Former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman suffered a third straight UFC defeat to unbeaten Khamzat Chimaev in a middleweight bout at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.
Chimaev successfully increased his undefeated record up to 13-0 with a majority decision win over the Nigerian at UFC 294.
Chimaev wasted little time in getting right to work in the fight as he went after a single-leg in the opening moments of the fight. While Usman initially defended it well, Chimaev stayed persistent and got the Nigerian Nightmare to the floor.
From there, he controlled the duration of the round, spending most of the period on Usman’s back and threatening with submissions.
The fight took on a much slower pace in the second round. Chimaev did not press the wrestling for most of the round, opting to strike in a slow kickboxing bout. He did land a takedown with 30 seconds left in the round, but didn’t do much with it.
That set up an interesting third and final round. Usman started off with a nice rally. He controlled the distance and landed some solid boxing, but his momentum came to a screeching halt when Chimaev changed levels and landed a double-leg takedown.
Usman ultimately worked his way back to the feet in the final 30 seconds where both men put the finishing touches on their case to win the feet.
Usman is now on a three-fight losing streak with two losses to Leon Edwards, but he had five consecutive title defenses at welterweight leading to that point.
Chimaev was supposed to fight Paulo Costa in this spot, but he withdrew from the fight due to an elbow injury and Usman accepted the fight on 10 days’ notice and had to gain weight in the short peroiod.
With a win over the former champion now in hand, he will likely get a chance to grab some UFC gold of his own. Dana White recently said as much in an interview on The Pat McAfee Show.
“That is an absolute fact,” White said. “The fact that these guys are taking this fight on short notice, (the winner) will get the next shot at the title barring injuries and other things that can possibly happen.”
The middleweight division has been thrown into a state of flux recently with the upset loss of Israel Adesanya to Sean Strickland. The Last Stylebender had been the dominant champion outside of a loss to Alex Pereira but the tides have shifted.
It looks like Strickland might have a lot to prove with a much different test on tap with Chimaev