Makhachev was not allowed to gain weight

In mid-July, an answer was finally given to the question that interested a large army of Russian mixed martial arts fans - who will be the next opponent of the UFC lightweight champion? Recently, the media managed to discuss not only the prospect of a possible rematch between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski, but also the possible transition of the Dagestani to welterweight. Moreover, the athlete himself added fuel to the fire, challenging the current owner of the trophy in the 77.1 kg category, Leon Edwards. However, his appeal remained unanswered, and a few days later, the president of the championship, Dana White, announced the organization of a return match between the heir to Khabib Nurmagomedov and Charles Oliveira.

And this is curious, because a couple of weeks ago, the Brazilian admitted that he would not be able to perform at the October show in Abu Dhabi, the program of which later included his fight with the Russian.

As Oliveira said earlier, he will not have time to approach UFC 294 in optimal condition, but he is ready to fight in November-December. But later he changed his mind. And although the reasons for such a sharp change in mood are not known for certain, there are not so many options. Either Charles received a tempting offer and did not refuse a substantial fee for a duel with the champion, or simply decided not to scatter such opportunities. After all, who knows when the next chance will present itself.

And so far there is a feeling that the sports community is a little upset by the final verdict of the UFC leadership. The head of AMC Fight Nights, Kamil Hajiyev, called Makhachev a clear favorite and expressed a desire to watch his meeting with Edwards, and ACA Vice President Aslanbek Badaev said that the Russian would cope with the Brazilian anywhere - in the UAE, Brazil or on the moon. Apparently, they were a little disappointed in the team of Islam itself, who tuned in to a super-status confrontation with Leon.

"Islam had a busy schedule, he had five fights in 23 months, he remained active, he was tormented by small injuries and after the last fight he took a break because he had to recover. Now we were just waiting to see who would be the opponent. He wanted to either defend his title or... We had such an idea to rise in the weight category. Khabib supported Islam's idea of fighting Edwards. We know Leon and his abilities, at one time he came to train at the AKA, "Match TV quotes Magomedov.

Indeed, against the backdrop of the rematch with Oliveira, the battle with Edwards seems much more interesting. Still, the Russian has already fought with the Brazilian and more than confidently won, surpassing him in all aspects. The fight with the Briton would be a real challenge for him, if successful, he could not only become the first ever Russian champion in two divisions, but also rise to first place in the UFC composite ranking. However, this would not be easy to achieve. Leon is not only very seriously superior to him in size, but also defends well against takedowns, which he demonstrated in the last two fights with Kamaru Usman. And in the rack it can give a head start.

Tuivasa was given to be torn to pieces by Volkov

But if Makhachev defends his title for the second time, then Alexander Volkov will make another attempt to become one of the main contenders for it. Early victories over Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Alexander Romanov helped him not only stay in the top ten of the heavyweight ranking, but also again get the opportunity to fight with rivals occupying higher places. These include Tai Tuivasa, who last September argued with Cyril Gane for the title of the main contender for the belt. And if he had not yielded to the Frenchman then, he could have become an opponent of Jon Jones in the title fight. But his fate was different. First, he capitulated to the onslaught of the Frenchman during the third round, and then lasted only 54 seconds in the battle with Sergei Pavlovich.

And now he is waiting for the test of another Russian knockout. And until you say that this time the Australian will have it easier. Recently, Volkov has experienced serious difficulties only in clashes with wrestlers, but Tuivasu cannot be attributed to those. He likes to fight in the rack and will probably try to kill his opponent, but there will be few chances to do this. Alexander is good at a distance and is a little lost only in duels with faster and more technical strikers like the same Gan and Tom Aspinall. And you definitely can't classify the straightforward Ty as such.

"Tuivasa is already on the decline. I don't see a single prerequisite for his victory over Volkov. He doesn't have a fight at all. He was good at chopping, but with other opponents. Sasha just declasses him at a distance with kicks and jabs. I don't know what needs to happen for Tuivasa to succeed. Something like a miracle. Alexander should just be in terrible shape. Volkov is a fighter of a completely different level. This is the most impossible opponent imaginable for Tuivasa. Scarier than kryptonite for Superman. What did Ty do so terrible for the UFC that he was scheduled to fight like this? God bless him," RCC fighter Ivan Shtyrkov told Metaratings.

Indeed, it will be extremely difficult for Tuivasa's coaching staff to develop a plan for the fight with Volkov. Obviously, he will have to break through to close range and count on the mistake of the Russian, similar to the one that he made in the fight with Derrick Lewis. Then Alexander looked confident in the octagon and by the end of the third round he was leading on the judges' cards, but missed the sharp attack of the American and collapsed on the canvas 11 seconds before the gong. The only question is, is the Australian able to act as cunningly and unpredictably as the record holder for the number of knockouts?

Chimaev decided to test Kostoy

While the confrontation between Volkov and Tuivasa promises to be a model of sports rivalry, the duel between Khamzat Chimaev and Paulo Costa will certainly be literally replete with emotions, and insults from both are unlikely to stop after entering the octagon. Even before the official announcement, future opponents exchanged a couple of tough attacks, and by the end of October, the atmosphere around the battle risks heating up to the limit.

Already, the accounts of athletes on social networks are literally full of offensive messages addressed to each other. Chimaev posted a photo of the mocking celebration of the victory over Kosta performed by Israel Adesanya, and he posted the moment Khamzat fell in a battle with Gilbert Burns. The Swede hinted that the Brazilian is transgender, and he responded by gluing his head to the body of the girl-fighter Eileen Perez. And that's not all.

But if it is extremely difficult to name a triumphant in a witticism competition, then their chances of success in the cage are considered not so equal. According to bookmakers' quotes, Chimaev is the clear favorite, and this despite the transition to middleweight, where he has not fought since September 2020. Then he knocked out Gerald Merschert in 17 seconds and set a unique record, winning three times in a row in 66 days. Perhaps the reason for this is Costa's defeat from the same Adesanya and Marvin Vettori, as well as not the most confident performance in a duel with Luke Rockhold. Then he was forced to spend all three rounds with a veteran who was on the decline and missed a lot of punches.

It is possible that he will fall under the hail this time. True, most likely after he is on the ground. If Costa is unlikely to be much inferior to Chimaev in the rack, then it will be extremely difficult for him to compete on equal terms in grappling. Previously, he allowed himself to be laid on the canvas even by Oluwale Bamgbos, and the Swede is several goals superior to him in wrestling skills.

One way or another, at the tournament in Abu Dhabi, fans are waiting for an incredibly bright and exciting battle, according to the results of which a new contender for the middleweight title may well be determined. If Chimaev wins, he will certainly get the opportunity to compete for the belt, because there are no more worthy candidates in the division now. Alex Pereira climbed the category higher, and Adesanya beat the rest.

In this situation, it remains only to sympathize with Ikram Aliskerov, who suffered from Chimaev for the second time in a row. In 2019, he inflicted the only defeat in his career so far, and now he has deprived him of the opportunity to compete with a top-level fighter. After all, initially it was the Russian who had to fight the Brazilian, but later this right went to the Swede.