A day after scrambling to save and potentially upgrade the main event of the blockbuster UFC 294 pay-per-view card scheduled for Oct. 21 in Abu Dhabi, UFC president Dana White on Wednesday announced additional features for the event Making another big change.
White shared in a video on social media ahead of the middleweight clash between Paulo Costa (14-2) and unbeaten Kamzat Chimaev (12-0) that this The promotion has booked former welterweight champion and pound-for-pound king Kamaru Usman (20-3) to replace the Brazilian slugger in what will be Usman’s 185-pound debut.
“We’re done,” White said excitedlyfrom the matchmaking “war room” inside UFC’s Las Vegas headquarters.
Costa, 29, underwent elbow surgery three weeks before the fight. Share on social media on Wednesday Doctors prohibited him from participating in the event due to the presence of Staphylococcus aureus, which causes staph infections. With Costa currently ranked No. 6 and Chimaev recently moving up to 185 pounds after severely overshooting the welterweight limit last September, the fight is expected to have an impact on the middleweight title fight.
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The fight will serve as major support for lightweight title rematch partner Islam Makhachev (24-1) against featherweight king Alexander Volkanovski (26-2),Former champion Charles Oliveira withdrew due to an injury sustained above his right eye during the boxing match.
Chimaev, a 29-year-old from the Russian republic of Chechnya, has been viewed as a star since scoring three dominant wins in his UFC debut in 2020. Initially, Chimaev looked like he might be a title threat in both divisions until he dropped nearly 8 pounds last year ahead of his scheduled PPV main event matchup against Nate Diaz, forcing his opponent to scramble on the card. Switch to save match events.
Usman, 36, is coming off two losses to Leon Edwards, the first of which — a fifth-round knockout at UFC 278 in 2022 — cost him the welterweight title. The Nigerian had previously won all 15 of his fights inside the Octagon and was beginning to be considered one of the greatest boxers in career history.
Usman, who lost a majority decision to Edwards in their March rematch, will look to reinvent himself at middleweight. He had previously hesitated to move up to 185 pounds out of respect for countryman and former champion Israel Adesanya.