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UFC Fight Island 3: Mckee vs Chimaev Preview

2 fights in 10 days for Chimaev

After a crushing debut last Saturday night at UFC FIGHT ISLAND 1. Earning a beautiful submission victory in the second round. 10 days later and Khazmat Chimaev is ready to unleash his ferocious style of wrestling on Northern Irelands, Rhys Mckee.

Training out of Allstars gym in Stockholm, Sweden, Chimaev has no shortage of world class sparring partners. Ilir Latifi and Alexander Gustafsson being the two most popular names. Along with the level of sparring partners he gets to train alongside, its his National Championship in wrestling that gets utilised the most.

Chimaev came through the ranks at Brave CF, the Bahrain based promotion, tearing through the Welterweight division, all with ruthless first round finishes. The majority came by ground and pound, but there’s some slick submissions, as well as a beautiful uppercut KO. Whilst the uppercut KO looks nice and helps with the variety of finishes, its the striking game where Khamzat Chimaev will need to fine-tune. There’s no doubting how unbelievably good he is on the ground, but he’s very basic on the feet. Whilst we have seen before, relentless grappling can get you far without striking, even the best grapplers have had to adapt at the top of the game. Khabib, much cleaner and more crisp on the feet than before. Usman, ever improving striking, whereas the likes of Maia and Askren, 2 equally incredible grapplers, have faltered at the last hurdle, due to a lack of any striking game. Luckily, for Chimaev, he looks to be ever improving, in all areas.

Whilst there isn’t much footage to watch of Chimaev, his UFC debut tells the whole story. Against John Phillips, at Middleweight, he went straight for the takedown at the beginning of the fight, and secured it beautifully.

After securing the takedown, the Welshman, John Phillips, didn’t make it back to his feet the entire round. Chimaev showed some ruthless ground and pound, as well as always looking for the neck. As the round wore on, the pace from Chimaev increased. He wasn’t just a man looking to impress on his debut, he was looking to destroy his opponent.

The second round was much more of the same, only with a beautiful double leg takedown, straight into Phillips guard. From there, he worked to side control, then knee-on-belly, before his ground and pound forced Phillips to turn into his opponent, where the Chechen born Swede locked up a beautiful d’arce choke to mercifully end the fight.

Rhys Mckee’s last minute UFC debut

Northern Irish born fighter, Rhys Mckee, has impressed everyone at Cage Warriors. So much so, he was due a title shot before Covid-19 put a stop to everything. Nicknamed Skellator, Rhys Mckee is a long, rangey kickboxer, with a dangerous guard. There’s no disputing that Mckee will want this fight to stay on the feet, however he has shown glimpses of being tricky off of his back so far.

With a 10-2-1 record, Mckee has a little more experience than Chimaev in pro MMA bouts. He’s riding a 3 fight win streak, with his last performance being one of his most impressive performance to date. Facing Hakon Foss, Mckee picked him apart from range, and finished it in the first.

With a 7-2-1 record before signing for Cage Warriors, Mckee first burst onto the scene fighting for now defunct U.K promotion, BAMMA. A popular promotion in the UK with the hard-core fans, it was shown on national television, so gave Mckee a foothold to progress his name.

Whilst being good at range, Mckee has good some nice dirty boxing too. Deceptively quick and always moving his head off the centre line when throwing strikes, Mckee looks like a treat to watch on the feet. As well as being long and rangey, Mckee has the Conor Mcgregor-esque timing and distance management, to make even the Jab have power.

The one tool ‘Skellator’ will need to sharpen for this weekend,is his takedown defence. Whilst not bad, Mckee has a tendency to use his long frame as a base for defending takedowns. Whilst not a bad idea, against more seasoned grapplers like Chimaev, it may cause problems.

Here, we have Jefferson George, a good striker, almost securing the takedown on Mckee. Whilst not terrible defence, Mckee is using his frame to rely on getting back up/ not going down. Against Chimaev, Mckee will need to work the fundamentals perfectly, as Chimaev is equally as long and rangey at 6ft 2′.

Prediction

Mckee has the considerable advantage on the feet. If he can keep it standing, he can keep Chimaev out of range. He can work the long straight punches, kicks and elbows. However, Chimaev is nicknamed ‘Khabig’ for his likeness to Lightweight great, Khabib. With a similar relentless, mauling style, it will be up to Mckee to keep at distance. Circle out of range and the body.

Overall, I think Mckee has a very bright future in the UFC. I do however, think it will be another dominant performance from Chimaev. Whilst maybe less experienced, his grappling is non-stop, and I think it will be too much for Mckee.

Chimaev, round 2 TKO (ground and pound).

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