Unbeaten phenomenon Khamzat Chimaev handed the most important check of his younger profession on Saturday at UFC 273 after battle-tested veteran Gilbert Burns pushed him simply wanting the top of his bodily limits.
In a surefire battle of the 12 months candidate and one of many best motion fights in UFC historical past, Chimaev improved to 11-0 following a unanimous resolution (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) inside VyStar Veterans Memorial Area in Jacksonville, Florida. The three-round bout marked the primary time Chimaev, 27, went the space since turning professional in 2018.
Chimaev, a local of Chechnya, Russia, who fights out of Stockholm, Sweden, has grow to be maybe probably the most hyped prospect in UFC historical past and he lived as much as it by displaying the center and harm resistance of a champion as Burns lured him right into a bloody and dramatic brawl.
“A f—ing powerful man, I did not know he was so powerful,” Chimaev stated of Burns. “The man comes up with Brazilian coronary heart. Thanks for this battle, Gilbert. I really like you, brother, all respect. That is simply what I do for work to generate income.
“He did three rounds sturdy. I f—ing labored exhausting for every little thing. I by no means cease my coaching if I am not injured however that man was f—ing good at the moment.”
Burns (20-5), the uncommon elite fighter who went out of his method to supply his identify as a check for the rising Chimaev, confirmed the form of grit and aggressiveness that has grow to be his calling card as revered title contender. Simply 15 months after he misplaced a shot at Kamaru Usman’s welterweight title regardless of dropping the defending champion, the 35-year-old Burns routinely answered the massive strikes of Chimaev so as to maintain his floor.
“I am going towards the chances, I do not care. I’ll battle anybody, it would not matter,” Burns stated. “My purpose is to grow to be the champion and I’ve to battle the hardest guys. Each time I’m in right here, I’m going to provide every little thing that I’ve. They’re going to should f—ing kill me. I will not cease.”
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Chimaev landed the primary big strike of the battle when a proper hand visibly harm Burns in Spherical 1. However the native of Brazil rallied properly by mixing calf strikes with highly effective counter proper arms. Chimaev appeared to safe the opening body, nonetheless, when he adopted up a entrance kick with a stiff jab to drop Burns, who started bleeding quickly after from a punch to the highest of the pinnacle.
Burns continued to carry his floor in Spherical 2 and went on to briefly drop Chimaev with a brief left hook because the drama within the battle intensified. Chimaev popped again as much as land an enormous mixture earlier than a brawl ensued with Chimaev quickly bleeding from his nostril.
Chimaev was dropped a second time to finish Spherical 2 on a counter proper from Burns. The ultimate spherical noticed Chimaev on the verge of stopping Burns after hurting him with a flurry to the physique. With each fighters exhausted, Burns landed a pair of rights late.
“I’m blissful. This stage is what I’ve been ready for a very long time,” Chimaev stated. “I needed to be 11-0 with 11 finishes. However I really like this stage.”