We have an incredible feature fight to look forward to this weekend, as Khamzat ‘Borz’ Chimaev returns to the octagon to face Gerald ‘GM3’ Meerschaert at UFC Vegas 11.
Chimaev was initially supposed to fight at UFC 252 last month, just three weeks after his last fight, but he was unable to obtain a visa and couldn’t come to the states considering. Now we get to see him fight this weekend.
And if he wins this fight, he’ll be fighting Demian Maia on October 24 at UFC 254 at 170 lbs. This fight with Meerschaert is at 185 lbs. Chimaev wants to stay active, and the UFC is making it happen, it’s pretty awesome to see.
Dana White and the UFC also helped him obtain a visa to travel to the United States in order to compete on this card, but his potential fight with Maia will be on Fight Island.
Meerschaert is actually a great test to see if Khamzat Chimaev is ready for someone like Maia, because he’s also a crafty black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Meerschaert came to the UFC with a 25-8 record, and had just won the RFA Middleweight Championship in his fight prior to joining. He was a proven finisher, and he was on a five-fight win streak, with his most recent defeat coming to Sam Alvey.
Even though he had 33 fights upon joining the UFC, he was still only 27-years-old.
He submitted Joe Gigliotti in round one with an anaconda choke in his UFC debut, after almost submitting him with a guillotine and then an armbar minutes prior.
Meerschaert then fought again just two months later and submitted Ryan Janes with an armbar from his guard. We knew now we had another real submission threat at 185 lbs.
We also knew he’s fighting out of Roufusport, and his good striking showed that as well. He was then TKO’d by Thiago Santos in round two, before TKO’ing Eric Spicely in round two with a body kick.
‘MG3’ followed that up with a second round technical submission (rear naked choke) over Oskar Piechota, before being submitted by Jack Hermansson and losing a split decision to Kevin Holland.
Since then, Meerschaert has gone 2-2, submitting both Trevin Giles (guillotine choke) and Deron Winn (rear naked choke), both of which he submitted in round three.
The two defeats came to Eryk Anders via split decision, and Ian Heinisch via TKO in round one.
Khamzat Chimaev also vacated his previously won pair of BRAVE CF Championships in order to join the UFC roster, and after seeing what he did in his first two fights with the promotion, it’s no wonder he was a champion prior to coming over.
Chimaev only came to the UFC two months ago in July, but racked up two finishes in ten days, breaking a UFC record for it in the process. He also out-struck his opponents 192-2 in total strikes in those two fights.
Chimaev first fought John Phillips, who he took down and just viciously beat until the end of round one. He did the same in round two, before securing the D’Arce choke finish at 1:07 of the round.
His next opponent was debutante Rhys McKee, who he steamrolled to a first round TKO victory. Though no one knew who McKee was, he’s one of the hottest prospects coming out of the UK. Chimaev made it look easy in both fights.
Now he gets his first real test in Gerald Meerschaert, it’ll be interesting to see how he handles it, he’s only 8-0 fighting someone with over 40 fights. When he fought Phillips in his debut, Phillips was only 1-3 in the UFC and 22-9 (1 NC) overall, but 20 of his 22 wins came via knockout, with the other two coming via submission.
Phillips was a very dangerous opponent to be making a UFC debut against, and in a weight class above his natural division of 170 lbs.
Khamzat Chimaev (8-0) vs. Gerlad Meerschaert (31-13)
This is such a great match up for so many reasons, we get to see what Chimaev is made of this Saturday. And if he passes this test, we’ll really get to see what he’s made of on October 24.
Chimaev, as stated above, once again fights in a weight class above his natural division, and though Meershcaert isn’t the biggest middleweight, he is a very big guy. It shouldn’t effect ‘Borz’ too much because he’s a big guy himself.
When you look at his picture with teammate Jimi Manuwa, he looks like a little slimmer version of him, and Manuwa is not a small light-heavyweight. Meerschaert will most likely be the biggest opponent Chimaev has fought in his professional mixed martial arts career however.
It’s pretty insane to see Chimaev be as heavy of a favorite as he is, he’s at -500, and Meerschaert is at +385. Chimaev doesn’t even have ten fights, though he fights like someone who’s been doing it his whole life.
Two things make this fight incredibly dangerous for Chimaev. One is that ‘GM3’ loves to fight off his back, and he’s very crafty from there. He can throw up just about anything from his guard, his diversity of submission attack is quite impressive.
Eight of Meerschaert’s thirteen losses come via submission however, but his first seven losses were from submissions, and he’s only been submitted once in the last seven-and-a-half years, to Jack Hermansson.
There’s no shame in that, Hermansson just heel hooked Kelvin Gastelum, and also guillotined high level BJJ black belt David Branch. Though Meerschaert has been submitted a good amount, it’s doubtful Chimaev will be able to do that.
The breakdown really relies on whether or not Chimaev gets submitted. Because Meerschaert will almost certainly welcome Chimaev to take him down, and Chimaev will definitely land some vicious ground-and-pound once he has him there, but he needs to be very careful.
Meerschaert’s striking is also very good, he has good counters, good kicks of all sorts, and he’s incredibly rangy. Chimaev trains with the likes of Jimi Manuwa and Alexander Gustafsson, two very high level strikers, and he has stated that he has good boxing, but we’ll have to wait and see him use it in order to judge.
The main questions going into this fight are: Can Chimaev keep from getting submitted? And also, what happens when Chimaev meets resistance? Every fight he’s had has been easy for him, he’s finished all eight of his opponents with five (T)KO’s and three submissions.
Of Meerschaert’s 31 wins, 23 come via submission with six knockouts and two decisions. The only two opponents to have finished him with strikes did it on the feet too, it’ll be interesting to see if Chimaev can get a TKO from ground-and-pound.
Gerald Meerschaert stands 6’1” and has a 77.5” reach, while Khamzat Chimaev is 6’2” with a 75” reach. Meerschaert is also 32-years-old at this point, while Chimaev is still just 26-years-old.
The UFC matched ‘Borz’ up with two strikers in his first two octagon appearances, and now they have him double-booked with two dangerous grapplers. Perhaps if he gets past these two they give him a high level wrestler next?
How do you see this epic middleweight feature fight going?