Information that a lightweight title rematch between Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira on Jan. 20 will headline UFC 297 in Toronto is not true.
This was reported by the Russian fighter’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, who commented on a social media insider from Canadian sports columnist Ariel Helwani.
“The news that Islam Makhachev is fighting Chalz Oliveira in January is a fake,” the manager wrote.
According to Helwani’s version, the management of the strongest league in the world decided to appoint the rematch of Makhachev and Oliveira as the main event of the Canadian numbered event, because Alexander Volkanovski, two weeks knocked out by the Russian, will not be able to make a defense of the UFC featherweight title against Elijah Topuria in January. That said, the reporter claims that the Volkanovski vs. Topuria fight has been tentatively rescheduled for February.
As for Charles Oliveira, he too seems to be off the hook for a title fight in two and a half months.
“We ourselves just heard backstage about fighting Makhachev in January,” the Brazilian said while speaking to reporters at UFC Fight Night 231 in Sao Paulo. “People are starting to ask us questions, but this is the first time we’re hearing about it. All in all, it could be January, so who knows.”
The day before, there were reports that the Russian is scheduled to make another title defense on March 2 at the UFC event in Riyadh.
Recall that the rematch between Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira was supposed to headline UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi on October 21, however, twelve days before the event, the Brazilian suffered a dissection and lost his title shot to Alexander Volkanovski, who took the fight on short notice and suffered an early defeat, losing by knockout in the first round.
The first fight between Makhachev and Oliveira took place last October, when the Russian finished the Brazilian with an arm-triangle choke in the second round and won the vacant UFC lightweight championship belt.