Khamzat Chimaev and Gilbert Burns at UFC 273 lived up to all the hype being built around it, and no fight had the MMA community buzzing more than this three round war. Both had signature moments in the fights and opportunities to finish the other fighter, however Chimaev came out on top via unanimous decision.
This marked the first time Chimaev was tested in the octagon, as the Chechnyan welterweight had just one significant strike landed on him in his first four fights. Against the second-ranked contender in the world, however, Chimaev landed less strikes and significant strikes throughout the entire fight. Burns was a real challenge, and some would go as far to say that the Brazilian won.
This close call has fans and analysts asking: is the Chimaev hype train coming to a halt? After this close call, is he actually ready to face off against champion Kamaru Usman?
This article will explain why Khamzat Chimaev WAS NOT exposed last weekend, and why this can help in the long-term for the fighter to secure a belt.
Burns vs Chimaev Review
Deemed as the people’s main event before the card began, Chimaev vs. Burns was a treat for UFC fans worldwide, and would go onto win the fight of the night award. The fight started with “Borz” getting a signature takedown that did not lead to a finish, but set the tone for the entire round.
Chimaev dominated the first five minutes, and was even close to recording an early finish in the final minute of the round, but Burns skillfully escaped the high-pressure situation. That momentum carried into the next round, as Burns took control, winning the second on his feet. The signature moment of the round and maybe the fight was a hook landed by “Durinho” that made the undefeated Chimaev stumble. This was the first time he was seen in a compromised situation.
The final round was closer than the first two, however Chimaev managed to collect himself and fight like a champion to close out the brawl. Of all the matchups on Saturday’s card, this deserved to go five rounds more than any other.
Why Chimaev Flashed Champion Traits
This hiccup from Khamzat Chimaev is planting doubt in the heads of UFC spectators, as he did not replicate the level of dominance exhibited in the first four fights. However, this is the perfect wake-up call in order for Chimaev to compete against the weight class’ top competition.
The young fighter was overconfident against top competition, proven through his desire to get a knockout and a flashy finish early. His heavy energy output in the first round got him in trouble in round two, nearly getting knocked out.
However, Chimaev was able to make mid-fight adjustments to his advantage, and was calm and collected late, despite never being in a situation like this before. His chin and stamina is better than many expected, and surely has the conditioning to complete five championship rounds.
Another takeaway I had in favor of Chimaev’s title run was his dominance on the ground. He did not utilize the takedown nearly as much as he should have, but Borz was the stronger grappler and wrestler and completely dominated that aspect.
What makes this so impressive is that Burns is the best jiu-jitsu fighter in the weight class, and he was made a one-dimensional fighter. If Khamzat has the advantage grappling against Burns, he will fare well against anybody in the world.
Betting Odds for Future Fights
Las Vegas oddsmakers already released betting odds for potential matchups between Khamzat Chimaev and both Colby Covington and Kamaru Usman. Chimaev is a -125 favorite against the American Covington, and a +115 underdog against champion Usman.
Chimaev’s top-tier wrestling gives him a major advantage against “Chaos” Covington, who often relies on his grappling game to record wins. I believe Chimaev beats the number one ranked contender in similar fashion as he did Burns.
A potential Usman fight will be the contender’s largest test, but I truly believe Khamzat Chimaev can take the belt from the pound-for-pound top ranked fighter.
If you are interested in seeing where Conor goes next, check out this article.
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