Saturday’s UFC fight card features one of the most talked about fighters in recent years and who many consider to be the sport’s top prospect. Here’s a look at Khamzat Chimaev and what viewers and bettors should expect at UFC 273.
What Happened: Saturday’s UFC fight from Endeavor Group Holdings EDR features the headline fight of Alexander Volkanovski versus Chan Sung Jung, who is better known as “The Korean Zombie.”
While this is the featured fight and the one that will get last billing Saturday night, it is one of the other main event fights getting the most headlines and attention from fans of the sport and likely some newcomers to witness the sport’s greatest prospect.
In a main card fight, Khamzat Chimaev (10-0) will take on Gilbert Burns (20-4) in a welterweight bout.
UFC 273 is a pay-per-view fight done in partnership with UFC and ESPN+, a streaming platform from The Walt Disney Co DIS.
The fight can be purchased for $74.99 by ESPN+ subscribers or $99.98 for those without a current subscription as a package that includes a one-year subscription to ESPN+. Preliminary fights before the main card can be viewed on ESPN and ESPN+.
Who Is Khamzat Chimaev: UFC commentator Jon Anik recently called Chimaev “the most incredible prospect I’ve ever seen,” which is strong praise coming from someone who has followed the sport closely over the years.
Mixed martial arts news website Sherdog recently highlighted the match between Chimaev and Burns as the top fight to watch in April.
Chimaev holds a perfect 10-0 record as a professional and a perfect 3-0 record in MMA as an amateur. Chimaev has also never made it to the third round in a fight and has finished all his opponents by TKO, KO or submission.
Chimaev joined the UFC in July 2020 and fought twice in a ten-day span, winning the fights by a second round submission and first round TKO respectively.
In his young professional fighting and UFC career, Chimaev already holds the record for the fastest two consecutive wins in UFC history (10 days) and fastest three fight win streak in UFC history (66 days). Chimaev has also won four consecutive “Performance of the Night” awards from the UFC.
Searches on Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc GOOGGOOGL, climbed for Chimaev in October for his last fight and searches this week were approaching a similar upward trajectory.
The undefeated UFC fighter previously announced his retirement from the sport on Instagram due to complications from COVID-19 before recovering and coming back in October 2021.
Chimaev previously fought as an MMA fighter in the Brave Combat Federation, a Middle East league, before coming to the UFC.
Born in Russia, Chimaev has fought and trained in Sweden, a country where he also competed as a wrestler with a perfect 24-0 record and multiple Swedish Nationals titles.
One item that could prove controversial for Chimaev is his friendship with Chechen leader, and Vladimir Putin ally, Ramzan Kadyrov. Headlines were recently made when Kadyrov took on Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk on Twitter for previously saying he could beat Putin in a fight.
The Matchup: Unlike some of the fighters Chimaev has faced off against, Burns is a seasoned veteran who could be his toughest challenge.
Burns also comes into the fight with momentum on his side, winning seven of his last eight fights. The only loss for Burns in the eight fights was to the current welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. Five of the last Burns fights were won by decision.
Burns has been a UFC fighter since 2014 with a 13-4 record in the most notorious MMA league worldwide.
The matchup has huge implications for the UFC, as league President Dana White tipped his hand a bit of what the fight means for the future of the sport. In an interview on the Pat McAfee Show, White said what’s next for Chimaev.
“I think…that if Khamzat Chimaev wins this weekend, we see him and Colby Covington next,” White said.
White said that in a perfect world with Chimaev winning, he would love to match the fighter against Covington for a big upcoming UFC fight card that will air on ABC.
The comments from White could give Chimaev a boost, while also proving some extra motivation for Burns to win and show that White shouldn’t have made the comments prior to the fight.
Betting Odds: Fans of UFC and bettors are heavily backing Chimaev for Saturday’s fight.
DraftKings Inc DKNG has Chimaev as a -525 favorite for the fight against Burns (+325). This means a $1 bet on Chimaev to win pays out a profit of only 19 cents.
Bettors who see Chimaev’s past history of not going to the third round may want to bet on more specific outcomes.
Chimaev to win by KO or TKO pays +110 and a bet on Chimaev to win by submission pays +275. Chimaev has six wins by TKO/KO and four by submission. Chimaev to win by decision pays +380.
There are also prop bets on the fight to go the distance at -330 and the over/under for rounds is set at 1.5.
Those expecting Chimaev to win fast, as he often has, could bet a prop bet of Chimaev to win by KO/TKO and under 1.5 rounds at odds of +200.
Picks: Chimaev to win by KO/TKO +110
Chimaev to win by Submission +275
Fight to go distance, No -330
Photo: Courtesy of ufc.com
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