By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
After Charles Oliviera’s withdrawal in the upcoming main event of UFC 294 due to a deep cut on his eyebrow, Paulo Costa, the fighter who was supposed to square off against Khamzat Chimaev in the co-main event, also pulled out.
Replacing him in the fight card at Abu Dhabi is Kamaru Usman, one of the most decorated champions of the sport.
Usman, who moved up to middleweight after finishing his reign in the welterweight division, already accepted the challenge and will be available to fight Chimaev as per UFC President Dana White.
“We just got the big fight done yesterday. Costa’s hurt, but we will get it done. So, Khamzat Chimaev is moving up to middleweight and he will face, the no. 1 welterweight in the world Kamaru Usman,” announced White in a video uploaded on Instagram.
Chimaev, the undefeated Swedish mixed martial artist (MMA), will be facing a more experienced and seasoned fighter in Usman.
Known for his ground prowess and the ability to strike while backpedaling in weird angles, Chimaev is on the rise to become one of the top-contending middleweights of the UFC.
On the other hand, Usman also went up in the weight class after absorbing a welterweight title fight loss to Leon Edwards.
Despite the back-to-back losses, Usman will still go down as one of the best welterweights to ever set foot in the octagon.
He defended his championship belt five times before falling to Edwards and will be making his highly-anticipated UFC return after seven months.