Khamzat Chimaev made his much anticipated return on the UFC 267 main card on Saturday.
Chimaev was paired up with a fan favorite in “The Leech” Li Jingliang, but the Abu Dhabi crowd on Saturday was clearly in Khamzat’s corner.
Mere seconds in, Chimaev ducked down and shot for a takedown. Jingliang showed some impressive takedown defense, but Chimaev stayed on the attempt, hoisted Jingliang up, held him there for a second, appeared to actually say something to Dana White, then threw him down.
In that one sequence, Khamzat Chimaev reminded all those watching just why he’d been such a highly touted prospect upon entering the UFC.
Chimaev then worked along the fence, controlling from the back of Jingliang, who defended by fighting hands. Chimaev peppered the Chinese fighter with punches, then found room to slip one hook in, followed by another. From there, Chimaev flattened Jingliang out; “The Leech” covered up, but was barely defending as the ground n’ pound rained down. That opened up enough space for a rear-naked choke, and Jingliang looked ready to go out. He fought valiantly, but Chimaev switched sides, re-applied the choke, and Li Jingliang went to sleep!
THE HYPE IS REAL!!!!!!!!@KChimaev is a baaaaaaad man 😤
— UFC (@ufc) October 30, 2021
Earlier this year, Khamzat Chimaev feared for his life while battling COVID-19. Saturday, he looked as good as ever.
Official Result: Khamzat Chimaev def. Li Jingliang by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 1, 3:16