Robert Whittaker can see ‘energy efficient’ Sean Strickland giving Khamzat Chimaev a hard fight

Robert Whittaker believes that Sean Strickland will present a significant challenge to Khamzat Chimaev.

Chimaev (13-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) was recently named the No. 1 contender after earning a majority decision victory over Kamaru Usman at UFC 294. Despite this, middleweight champion Strickland expressed doubts about Chimaev’s performance and his worthiness of a title shot – a sentiment shared by Whittaker.

While Chimaev had a strong first round against Usman, Whittaker believes that the fighter’s performance began to decline as the match progressed. This decline could pose a challenge in a five-round fight against Strickland (28-5 MMA, 15-5 UFC).

“Usman’s a tough opponent, and Chimaev defeated him,” Whittaker stated during his MMArcade Podcast appearance. “However, I don’t think his victory was enough to warrant a title shot. Strickland shares the same sentiment. It is what it is. It’s hard to predict how Chimaev will fare against other middleweights. Styles make fights, but he’ll be going up against Strickland, who possesses strong takedown defense and an unorthodox striking style.”

“I can envisage Strickland giving Chimaev a formidable challenge,” Whittaker continued. “I believe it will be a closely contested battle. Chimaev won’t simply overpower him. Over the course of five rounds, Strickland’s energy efficiency becomes more prominent. If there’s anyone capable of enduring the rounds, it’s Strickland.”

However, the oddsmakers have a different perspective. According to DraftKings, Chimaev is favored to win at -310 odds, meaning a $310 wager on “Borz” would yield a $100 profit. On the other hand, Strickland is considered the underdog at +250 odds, signifying that a $100 bet on the champion would result in a $250 payout.

This story initially appeared on MMA Junkie


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