Just over a week before UFC 294, Khamzat Chimaev’s original opponent had to withdraw, leaving Dana White with the challenging task of finding a suitable replacement. Enter Kamaru Usman, who was coming off a complex period after losing the Welterweight belt to Leon Edwards.
Usman debated moving up time and time again but wasn’t dead set on it following the loss of his title.
The action kicked off, and it immediately became apparent that Usman’s best chance lay in keeping the battle on its feet. Chimaev swiftly attempted a takedown in the first round, but the bell rang, saving Usman from a potential early setback.
The second round saw Usman making a remarkable comeback, demonstrating that a mere 11-day notice wouldn’t hinder a warrior of his caliber.
Usman skillfully navigated the takedown attempts in the striking showcase that unfolded in the second and third rounds. However, when the dust settled, it was clear that Khamzat Chimaev had outperformed his opponent.
While Chimaev was awarded the victory and the jiu-jitsu brown belt, Usman made it clear that he would’ve prevailed if the contest featured championship rounds.
Chimaev went on to apologize to his BJJ coach for not having submitted Usman, while he was getting promoted.
Chimaev followed that up with a dual speech in English and in Chechen – he called for peace everywhere in English and delivered a widely panned call to arms in Chechen asking for a rifle to go to Palestine.
Sadly, due to the language barrier, not many people watching live realized his duplicitous nature.
Chimaev’s BJJ coach, Alan Finfou, wasn’t the only one he apologized to, upon exiting the cage Chimaev encountered Dana White and apologized profusely for not delivering the finish.