In this article, I will detail Chimaev’s fights and performances and explain why, in my opinion, he was the UFC’s best men’s newcomer during 2020.
2020: 3-0 across the welterweight and middleweight divisions- two KO/TKOs, one submission. Three Performance of the Night (POTN) bonuses. Now 3-0 in the UFC, 9-0 overall (all finishes).
Age 26. Russian-Swedish. Background in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (blue belt) and wrestling. #15 UFC welterweight.
1: July – made his UFC debut against John Phillips and won by submission due to a D’Arce choke at 1:12 of round two on the prelims, earning himself a POTN bonus. Chimaev had competed at welterweight in 2019 but made his UFC debut here at middleweight where he was dominant, landing 124 strikes to Phillips’ two.
2: July – defeated UFC debutant, Rhys McKee, by TKO at 3:09 of the first round on the main card, earning another POTN bonus, this time at welterweight. Chimaev set the record for the quickest turnaround between wins in the modern UFC era with this victory as he had beaten Phillips ten days earlier.
During the bout Chimaev added to the impressive stats from his first UFC outing as he landed 68 strikes without absorbing any at all.
3: September – moved back to middleweight and defeated Gerald Meerschaert by KO 17 seconds into the first round on the main card, earning his third consecutive POTN bonus. Meerschaert had only lost by KO/TKO twice before in his 44 professional bouts and did not manage to land a single strike against Chimaev.
In beating Meerschaert, Chimaev set the record for the quickest three-fight win streak in modern UFC history for his 66-day victorious run. In his three UFC fights, he has landed 196 strikes to his opponents’ combined two.
Chimaev made a huge impact from his introduction into the UFC through to his final fight of the year, including his attitude in his approach to fights and willingness to compete at different weight classes. Setting records and finishing fights meant he was fast-tracked onto main cards and finds himself ranked at 170lbs.
“Borz” was also scheduled to fight for a fourth time in his debut UFC year, and his first as the main event, against #3 ranked welterweight Leon Edwards. The bout was set for December and then for January 2021 but both fighters have tested positive for COVID-19 at different points so the contest is on hold for now and waiting to be rescheduled.
It has been an incredible rise for Chimaev and the prospect of facing a third-ranked opponent in the main event next is a measure of how much excitement there is surrounding the young fighter.
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