Three time Swedish Wrestling National Champion. Bronze as a junior in the Russian National Champions. A life story comparable to Francis Ngannou, a bout of COVID-19 that almost ended his career, and a following rivaling that of Hasbulla. Ten wins, all by finish. Amateur wins over future IMMAF World Champions, and he dog-walked Jack Hermansson in a freestyle wrestling match. But he’s “unproven.”
Surely beating the #2 Ranked guy in the division would put Khamzat in the #2 spot, ready to challenge for the first of the three titles that he’s been talking about claiming.
Facing down this monstrosity is former UFC title challenger Gilbert Burns. 7-1 since losing to Dan Hooker at 155 and moving up in weight, Burns has earned notable wins over Stephen Thompson, Tyron Woodley and Damian Maia. His singular welterweight loss being to the champ, current P4P #1 fighter on the planet, Kamaru Usman. A 3rd Degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, World Gold Medalist in both gi and no-gi. Looking to get back on a winning streak and into title contention, such a huge upset would surely be a high point for an aging ‘Durinho‘.
Burns is listed as a +500 underdog against Chimaev on some sports betting apps, but he might as well be +10000 because he isn’t going to beat Khamzat. The fact that Khamzat is plus-money on a finish, or +1700 in round one is absolutely insane, given he hasn’t had a fight in the UFC last longer than the very first exchange. For context, Burns closed as a +250 underdog against Kamaru Usman and it ended in round three.
The person in the above video fights at 185lbs in another promotion. Everyone who spars with Khamzat is adamant that he’s the real deal. Chael has told us about him, he goes to “f*cking war” with Sean Strickland every time he stops by Xtreme Couture. Alexander Gustafsson, the guy who did this to Jon Jones has been telling us for years about Khamzat.
One must only look at the first few vlogs from Darren Till’s trip to Sweden to grasp the level that Khamzat is at. Till was shaken after those first few workouts, and even when they were in Vegas for UFC 272, you could tell from the performance institute footage that Till is doing everything he can to keep up.
When Khamzat had COVID, he pushed through the disease against doctor’s orders and vomited blood. However, we have seen a fighter gas out despite extensive cardio training, including running marathons as part of their fight camp. Could this be Gilbert’s route to victory – grinding out a cardio-masterclass that “Two Lung” Colby Covington would be proud of? Don’t hold your breath…
Khamzat is by far the larger man, standing four inches taller at 6’2, and four inches longer. He has ten times more submission attempts per 15 minutes than the BJJ specialist. Gilbert has had one submission win since 2016 against an opponent who was 7-1. Khamzat has shown consistent, crazy, stupid knockout power against Rhys McKee and Gerald Meerschaert. His manhandling of Li Jingliang remains seared into the brains of all who watched it live, as ‘Borz’ screamed for Dana to book him against Brock Lesnar.
Anywhere the fight goes, Gilbert should be scared, because much in the same way that Francis Ngannou is just another beast, so too is Khamzat. The odds for Khamzat by finish are absolutely incredible, but I recommend hammering the under because the chances that this make it out of the first are slim. Put the bank roll on Khamzat by finish.
Official Prediction: Khamzat in under 90 seconds due to rear naked choke.
Featured image credit to Embed from Getty Images