There are many good fights and some great fights. But Khamzat Chimaev vs. Gilbert Burns? That was a rare caliber.
At UFC 273, Chimaev (11-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) defeated Burns (20-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC) via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) in an all-time, all-action thriller. The welterweight bout was part of the pay-per-view main card at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla.
The first round played out as many of Chimaev’s fights have in the past. He quickly took the fight to the canvas. But unlike many of his other UFC foes, Burns was able to utilize his grappling to get back to his feet. Once there, Burns found some success with his boxing. However, Chimaev landed a massive blow that dropped Burns in the final round and split the Brazilian’s head wide open. Burns survived the onslaught but was seemingly wobbly until the end of the round.
Round 2 began and Burns had no problem with his footing. His striking was on point, but so was Chimaev’s. Both fighters had their moments, going tit for tat. The crowd was electric with chants a plenty, sometimes overlapping one another into an indistinguishable roar. Drama ensued in the final minutes as Chimaev stunned Burns, only to receive a massive overhand. Chimaev was stunned. Another giant Burns punch floored Chimaev to the canvas. Chimaev somehow grabbed hold of Burns and dumped him to the canvas, but he was still hurt.
As the final horn sounded, Chimaev laid on top of Burns but wouldn’t let go. Burns shoved him off and Chimaev landed an open-hand slap – all after the horn. Chimaev stumbled back to his stool.
Both men were exhausted in Round 3. Chimaev landed a lengthy flurry against the fence, but Burns did enough where the fight did not appear to reach a close point to stoppage. For the remainder of the round and fight, both men had their moments. They traded blow for blow as they visibly cringed to dig deep and throw single-combination haymakers. The crowd was not sitting for the final five minutes. A wild flurry capped off the performance, before the horn signaled a thunderous applause and the decision was read in favor of Chimaev.
With the victory, Chimaev continues rocketing up the UFC ladder toward a title. Burns was widely-regarded as a leap up in competition for “Borz,” who has now won all five of his UFC fights inside the distance. His other UFC victories came over John Phillips, Rhys McKee, Gerald Meerschaert and Li Jingliang.
Prior to UFC 273, promotion president Dana White said if Chimaev won, the promotion would likely book him against Colby Covington for a main event on ABC. No timeline for the fight was revealed.
As for Burns, the defeat is only his second as a UFC welterweight. His first came in his unsuccessful UFC title challenge against Kamaru Usman at UFC 258 in February 2021. He competed once thereafter prior to Saturday, a unanimous decision win over Stephen Thompson at UFC 264 in July.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism