Dana White Confirms Back Up for Charles Oliveira, Islam Makhachev UFC 294 Fight as Mateusz Gamrot Secures Crucial Spot for LW Title Fight

Published 10/08/2023, 3:41 AM EDT

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In a highly anticipated rematch, Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira are scheduled to face off once again at UFC 294. This event will take place at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, the same venue where their previous encounter unfolded. MMA fans around the world are eagerly awaiting this clash on October 21, hoping it will settle the score definitively.

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As is customary in the UFC, there’s always a contingency plan in place. CEO Dana White confirmed in a post-UFC Vegas 80 press conference that a backup fighter is ready to step in should either Makhachev or Oliveira be unable to compete. And he is ‘game’ to take on either opponent!

Dana White confirms ‘Gamer’ will be the backup for Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira

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Both Makhachev and Oliveira are regarded as two of the finest mixed martial artists globally, and fans are eagerly anticipating their second showdown. In their first bout, the Dagestani fighter dethroned the seemingly invincible ‘Do Bronx’ with a skillfully executed arm triangle choke. Makhachev, fresh off a win against featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284, aims to solidify his legacy as one of the premier lightweights in the sport.

In an interview with ESPN, Makhachev shared his motivation for the rematch, highlighting that he emerged from their first encounter unscathed and didn’t feel Oliveira’s power. He stated, “Last fight I took zero damage, I don’t feel the power from Charles. Maybe he changed something, I hope…”

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Standing by as a potential replacement is UFC lightweight contender Mateusz Gamrot. In an interview with a Polish TV channel, Gamrot confirmed his role as the backup fighter for the main event at UFC 294. UFC CEO Dana White later verified these reports during a press conference. Acknowledging Gamrot’s preparedness for the role by stating, “Yes, its true” when asked if ‘Gamer’ is indeed the backup for the fight.

Gamrot recently secured a victory over Rafael Fiziev, extending his winning streak to two. And positioning himself as a contender for the lightweight title. However, with his role as a backup confirmed, he might get his chance sooner than he would have expected. But there is one other man who is making a claim for his shot at the title.

The UFC lightweight title picture is shaping up to be quite intriguing

If Makhachev emerges victorious, Justin Gaethje is on the horizon for a title shot. Ali Abdelaziz, the manager of both Makhachev and Gaethje, expressed this possibility. He stated that if Islam wins, a matchup with Gaethje is what they desire and what the UFC wants.

In an interview with ‘The Schmo’ he stated, “If Islam wins, he will fight Justin Gaethje next. This is what we want, this is what the UFC wants. Justin Gaethje earned it, too. You don’t go out there and knock out Dustin Poirier like that and don’t get a title shot.”

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Gaethje’s own journey to a title shot has included fights against the elite of the division like Khabib Nurmagomedov, Charles Oliveira, Michael Chandler, and most recently, Dustin Poirier. Making him a rightful contender in the lightweight division.

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Meanwhile Gamrot exudes confidence in his ability to defeat either of the main event fighters. And he eagerly anticipates his opportunity, whether it materializes on October 21 or at a later date. Since becoming a part of the UFC, this Polish fighter has amassed a record of 6 wins and 2 losses. He has achieved victories against formidable opponents, including Rafael Fiziev, Jeremy Stephens, and Jalin Turner. And arguably his most notable triumph, Arman Tsarukyan.

For Islam Makhachev, a win over Charles Oliveira would mark his second successful title defense. As the date approaches, MMA fans worldwide will be tuning in to witness this highly anticipated rematch between two of the sport’s most formidable competitors.

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Who do you have as your pick to win the rematch, Oliveira or Makhachev? Share it with us in the comments below!

Watch This Story: Charles Oliveira’s Latest Sparring Footage Before The Islam Makhachev Fight At UFC 294 Leaves Fans In Awe 

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Written by:

Dushyant Patni

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Dushyant Patni is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. He fell in love with MMA at the tender age of fourteen and his appreciation for the craft has led him to become a practitioner, too. With a master's degree in English and an extensive background as a writer and editor, he uses his technical ability to articulate the nuances of the sport.
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Edited by:

Yeswanth Praveen

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