MacMally UFC 294 Preview

The good times just keep on coming inside the octagon, and our man Mac Mally is on hand once again to give Bodog Sportsbook another piece of insight. It’s time for Mac’s UFC 294 preview.

This fight card has been insane and it hasn’t even started yet. We have a late notice of a massive co-main and main event switch up that somehow made the card… better? That’s up for debate but let’s dive into this weekend’s PPV in Abu Dhabi with my UFC 294 preview.


Remember that time Dana White sold the idea of fight island to us like it was some remote tropical island with a cage on the beach like it would be the one spot on the world specifically designated for the world’s best fighters to resolve their differences with violence? That ended up just being an arena in Abu Dhabi. I digress.

Walker vs Ankalaev

Johnny Walker vs Magomed Ankalaev is one of those fights that has two almost certain predictable outcomes. Magomed might be the most well-rounded and versatile fighter in the 205 division. Johnny Walker has shown notable improvements of late and put together an impressive 3 fight win streak over some notable names. With that said, this one is as clear cut as a lock for Ankalaev as it gets. Walker’s only foreseeable victory outcome is doing some Johnny Walker sh*t. Ankalaev takes him out in under 2 rounds.

Chimaev vs Kamaru

Khamzat Chimaev vs Kamaru Usman is the fight we always knew we wanted but didn’t think we were going to get. THIS ONE MAKES ME WANT TO TYPE IN ALL CAPS. I don’t think this fight is predictable. I’ll explain. We are now seeing Khamzat make his legit run to the title at middleweight. I think we can kiss 170 goodbye.

So what does a “full send” bulk Khamzat Chimaev look like without holding back? Kamaru Usman was literally being discussed as one of the best ever just over a year ago. Although he’s spoken about making the move, he will be making the jump to middleweight but with nowhere near the intended prep time Khamzat has had. Also, will Kamaru’s knees hold up? I don’t think he would have taken this fight if he didn’t believe they would. That will remain to be seen.

Lastly, and my favourite thing, is these are two of the best grapplers in all of MMA going head to head with 4oz gloves as nature intended. When we see two grappling elites they seem to generally throw caution to the wind and bite down on their mouthpiece and swing for the fences. I think this will be a game of chicken and possibly half-butt attempts at takedowns gambling their wrestling egos. This fight will stay on the feet unless Khamzat tests his knees and we find out they are as bad as we thought and capitalizes on the weakness and growing confidence in grappling Kamaru.

With all that said, Usman being an underdog just sounds like free plus money. I can’t say with certainty who wins this but I’m definitely sprinkling on Kamaru as an underdog because, uhhhh, it’s Kamaru Usman. Knees or not, that right hand can absolutely go “brrrr”.

Volkanovski vs Makhachev

Where do I even begin with the main event? As fun as Charles is, how can anyone hate on this replacement rematch? It was a close fight the first time around but will it be this time? Let me hit you with some bro science because I feel like that’s all we have to go off on a late replacement rematch in this instance. Volkanovski was the first to make Islam Makhachev look human since Adriano Martins caught him with a flash KO. Islam has grown leaps and bounds since then to be fair but the chin remains capable of being cracked.

The thing I focus on is the two week notice variable. Volkanovski isn’t the type of guy to let himself go in-between fights even when a surgery is involved. His cardio has never been an issue and is possibly his greatest attribute. Does his cardio take a hit being on late notice or does his strength get a boost? Does rematching your toughest opponent on 12 days’ notice make it easier or tougher for Islam?

I wish I had full proof answers. I could break down the technicalities of this fight and what each could perhaps do better or capitalize on, but this isn’t the same fight as the last time. They were both ready or getting ready for someone else. I’m going to do something I usually don’t do and say I fully think Volkanovski goes out there with the weight off his shoulders and finds a way to get it done. A man that doesn’t have anything to lose is not someone you ever want to look past in a fist fight. Especially when he dragged you into a 5 round war he could have arguably won the first time around. Volkanovski by decision. Or Islam by submission by the 4th round. I’ll be betting on Alexander Volkanovski because I have a feeling in my plums and I have a pair of my Air Max’s in the fridge ready to bust out a shoey when it happens.


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