In the co-main event of UFC 294, we are going to see a banger of a matchup at 185. A title shot at middleweight is on the line as former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (20-3) is stepping in on less than two weeks’ notice to take on the undefeated Khamzat Chimaev (12-0).
Chimaev was originally supposed to face Paulo Costa. However, after Costa suffered a nasty infection in his elbow, he was forced to pull out of the fight. The UFC called Usman and he was willing to take the fight on short notice. This will be Usman’s first fight at 185 inside the octagon. Chimaev has fought twice at middleweight and has two finishes.
UFC 294 Recap
The UFC 294 co-main event starts with no touch of the gloves. Immediate body kicks from both men. Big takedown attempt from Chimaev and he briefly gets Usman down to the ground. However, Usman gets back to his feet quickly. Chimaev holds onto a body lock. Usman slips and now Chimaev takes his back.
He’s got the hooks in 90 seconds into the fight. Chimaev attacking a rear naked choke here two minutes into the fight. While most men would panic, Usman looks very composed here. The former champion is remaining calm just looking for an our but Chimaev is holding the top position very well.
Halfway through the round and it’s all Chimaev right now. Chimaev is a little high right now and Usman is slowly working his way back up. Chimaev gets the choke locked in and Usman slams him forward with breaks the choke, but Chimaev is still holding the back mount. Nice short shots here from Chimaev.
The former UFC champion is defending well all things considered. 30 seconds left and Usman tries to hit a switch but Chimaev holds onto him. The round comes to an end and it’s a dominant one for Khamzat Chimaev.
Entering the second and the former UFC champion needs a big answer in the second round. Here we go in the second with both men light on their feet. Chimaev takes the center and he’s right back on the pressure. Big leg kick from Usman lands. Usman showing a few level changes to get Chimaev thinking.
90 seconds into the round and nothing significant so far in the second. Nice body kick lands for Usman. Nasty body kick now lands for Chimaev. Body kick answer for Usman and he throws a jab behind it. Low kick now from Chimaev and there’s still not a ton going on halfway through the second round. The crowd grows a little restless with this pace.
Low kick and a jab from Usman. Usman threatens a level change again. Low kick from Chimaev and a right hand lands for Usman. Jab from Usman and now a right hand. Head kick from Chimaev is blocked by the former champion. Huge 1-2 from Usman and now a leg kick. Left straight now from Usman. Big takedown from Chimaev and that will close the round. Close round and despite the takedown, I lean towards Usman at UFC 294.
Entering the final round and the only way Usman likely wins this one is by finish. Sharp jab from Chimaev starts things out in the third round. Takedown attempt from Chimaev stuffed by Usman. Jab to the body from Usman. Usman reaches for a leg then settles back into his striking stance.
90 seconds into the final round and Usman lands a big right. Now Chimaev with a right. Desperation shot from Chimaev is defended. 1-2 from Usman. The former champion is coming on strong now. Huge 1-2 from Usman. Usman is lighting Chimaev up with his jab right now. Halfway through the final round and Chimaev is looking a little tired here.
Desperation takedown from Chimaev and Usman almost gets away but eventually Chimaev gets him down. Two minutes left in the round. Usman looks exhausted on the bottom and he’s not moving much on the bottom here. Just about one minute left in the round and it’s going to take some desperation from Usman.
Chimaev is just laying on Usman here. Usman explodes and he gets back up with 20 seconds left in the fight. Right hand from Usman and now a big left. Usman is hitting him with big shots. Chimaev fires back and they both are throwing major heat. The fight ends and the round ends. Khamzat Chimaev is going to get the decision win at UFC 294.
Khamzat Chimaev def. Kamaru Usman by Majority Decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28)