Charles Oliveira is officially getting his rematch against Islam Makhachev at UFC 294.
UFC president Dana White announced Wednesday the current and former lightweight champions will face each other in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 21 as the main event of a card that will also see Khamzat Chimaev move back up to middleweight and face Paulo Costa.
Costa was previously slated to face Ikram Aliskerov at UFC 291 next week. Instead, Aliskerov will also move to 294, where he will face Nassourdine Imavov.
Makhachev captured the UFC lightweight belt at UFC 280 last October with a second-round submission of Oliveira, who lost his belt after coming in a half-pound overweight against Justin Gaethje and was trying to win the vacant title back against Makhachev.
It took only title defense against UFC pound-for-pound king Alexander Volkanovski, who was attempting to capture a second belt, for Makhachev to move into the top 3 of the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings.
The lightweight division remains stacked with fan favorites and impressive fighters, but Oliveira got his rematch with a first-round TKO of Beneil Dariush last month. If he wins, Oliveira will become the first two-time UFC lightweight champion in the promotion’s history. It would also tie him for third on the UFC’s all-time win list with 22, behind only Jim Miller’s 25.
The question remains how Oliveira can approach his fight against Makhachev differently. Oliveira rose to the top of the rankings by punishing some of the UFC’s top strikers, but he didn’t have much of an answer for Makhachev’s wrestling prowess.
As for Chimaev, the UFC is still trying to figure out just how high he can reach. His 12-0 record doesn’t even reflect the dominance he’s displayed; his lone decision win came against welterweight contender Gilbert Burns, while the rest of his UFC opponents have recorded a grand total of one significant strike on him.
Costa will be fighting for the first time since his win over Luke Rockhold last August. Before that, his first win had been in 2019 due to a failed title challenge against Israel Adesanya in 2020 and a loss to Marvin Vettori in 2021.