Lightweight champion Islam Makhachev retained his title with a first-round stoppage of Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 294 on Saturday night in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
This was a rematch from UFC 284 in February, when Makhachev of Russia won by unanimous decision. Featherweight champion Volkanovski of Australia, taking the fight 11 days earlier, moved up to the 155-pound limit to be a replacement Saturday for former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira, who suffered an injury during training.
This fight didn’t get past 3:06 of the first round. The 31-year-old Makhachev (25-1-0, five KOs) took down the 35-year-old Volkanovski (26-3, 13 KOs) with a head kick and finished him off with strikes on the ground.
In the co-main event, Chechen middleweight Khamzat Chimaev defeated Kamaru Usman by majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28).
Usman, 36, regarded as one of the best fighters of his generation and a former UFC welterweight champion, had taken the fight on 11 days’ notice. The Nigeria native and Florida resident filled in after two other fighters, Paulo Costa and Jared Cannonier, were injured.
Chimaev, 29, improved to 7-0 in UFC by dominating the first round, losing momentum in the second and getting a takedown in the third before a flurry of action to the final bell.
On the undercard, the light heavyweight bout between Magomed Ankalaev and Johnny Walker of Brazil was declared a no contest because of the former’s accidental foul at 3:13 of Round 1.
Walker took the unintentional and illegal knee to the head while his knee was touching the canvas. Walker wanted to continue the bout but the cage-side physician ruled him ineligible, much to his displeasure, and he motioned Ankalaev to keep fighting before the situation was controlled.
–Field Level Media