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UFC Veteran Li Jingliang Left Battles Undefeated Khamzat Chimaev Right

UFC Veteran Li Jingliang (Left) Battles Undefeated Khamzat Chimaev (Right)

Khamzat Chimaev Looking to Return to Form At UFC 267


At UFC 267 on October 30th, one of the UFC’s brightest prospects returns for the first time in over a year. This competitor is none other than the undefeated welterweight Khamzat “Borz” Chimaev (9 wins – 0 losses MMA/3-0 UFC). With over 2.6 million followers on Instagram, Chimaev is not an unknown. However, he is yet to be tested in his UFC tenure. His first true test will come in the form of #11 ranked welterweight “The Leech” Li Jingliang (18 wins – 6 losses MMA/10-4 UFC). A sharpshooter with the ability to turn the undefeated Chimaev’s lights out at any moment. This was showcased ten-fold against an extremely technical striker in Santiago Ponzinibbio (28 wins – 4 losses MMA/10-3 UFC). A right cross followed by a left hook on the chin, left Ponzinibbio motionless on the canvas.


Bursting on The Scene:

Khamzat Chimaev burst onto the scene at UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Ige on July 15th, 2020. A first round grappling/ground and pound showcase was punctuated with a D’arce choke submission for the tap from John Phillips. That is when “Borz” was born. Vowing to “Smash Everybody”, Chimaev would make the quickest turn around in UFC History. The newcomers second fight in the promotion took place just 10 days later, on July 25th at UFC Fight Night: Whittaker vs Till. This time against Rhys “Skeletor” McKee (11 wins – 4 losses – 1 draw MMA).

Chimaev quickly gained control with the body lock, before securing the takedown. Top pressure, dagestani handcuffs and ground and pound would prove to be too much for Mckee. Another first round stoppage, this time via strikes, would really get the fans talking about how far Chimaev could go in the premier organization. Now 2-0 in the UFC, Chimaev would soon face an over 40 fight veteran in Gerald “GM3” Meerschaert (33 wins -14 losses MMA) at UFC Fight Night: Covington vs Woodley. Only taking a brisk 17 seconds, Chimaev circled “GM3” into a furious right hand and crumbled him for the knockout victory. The 27-year-old from Chechnya, Russia was just getting started, before things seemed to unravel at a rapid pace.


A “Rocky” Road

Upon being 3-0 in the UFC, Chimaev’s chance to get in contention for UFC gold would arise much sooner than expected. This opportunity would come against a top contender at 170lbs in Leon “Rocky” Edwards (19 wins – 3 losses MMA/11-1 UFC) in the main event on December 19th. A man who was, in the fan’s eyes, knocking on the door of a title shot. However, the plan would not come to fruition quite yet.  Edwards would test positive for Covid-19, causing the fight to be re-scheduled for January 20th. 3 weeks later, and it seemed that we were about to see if the young upstart was the real deal. However, again the fight would be scrapped. This time, it being Chimaev who would test positive for Covid 19.

Khamzat Chimaev would suffer from a severe case of the virus, being immensely compromised for months to come. The illness would cause the fighter to withdrawal from a third booking scheduled for March 13th. The sickness took such a toll on Chimaev that he himself thought it to be life threatening. Aside from this, he would even go as far as to announce his retirement on social media. Chimaev would go on to state through Instagram, “I want to say thank you to everyone for their support in my path in this sport. I think I’m done”. He continued with, “It may upset you, but my heart and body tell me everything”. Following the emotional post, the entire social media platform was set ablaze in the combat sports community.

This retirement talk would be short lived, as his manager would say it was all written due to being “emotional”. Now, the potential contender and wrestling standout is back under the bright lights. A supremely tough match up and a ranked opponent, will show us where Chimaev lies amongst the top of the 170lb division. Will he continue his rise up the ranks and his journey for UFC gold? Or will the sharp striker Jingliang halt his momentum and break through to stardom in his own right? In less than 24 hours, on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, we will get our answer.

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