Islam Makhachev’s next title defense is no longer a secret.
The UFC lightweight champion will defend his belt against former champion Charles Oliveira in a rematch in the main event of UFC 294 on October 21 in Abu Dhabi, UFC President Dana White announced Wednesday night.
ESPN has placed Makhachev at No. 2 in the world pound for pound and Oliveira at No. 6. The two fought last October at UFC 280, with Makhachev defeating Oliveira in the second round to win the then-vacant UFC Lightweight Title.
Makhachev (24-1) claimed a unanimous victory over featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284 in February. The Dagestan native has won 12 fights in a row, all in the UFC. Makhachev, 31, is the longtime training partner and student of former longtime lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Oliveira (34-9, 1 NC) defeated Beneil Dariush by TKO in the first round at UFC 289 last month, setting up the rematch. The Brazilian-born fighter won the lightweight title in May 2021, beating Michael Chandler. However, in May 2022, ahead of a fight with Justin Gaethje, he lost weight and was stripped of his belt. Oliveira, 33, has the most finishes (20) and submission wins (16) in UFC history.
Following Volkanovski’s dominant title defense against Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290 on July 8, there was speculation that Makhachev could face Volkanovski in an immediate rematch. But Oliveira was the UFC’s first pick for this fight after beating Dariush last month.