The closest fighter the UFC has to a mythical creature returns to the octagon this Saturday night at UFC 273. Khamzat “Borz” Chimaev is taking over the UFC following four straight finish wins where he has only been hit one time, total. Professionally, Chimaev is 10-0 with all wins coming by finish. Gilbert “Durinho” Burns, the #2 ranked welterweight, is 13-4 in the UFC with seven victories by finish.
Chimaev is a massive favorite over Burns who is fighting as one of the biggest underdogs on the card.
- Chimaev: -555
- Burns: +380
Chimaev is truly elite. Even though his striking has been infrequent, as it has not been needed much in his career, it is crisp and powerful. Often being the larger fighter, Chimaev intelligently moves forward while keeping his opponent on the edge of his kickboxing range where he dictates the space and pace of the fight. Then, when he lands, he lands heavy. “Borz’s” wrestling, though, is the most impressive aspect of his game. Unlike other UFC fighters who will use a traditional American, Greco, or, increasingly popular, Dagestan style of wrestling, Chimaev tends to wrestle like a big brother play fighting with his younger brother. Chimaev will pick his opponent up and over his shoulder, carry him around the octagon, sometimes talk to Dana White, then slam his opponent down in front of his desired corner. Chimaev’s wrestling is less “takedown” and more “pick up and slam.” As soon as he secures the slam, the fight quickly ends. Chimaev’s ground work, specifically his ability to weave vicious ground and pound with lethal submissions is truly impressive. Because of Chimaev’s unparalleled dominance, where he has only been hit 1 time in 4 fights, skeptics will argue that Chimaev’s chin and cardio are still unproven; and, if either is tested, the mythical creature of the UFC could prove human.
No one Chimaev has fought has Burn’s power, pedigree, or prestigious submission game. This is because few fighters have the unique skillset of Burns. He has real power in his shots, both punches, and heavy leg kicks. He is unafraid to stand and bang in the middle because he often has the edge in power; but, he’s also comfortable in a fire fight because if he is dropped, his opponent going to the ground for a finish is a dangerous proposition. This is because Burns has high-level grappling and jiu-jitsu. “Durinho’s” deadly combination of athleticism and strength in his grappling allows him to secure submissions from a variety of angles, including his back. Rising to the #2 ranked welterweight and nearly finishing Usman means that Burns has very few flaws; the only real issue is he can leave his chin exposed when engaging in fire fights. If he can keep it tucked, Burn’s experience and jiu-jitsu should pose a new threat to Chimaev.
I want to recognize that Chimaev’s betting line is out of hand and there is value on Burns. That being said, I see Chimaev getting another early finish. Chimaev’s x-factor is his timing and I see that skill propelling him to another victory. I anticipate Burns landing a leg kick or two, then throwing a big right hand. From here, Chimaev will have an opening to get another takedown, or slam. Even with Burn’s ground game as a threat, Chimaev’s wrestling is too high-level. Chimaev replicates his most recent fight with another 1st round finish.
Prediction: Chimaev by Round 1 Finish
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.