Khamzat Chimaev sees off valiant Kamaru Usman in UFC 294 co-main event

Khamzat Chimaev emerged victorious against a determined Kamaru Usman at UFC 294 on Saturday, defeating the former welterweight champion on points in the co-main event.

Originally scheduled to face Paulo Costa in Abu Dhabi, Chimaev’s opponent had to withdraw due to an elbow injury, leading Usman to step in
10 days prior.

Usman, a former welterweight champion from 2018 to 2022, moved up in weight class for this short-notice fight against one of the most formidable prospects in MMA.

Chimaev, with an unbeaten record of 12-0 and 11 finishes at both welterweight and middleweight, posed a significant challenge for the 36-year-old Usman. However, the Nigerian-American fighter showcased his skills despite the loss.

As anticipated, Chimaev started the fight aggressively, taking Usman down and controlling him for most of the first round. The “Wolf” even came close to securing a standing rear naked choke, but Usman prevented it with a Hail Mary move, slamming his opponent to break free.

Usman opted for energy conservation early in the second round, while Chimaev seemed to do the same. In that period, Usman showcased his striking abilities, outperforming Chimaev with precise strikes from both stances. Although Chimaev managed to land a late takedown, Usman effectively neutralized him until the end of the round.

In the final round, Usman continued to dominate the striking exchanges and prevented multiple takedowns from Chimaev. Usman’s own takedown attempt failed, allowing Chimaev to take him down once again and gain more control time.

Usman got the better of Chimaev in the striking exchanges but was controlled in the grappling throughout (EPA)

Although Usman rallied towards the end of the fight, Chimaev’s performance secured him a majority-decision victory with two scorecards reading 29-27 and one reading 28-28.

It is speculated that Chimaev’s next challenge will be against middleweight champion Sean Strickland, who stunned Israel Adesanya in September, causing one of the biggest upsets in UFC history.

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