Nigerian-American fighter, Kamaru Usman lost to Khamzat Chimaev in a Middleweight match at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night, October 21.
Chimaev successfully extended his undefeated record by beating Usman, the former welterweight champion, via a majority decision.
Chimaev struck a single-leg early in the bout, pursuing the opponent without holding back. Usman initially successfully defended the attacks, but Chimaev persisted and eventually forced the “Nigerian Nightmare” to the ground.
The fight moved much more slowly in the second round. Rather than press the wrestling, Chimaev opted to strike in a slow kickboxing match for the majority of the round. He took out his opponent with thirty seconds left in the round, but he did not do much with it.
This added intrigue to the third and final round. Usman got off to a strong rally. He controlled the distance and displayed some solid boxing, but Chimaev changed gears and stopped him quickly with a double-leg takedown.
Usman eventually made his way back to his feet during the final thirty seconds as both men presented their closing arguments to win the bout. In the end, the dominant Khamzat Chimaev emerged victorious.
Before his current three-fight losing streak, Usman had successfully defended his welterweight title five times in a row, twice against Leon Edwards.
Chimaev was supposed to fight Paulo Costa in this bout, but Costa withdrew with an elbow injury, so Usman had to accept the fight with only ten days’ notice and gain weight quickly.
After beating Kamaru Usman, Chimaev is expected to have an opportunity to battle for the middleweight title, according to UFC president Dana White.
“That is an absolute fact,” White told The Pat McAfee Show. “The fact that these guys are taking this fight on short notice, (the winner) will get the next shot at the title barring injuries and other things that can possibly happen.”
Sean Strickland, who defeated Nigerian-Australian UFC star, Israel Adesanya in August, is currently the holder of the Middleweight title. Based on the assertion of the UFC president, he might have to defend his title against the dreaded Chimaev anytime soon.