Undefeated Khamzat Chimaev returned to the Octagon this afternoon (Sat., Oct. 30, 2021) after breakout performances in 2020 and a difficult battle with COVID-19, locking horns with No. 11-ranked welterweight contender Li Jingliang at UFC 267, which took place inside Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Chimaev was oozing with ego and over confidence throughout fight week, which rubbed a few fight fans the wrong way. Nevertheless, he was able to talk-the-talk and walk-the-walk when showtime rolled around, battering and submitting Li with relative ease in the first round.
Khamzat was fired up for the walkout, while Li was cool, calm and collected. When the action started, Khamzat immediately came in for a takedown, which Li struggled to defend, but it ended in a slam and scream to the audience from the Chechen. Li was able to get to his knees along the cage, trapping Khamzat’s arm underneath him so he could not use it to punch him in the face. He let go and tried to get to his feet, but Khamzat drilled him in the face with some short shots and got the action back to the ground. Khamzat eventually was able to work his way to Li’s back, getting both hooks in and flattening him out. Khamzat was battering him with shots to either side of the head and Li could not escape, belly down. Khamzat transitioned to a choke, which Li was able to survive, but he switched sides and sunk his forearm under Li’s chin even tighter. Li wasn’t going to tap, instead opting for an early nap in Abu Dhabi.
That was a huge statement win for Khamzat, taking out the No. 11-ranked fighter in such sensational fashion will undoubtedly earn him a spot in (or near) the Top 10, as well as a tougher opponent moving forward.
Because rarely does a good deed go unpunished inside the Octagon. Once again, a thrilling performance from Khamzat.
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