Khamzat Chimaev outpointed Kamaru Usman at UFC 294 to set up a fight against middleweight champion Sean Strickland.
Chimaev had been due to take on Paulo Costa in Abu Dhabi but the Brazilian pulled out of the fight less than two weeks before the first bell. Usman stepped in, moving up a weight division following back-to-back defeats by Brit Leon Edwards.
Chimaev wasted no time in attempting to take Usman down as the fight got underway and he quickly had the former world champion flattened out on his stomach. ‘Borz’ was holding on tight to the body triangle and he mixed up his strikes by threatening submissions on Usman’s back.
Usman got back to his feet but Chimaev was still on his back as he locked up a rear-naked choke, with ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ breaking free by slamming his rival to the mat. Usman did enough to survive until the end of the round and he seemed to be in good spirits by smiling at Chimaev whilst walking back to his stool.
Chimaev was less dominant as the second round got underway and he opted to strike with Usman instead of going for takedowns. Usman landed a good right hand that put Chimaev on the retreat with a minute left and he responded by securing a perfect takedown.
Usman easily defended a lazy shot from Chimaev at the start of the third round and responded with a hard right hand. Chimaev was slowing down and getting caught with good shots from Usman. Chimaev steered the round in his favour by taking Usman down, who got back to his feet but there wasn’t enough time left more him to hunt a finish. Culled:Mirror.