Khamzat Chimaev (11-0) survived one of the best fights of the year to knock off the No. 2 ranked welterweight Gilbert Burns (20-5) in a showdown of top contenders at UFC 273 from VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.
Chimaev backed Burns up against the cage right from the start, angling for a takedown and eventually shuffling the title contender to the ground. Chimaev allowed Burns back to his feet from the side of the Octagon, opting to stand and throw with his opponent. Burns landed a slew of significant strikes early, setting things up with hooks and jabs, followed by his big right hand.
A straight right hand sat Burns down and Chimaev tried to finish it on the ground, dropping hammer fists and elbows. Burns was able to withstand, getting back to his feet before the end of the round.
In round two, it was Burns the more aggressive, shooting for a takedown and looking for openings. Burns stung Chimaev with a big right hand, but his opponent kept coming forward. Burns clipped Chimaev with a big left, sending him backwards against the cage.
But Chimaev had no problem meeting Burns back in the center of the cage. Burns shot for a takedown, but Chimaev moved into full guard. Burns kicked him off and the two were back on their feet. The pace had clearly slowed for Chimaev as Burns began to chip away. At the end of the round, Burns sat Chimaev down, but Chimaev was able to earn the takedown and survive the end of the round.
Chimaev came out in the third looking refreshed, walking Burns down. Chimaev started to tee off midway through the round, but Burns locked up Chimaev to try to slow the pace. Burns found his second wind late in the round, chipping away at Chimaev with big lefts and rights. Chimaev continued to walk down Burns, stalking him around the cage, eating huge right hands from Burns before the close to round three.
These two just left it ALL in the Octagon. What. A. Fight 🔥
— UFC (@ufc) April 10, 2022
Burns returned to the Octagon hoping to make it two wins in a row after dispatching Stephen Thompson with a decision victory in July last year. His decision to take the Chimaev bout was the most entertaining of the options out there following his knockout loss to welterweight king Kamaru Usman last February.
Chimaev entered Saturday night as one of the UFC’s quickest rising stars, making quick work of his last three opponents with first-round finishes.
With the win, Chimaev skyrockets up the rankings and could be in line for a future title shot. The risk for Burns resulted in a loss, but no one would be upset if we got to see these two enter the Octagon again for a rematch.