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Khamzat Chimaev: The Real Deal? Or Just Another UFC Hype Train

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Khamzat Chimaev: The Real Deal? Or Just Another UFC Hype Train
Photo by STR / AFP

UFC in Vegas 11: Covington vs. Woodley will set the stage for Khamzat Chimaev’s first real UFC level calibre of opponent, he’ll face Gerald ‘GM3’ Meerschaert who holds forty-four professional MMA bouts under his belt. UFC odds are available for this fight but does the hype behind Chimaev carry any weight? Let us take a closer look.

Khamzat Chimaev vs. Gerald Meerschaert

Saturday, September 19, 2020 – 10:35 PM EDT at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas

Chechen born-Swedish raised Khamzat Chimaev has taken the UFC by storm, demanding the most challenging fights from the UFC welterweight and middleweight divisions while dominating the low-level opposition he is faced thus far. But with no significant victories on his record, is the 8-0 professional fighter a problem for the welterweight division or just another overly hyped-up prospect?

A Strong Wrestling Background Worth Paying Attention Too

Khamzat Chimaev wrestled at the highest level in his native country of Chechnya and would go on to represent his country at a national stage. Growing up across the street from his wrestling club was a blessing in disguise, as one of the most substantial bases of mixed martial arts has been wrestling over the years. 

Aged one he was laid on the wrestling mats, aged five he began to compete in junior competitions – completing the 18-kilo weight class and met other boys in the 23kg class.

Chimaev arrived in Sweden after seeking asylum in 2011, and he found similar surroundings when he wrestled for club Lidkopings AS where he won SM-Gold medal. He also wrestled for BK Athen, taking Sweden to Championship gold in freestyle wrestling (2019). He did not just win; he dominated the entire tournament 10-0, 10-0, 10-0 with an impressive 7-0 finish in the final. He won the Swedish Championships in both welterweight and middleweight divisions. 

Fun Fact: Despite having never trained in the respective disciplines, Chimaev competed in both judo and combat sambo on multiple occasions. 

Transitioning To MMA

2018 - Chimaev made his professional MMA debut, and he went on to defeat Norwegian fighter, Gard Olve Sagen, via second-round TKO. The wrecking machine began his warpath and has not looked back since. His second fight ended via d’arce choke in the first round, eventually leading him to be signed by Brave CF MMA promotion. 

Entering the promotion undefeated, Chimaev continued the trend in his Brave debut, finishing his opponent after three minutes. 

When Brave CF scheduled Sidney Wheeler and Leon Aliu, Chimaev agreed to replace Aliu on nine-days’ notice and a step-up in weight-class. Known as the quickest starter amongst his gym, he made no exception for the American Sidney Wheeler after finishing him in thirty-five seconds. 

2019 – Remaining undefeated with a 5-0 record, Chimaev was beginning to make his presence known – according to his training partner and former light heavyweight challenger Alexander Gustafsson, Chimaev has a bright future ahead: 

“I’ve never trained with such a good guy before, so I have very high hopes”. Gustafsson told the media after the UFC Stockholm press conference. 

The level of competition was raised, undefeated Russian (8-0) Ikram Aliskerov would be the next challenge – another first-round knockout, are we surprised? 

Destined for The Ultimate Fighting Championship

2020 – The undefeated streak continued into 2020 as friend and training partner Alexander Gustafsson would use his star power for Chimaev once again, announcing the title opportunity his friend had received via Instagram. 

The eventual bout fell through, and then the UFC rumours began on July 8th, 2020, Welshman John Phillips was seeking a last-minute replacement. The day after, Khamzat took to social media and confirmed that he had signed with the UFC and at this point, his name and talent was still undercovers. Chimaev dominated Phillips, one-hundred and twenty-four strikes landed against Phillips two and one d’arce choke to end the fight in the second round.

Chimaev stepped down from middleweight to face Rhys McKee in the UFC welterweight class, another dominant performance that ended by TKO in the first round. 

At this point, “hype” is subjective, Chimaev deserves the hype for his aggression and fast finishes, but he’ll need to prove his worth against the UFC’s elite before we can confirm this train isn’t stopping. 

Khamzat Chimaev vs. Gerald Meerschaert

With two successive UFC bouts within the space of eight weeks, Chimaev was granted his wish of facing a high-level opponent in Gerald Meerschaert. 

A decorated Jiu-Jitsu and kickboxing practitioner in Gerald has already taken to social media to display his feelings: 

UFC President Dana White went on record to sign Chimaev right into another fight if he is successful this weekend, Demian Maia will be waiting in the winds. 

If Khamzat Chimaev can defy the haters once again, and eventually defeat Demian Maia, we could be looking at the first fighter in UFC history to achieve top-five ranking with just ten fights on their professional record. 

Here at Sportsbook Review we’ll be closely following the career and odds of Chimaev, be sure you don’t miss UFC in Vegas 11 this weekend to witness the derailing or continued success of Khamzat Chimaev. Don't forget to check our coverage and expert UFC picks for Saturday!