Video: Did the UFC 294 main event get better with the Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski rematch?

The MMA world was cruising along to a UFC 294 lightweight title fight between champion Islam Makhachev and ex-champ Charles Oliveira. Then the rug got pulled out.

Oliveira had to pull out with an injury less than two weeks before the Saturday headliner at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. The UFC had what seemed to be a handful of options for someone to step in for the Brazilian to gun for Makhachev’s belt – and it went the person who had the most recent crack at the title.

Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski (26-2 MMA, 13-1 UFC) stepped up on short notice to fight Makhachev (24-1 MMA, 13-1 UFC) not long after his unanimous decision loss in February, when he tried to become a simultaneous two-division titleholder.

Did Volkanovski make the most sense? His fight with Makhachev the first time was a close one, and some observers thought Volkanovski won the fight. Or should the UFC have gone a different direction, perhaps with a true lightweight who has been fighting in the division?

That’s what we asked this week’s “Spinning Back Clique” panel. UFC Hall of Famer and guest panelist Cub Swanson, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Nolan King broke it down with host “Gorgeous” George Garcia. Check out their discussion in the video above. And don’t miss this week’s complete episode below.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 294.

“Spinning Back Clique” is released each Monday LIVE on MMA Junkie’s YouTube channel at noon ET. You can also find each episode on your favorite podcast platforms – including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and more – on Tuesday mornings.

Be sure to visit the MMA Junkie Instagram page and YouTube channel to discuss this and more content with fans of mixed martial arts.

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