a wild fighter, and his power gives him a chance in any fight at 205lbs.
KAMARU USMAN (20-3, 184.5) VS KHAMZAT CHIMAEV (12-0, 185.5) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
Usman defended Chimaev’s first takedown attempt of the fight, but gave up his back on the feet in the process, allowing Chimaev to drag him down repeatedly against the cage. Chimaev took Usman’s back on the ground, locking in a body triangle, as he started to look for a rear naked choke. Usman did his best to escape from under Chimaev, returning to his feet, but Chimaev stayed on his back, locking in a rear naked choke in the process. Usman slammed himself forward in order to shake the choke attempt off, but despite losing the choke, Chimaev remained on Usman’s back until the round’s conclusion. 10-8 Chimaev.
Feints were keeping both fighters hesitant to start the second round. The crowd began to get restless due to the lack of activity in this second round, and indeed the pace was quite slow, but this was beneficial to Usman, who seemed to be the sharper striker, although Chimaev was throwing his strikes with a bit more power. A one-two landed hard for Usman, which were the most impactful strikes of the round, but Chimaev responded by taking Usman down, where he finished the round in top position. 19-18 Chimaev.
Usman defended a takedown attempt from Chimaev to start the final round. Usman landed a hard right hand, and Chimaev responded with one of his own, before Chimaev shot for another unsuccessful takedown. Usman started to move forward, throwing hard shots, landing at a fairly successful rate. Chimaev defended a takedown from Usman, before he shot in for one of his own, taking the fight back to the ground. Chimaev moved into half guard, where he smothered Usman against the canvas. Usman escaped to his feet with thirty seconds remaining, and he walked Chimaev down, throwing heavy strikes until time expired. I scored the fight 28-28.
WINNER: Khamzat Chimaev by majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28)
Usman seemed unhappy with the decision, but scoring either of the final two rounds for Chimaev is not unreasonable. Personally, I saw the fight as a draw, scoring the first round as a 10-8 for Chimaev, before giving Usman the last two rounds, as I thought Usman’s damage outweighed Chimaev’s control time late, but the later two rounds were certainly competitive. I thought that this was a tremendous performance from Usman, a weight class up on just two weeks’ notice, showcasing sharper striking and superior cardio to Chimaev, however the wrestling ability of Khamzat Chimaev was the difference maker here. Chimaev was able to ground Usman multiple times throughout the fight, which is a very impressive feat against one of the sport’s best takedown defenders. Chimaev will likely be UFC Middleweight Champion Sean Strickland’s first title challenger, and I imagine he will be a heavy favorite going into that fight.
ISLAM MAKHACHEV (24-1, 155) VS ALEXANDER VOLKANOVSKI (26-2, 154.5) – UFC LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
This was a rematch of a fight from February of this year, a fight that Makhachev won by unanimous decision.
The fighters touched gloves to start the main event. Volkanovski defended Makhachev’s first takedown attempt of the fight, but Makhachev pushed him to the cage in the process, and the fighters began to wrestle in the clinch. Makhachev landed some knees up the middle before the fighters separated, resetting in the center of the cage. Makhachev rocked Volkanovski badly with a beautiful head kick, and he immediately capitalized, swarming Volkanovski with strikes until Volkanovski went down and the fight was stopped.
WINNER: Islam Makhachev by KO at 3:06 of Round 1 to retain the UFC Lightweight Championship
This was a masterful performance from Makhachev for the short duration in which this fight lasted. Makhachev did good work on the feet and in the clinch, not taking a single significant strike from Volkanovski, before securing the highlight reel knockout to hand Volkanovski his first stoppage loss in a decade. Obviously, Volkanovski deserves credit for taking this fight on such short notice, but the gamble did not pay off for him this time, and this will likely close the chapter on his pursuit of double champ status, at least for the time being. For Makhachev, this was a win that arguably cements his status as the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, and I imagine that he will be an overwhelming favorite against whomever his next opponent is. Charles Oliveira is perhaps the most logical next opponent for Makhachev, given that it was Oliveira who was originally scheduled to face Makhachev here, but Makhachev has already defeated Oliveria in one-sided fashion, so it would not shock me if the UFC decides to go in another direction. Justin Gaethje is coming off a strong knockout win against Dustin Poirier, and Mateusz Gamrot is in the conversation as well, but regardless, it is tough to imagine Makhachev being dethroned at the moment.