UFC 294 showcased rematch between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski in the lightweight division was held in Abu Dhabi. The event was highlighted by Makhachev retaining his lightweight title with a spectacular 1st-round knockout of Volkanovski. Makhachev (26-1-0) unleashed a devastating kick with his left leg to Volkanovski’s right temple, quickly following up to secure the victory. Meanwhile, the co-main event of UFC 294 saw an epic clash between Khamzat Chimaev and former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. The fight was a majority-decision victory in favor of Chimaev. After the dust settled, here are the major takeaways of UFC 294:
Islam Makhacev belongs in the discussion as the top “P4P” in the world
Islam Makhachev’s spectacular performance has propelled him into the rigorous debate surrounding the world’s top Pound-for-Pound (P4P) fighter. Unlike their previous skirmish where Makhachev struggled, this time, he left an indelible imprint of his prowess. His clinical finish of Volkanovski, a feat no other fighter had achieved before, has now stirred conversations about the P4P crown, a prestigious title now seemingly a two-horse race between Makhachev and the legendary Jon Jones.
Fighting on short notice is a bad idea
The narrative of fighting on short notice unspooled as a cautionary tale for fighters. Both Volkanovski and Usman, who accepted the challenge with less than two weeks’ notice, faced adversaries in Makhachev and Chimaev who had the luxury of a full training camp. The repercussions were palpable, with Volkanovski enduring a grueling 26 lbs weight cut in 11 days and Usman’s venture into the middleweight abyss possibly marking an end of an era.
The end of Usman?
An emotional Usman, in his post-fight interview, reflected on a sterling career juxtaposed against the reality of age and physical toll. At 36, the Nigerian Nightmare faces a long, winding road back to title contention, a journey that may lead him into the twilight of his fighting career. His self-reflection underscored the relentless march of time that waits for no warrior, regardless of their accolades.
UFC 294 will be remembered for the dominance of Islam Makhachev and the rise of Khamzat Chimaev. While Makhachev can now mull over defending his lightweight belt against familiar foes or eye a coveted double-champion status against the winner of Edwards- Covington in the welterweight division, Chimaev’s path toward middleweight gold gleams with promise. His grappling prowess and indomitable spirit set a narrative of a burgeoning legend ready to etch his tale into the annals of the UFC history as he faces an opponent in Sean Strickland whose weakness is wrestling. UFC 294 gave us a stark reminder of the ruthless realm of mixed martial arts. The unforgiving octagon revealed yet again that while legends may falter, new ones are forged in the crucible of combat, ready to carry the torch into a new era of the UFC saga.
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