Khamzat Chimaev Gets New UFC 294 Opponent After Paulo Costa Withdraws

What happened?

UFC 294 has undergone another major change as Paulo Costa has pulled out of his scheduled co-main event fight against Khamzat Chimaev due to a staph infection and a bursitis injury in his right elbow. The Brazilian fighter revealed the news in a since-deleted social media post, where he explained that he had undergone surgery to clean the infection and was taking antibiotics, but the doctors did not clear him to fight.

Costa’s withdrawal comes just a day after the original main event between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev was also scrapped due to Oliveira’s injury. The UFC quickly found a replacement for that fight, as featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski agreed to move up to lightweight and face Makhachev on short notice.

Who is the new opponent?

The UFC did not waste any time in finding a new opponent for Chimaev, who has been out of action for over a year due to health issues related to COVID-19. The promotion announced that former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman will step up to face Chimaev in a middleweight bout at UFC 294.

Usman, who lost his 170-pound title to Leon Edwards in March, will move up to 185 pounds for the first time in his UFC career. The Nigerian fighter had previously defended his belt five times, including wins over Jorge Masvidal, Colby Covington, and Tyron Woodley.

Chimaev, who is undefeated in 12 professional fights, will look to continue his impressive run in the UFC, where he has won six bouts in two different weight classes. The Chechen-Swedish fighter has finished all of his opponents in the first or second round, with his most recent win coming against Kevin Holland at UFC 279 in September.

What are the stakes?

The new co-main event between Usman and Chimaev is a highly intriguing matchup that could have significant implications for both fighters’ careers. Usman will try to bounce back from his recent losses and prove himself as a threat in the middleweight division, while Chimaev will attempt to extend his winning streak and cement his status as one of the most dominant fighters in the sport.

Both fighters are known for their wrestling skills and their ability to control their opponents on the ground. However, they also have striking power and can finish fights with their punches or kicks. The fight will likely be a test of wills and endurance, as both men are used to imposing their pace and pressure on their foes.

The winner of the fight could potentially earn a title shot against the current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, who is expected to defend his belt against Robert Whittaker in early 2024. The loser of the fight could face a setback in their quest for gold, but could still remain in the mix with a strong performance.

When and where is the fight?

UFC 294 will take place on Thursday, Oct. 21 at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. The main card will start at 10 p.m. ET (6 a.m. local time), with the prelims kicking off at 7 p.m. ET (3 a.m. local time). The event will be available on pay-per-view via ESPN+ in the U.S., BT Sport Box Office in the U.K., and other providers around the world.

The main event will feature Volkanovski vs. Makhachev for the interim lightweight title, while the co-main event will showcase Usman vs. Chimaev in a middleweight bout. The rest of the main card will include fights between Cynthia Calvillo and Jessica Eye, Andrei Arlovski and Tom Aspinall, and Dan Hooker and Nasrat Haqparast.

UFC 294 promises to be an exciting night of fights that fans should not miss. With two title fights and several other intriguing matchups, the event will deliver plenty of action and drama for MMA enthusiasts.