The former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman lost his third straight UFC fight to the unbeaten Khamzat Chimaev in a middleweight match at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. Chimaev beat the Nigerian by majority decision to improve his record to 13-0.
While the fight was still young, Chimaev could have spent more time going to work. He went after a single-leg right away. Usman did an excellent job defending it initially, but Chimaev didn’t give up and knocked out the Nigerian Nightmare.
From there, he was in charge of the rest of the round, spending most of it on Usman’s back and threatening to submit him.
In the second round, the fight moved much more slowly. For most of the game, Chimaev didn’t use his wrestling skills. Instead, he chose to hit in a slow kickboxing match. Almost at the end of the game, he got a takedown but didn’t do much with it.
Thus began an enjoyable third and last round. Usman got things going with a good comeback. He had control of the distance and hit some good punches, but Chimaev changed levels and caught him with a double-leg takedown, stopping him in his tracks.
In the end, Usman returned to his feet in the last 30 seconds, when both men finished making their cases to win the feet.
Usman has lost his last three fights, two of them to Leon Edwards. Before that, he had defended his middleweight title five times.
Chimaev was meant to fight Paulo Costa here, but he pulled out because he hurt his elbow. Usman then agreed to fight, but he only had ten days to prepare and had to gain weight in that time.
Now that he beat the past champion, he will probably get a chance to win some UFC gold. Dana White just recently said the same thing on The Pat McAfee Show.
As White put it, “that is a fact.” “Because these guys agreed to fight at the last minute, the winner will get the next chance at the title unless they get hurt or something else happens.”
Israel Adesanya’s shocking loss to Sean Strickland has caused a lot of changes in the middleweight class. The Last Stylebender was the winner until he lost to Alex Pereira, but things have changed.
Chimaev will give Strickland a different test, so he may have much to show.