Forced the distance for the first time in his professional mixed martial arts career at UFC 273 on Saturday, Khamzat Chimaev has admitted that he wanted no part of opponent, Gilbert Burns’ grappling, after the Brazilian attempted to synch up an opening round armbar during a scramble.
Making just his fifth Octagon outing, Khamzat Chimaev, who entered the bout as the #11 ranked contender at the welterweight limit, battled to a hard-fought unanimous decision win over the #2 rated, one-time title chaser, Burns – absorbing a whopping 119 strikes after absorbing just a single strike in four fights prior.
The Chechen-born contender started aggressively against Burns, forcing the Niteroi native to fight off the fence for the majority of the fight, in fact – and managed to land his own knockout courtesy of a jab late into the opening round.
Finding himself on the receiving end of brutal counter shots and overhand strikes from Sanford MMA staple, Burns in the second round, however, Chimaev was actually momentarily dropped toward the end of the frame – walking onto a massive right overhand from Burns, before a scramble ahead of the buzzer.
Turning up the pace in the third and final frame, the now-battled tested Chimaev managed to leave the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena with his undefeated streak in tow, and arguably, the most impressive scalp of his young career to date – lodging a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) victory over the Brazilian.
Khamzat Chimaev admits he was very cautious of Gilbert Burns’ grappling ability
Spending almost the entirety of the fifteen-minute limit standing and trading with Burns, Chimaev managed to land a pair of takedowns, however, but insisted post-fight that a wily armbar attempt from Burns during a certain scramble forced him back to his feet as he remained cautious of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace’s offensive prowess.
“Yeah, I was too respectful for his (Gilbert Burns’) grappling, that’s why I didn’t work on the ground (in the fight),” Khamzat Chimaev said on the UFC 273 post-fight show. “When I touched him the first time, I take him (down), it’s like – he’s not that strong in wrestling.”
“When I took him down, he tried to like, took (an) armbar (or) something,” Khamzat Chimaev explained. “I was like, no, I don’t like that sh*t. I’m gonna go up and knock him out, yeah.”
Extending his promotional perfect run to five straight fights, the AllStars MMA staple has been linked to a potential title-eliminator clash with the #1 ranked contender, former interim titleholder, Colby Covington off the back of his back-and-forth win over Burns.