UFC 273: Khamzat Chimaev Battles Past Gilbert Burns in Fight of the Year Candidate

Khamzat Chimaev UFC Vegas 11
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 19: Khamzat Chimaev of Chechnya celebrates after his knockout victory over Gerald Meerschaert in their middleweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on September 19, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Big fight feel. Electric. Intense. The usual descriptors could be applied to Khamzat Chimaev vs. Gilbert Burns at UFC 273.

But there was something else. Something intangible. It was clear from the time Chimaev pretty much full-on sprinted to the cage Saturday, that something special was about to unfold. By the time Gilbert Burns hit the cage, there was indeed electricity in the air. And what would ensue was a three-round nail-biter.

Chimaev opened with a couple of front kicks, fired a punch, changed levels, and hunted the takedown. Burns was able to fight that off, and ate a few knees, at least one of which looked low. Chimaev stayed on the attempt, with Burns against the fence, and eventually completed it. But Burns was soon back up, albeit with Chimaev still on him. Burns rolled, “Borz” rolled with him, body lock in place. When Chimaev got some space, he wound up on his feet, with Burns resting on his back. Chimaev let his opponent back up, and they reset.

Burns would then throw a right, but it was Chimaev doing more damage with his hands, and a body kick. Another right hand pushed Chimaev back however. Burns was able to sneak in a left, but Chimaev answered with a combination. A right hand by Burns was blocked. On the next exchange, it was a Burns right hand getting through, another one a moment later put Chimaev off-balance. Then, in the last minute, Chimaev dropped Burns with a jab on the chin! Chimaev went after the finish, smashing away with hammer fists and elbows, but Burns survived, and even answered back from bottom. They’d end the round on the feet, and Burns was still in it.

As advertised, Burns looked to be the biggest test of Chimaev’s career to date. But through the first five minutes, Chimaev had proven worthy.

Burns came out hot in round two, bouncing then shooting for a takedown. Chimaev fired his right hand, pressed forward, and switched stances. But a right hand clipped Chimaev. Chimaev fired one back. A body kick landed for Burns. If you weren’t on the edge of your seat through this one, you were probably dead inside, or dead period. Chimaev closed the distance, firing a combo; moments later, Burns dropped for a takedown only to have it stuffed. Chimaev was then clipped, and Burns went in for the kill! Burns landed several more times, but Chimaev survived, and fired back. Burns was bloodied. Chimaev was bloodied. Chimaev fired a leg kick as things settled back down.

Chimaev then stuffed a takedown, nearly reversed it, ate hammer fists from the bottom, and was kicked back with an upkick to the chest. Back on the feet, Chimaev was taking some big swings. Burns was relying on accuracy and head movement. At the end of two, Burns dropped Chimaev! But Chimaev turned it into a takedown, and the pair had to be separated after the buzzer.

It was anyone’s fight after two rounds. Even ten minutes in, it felt like a finish was seconds away. Chimaev backed Burns up to the fence, once, and the Brazilian escaped. He did it again, Burns tried to shoot for a takedown, only to have it stuffed. A second attempt saw Chimaev scramble out. Then, Chimaev began lighting up Burns. His shots were measured, accurate, and Burns looked tired. He was bloodied again. Burns would survive, but was backed up again. Burns ate a jab, and whiffed on his own right hand. Chimaev hit the body with a front kick. Burns wasn’t done though, connecting a few more times and pushing Chimaev back.

They were down to ninety seconds, and Burns landed a right hand. Chimaev then clipped Burns. We were in Fight of the Year candidate territory at this point. Burns connected three times straight in the final minute. Chimaev waved him on. Chimaev then charged forward with a body kick, finishing the round strong!

A fight that had lofty expectations to live up to, managed to surpass them. Khamzat Chimaev also lived up to the hype — and it feels like a big fight, a main event, should be next, given he just knocked off an ex-title challenger and the #2 ranked fighter in the welterweight division.

Official Result: Khamzat Chimaev def. Gilbert Burns by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)


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